Environmental Organic Chemistry and Technology Research Group

The Environmental Organic Chemistry and Technology Research Group (EnVOC), led by professors Herman Van Langenhove, Jo Dewulf and Kristof Demeestere, investigates environmental issues related to organic micropollutants in a multi-disciplinary approach. Next to the development, optimization and implementation of state-of-the-art and advanced analytical techniques necessary to identify and/or quantify these trace compounds (analytical chemistry), focus is also put on their occurrence, fate and physical-chemical behaviour in different environmental matrices (environmental chemistry). Next, innovative technologies are studied contributing in both a curative (environmental technolology) and preventive (sustainability assessment and clean technology) way to a more sustainable (aquatic) environment.


Particularly towards technology for water treatment, focus is put on advanced oxidation processes (AOPs) like ozonation, peroxone process (H2O2/O3), TiO2-based photocatalysis, and ultrasonic irradiation for removal of emerging and bio-recalcitrant organic micropollutants like pharmaceutical residues and personal care products in (waste)water. Hereby, research deals with mass transfer mechanisms; degradation kinetics and effects of process parameters; and – by use of advanced mass spectrometry methods (see Section “Environmental Pollution and Toxicology”) – identification of reaction products and pathways.


Coastal Engineering Research Group

The Coastal Engineering Research Group, led by professors De Rouck and Troch, has expertise in the design, construction and monitoring of coastal structures such as breakwaters and sea dikes, and the development of instruments for field measurements. They furthermore focus on the experimental and numerical modeling of wave propagation and interaction with coastal structures and have knowledge in renewable energy conversion. More specifically, they aim to develop systems to exploit wave energy, focus on coastal defense, wave-structure interactions and the development of numerical tools to simulate currents and waves. 

Cartography and GIS Research Group

The Cartography and GIS Research Group, led by professor De Maeyer, performs fundamental and applied research on various aspects of cartography and geographical information science. They mainly focus on data quality, historical cartography, tracking of moving objects, geographical information production, management, modeling and risk analysis. The latter deals with information processing on flood risks in particular and the use of geographical information in managing disasters and disaster control. This research is performed in cooperation with Flanders Hydraulics Research. A methodology has been developed to assess flood risks in Flanders; both in river plains and in coastal areas. 

Maritime Technology Division

The Maritime Technology Division, led by professor Vantorre, performs both fundamental and applied scientific research on the hydrodynamics of vessels and other floating constructions. They carry out scientific studies for and in collaboration with enterprises and public services in the maritime field. Academic education regarding the design, construction, propulsion, functioning and maintaining of ships and offshore constructions is provided. They furthermore aim to support the (Belgian) maritime industry by consolidating, expanding and distributing any relevant technical and scientific knowledge. 

Marine Biology Research Group

The Marine Biology Research Group, led by professors Vincx, Vanreusel and Moens, has a proven expertise in ecological and systematic research of marine benthic ecosystems worldwide with a focus on the study of patterns and processes of benthic biodiversity (from bacteria, Archaea, nematodes, copepods, polychaetes, bivalves, crustaceans, demersal fish,...). Benthic communities are analysed in relation to environmental changes by means of field sampling or by controlled lab and field experiments. The obtained data allow to quantify the functional responses of benthic organisms to e.g. temperature rises, ocean acidification, eutrophication, food quantity and quality, invasive species, trawling, windmills, coastal defence structures,… Furthermore, the obtained biodiversity patterns and individual responses of species are analysed in the context of ecosystem functioning, with a strong interaction between the biota, the environmental factors (both pelagic phase and seafloor) and the biogeochemical processes. The Marine Biology Research group generated long-term databases on the distribution of benthic communities that are relevant for marine conservation and management. Study sites: world-wide ranging from the intertidal and subtidal areas of the North Sea, intertidal mudflats along the Westerschelde estuary, tropical seagrass beds and mangrove forests, natural CO2 seepage sites to more extreme ecosystems like the deep sea, continental margins and polar regions.  

Renard Centre of Marine Geology

The Renard Centre of Marine Geology, led by professors De Batist and Van Rooij, develops seismic technologies for high-resolution geological investigations in marine environments, including applications for deep-water ROV exploration. Acoustical technologies for advanced sea-floor mapping are also developed and applied. They furthermore focus on geodynamics, seismic- and sequence-stratigraphy and palaeoceanography of continental margins on a global scale. Other research topics are the occurrence and stability of methane hydrates, estimation of methane fluxes, cold seeps, mud volcanoes, deep-water coral habitats, the sustainable use of natural resources and the evaluation of toxic dump sites. 

Research Unit Sedimentary Geology and Engineering Geology

The Research unit Sedimentary Geology and Engineering Geology, led by professor Cnudde, studies both unconsolidated and consolidated sediments and aims to understand processes that lead to the disintegration of sediments and sedimentary rocks. More specifically, they focus on extrinsic processes that influence structural and chemical changes in sediments and sedimentary rocks, including chemical, physical and biological impacts. Their expertise encompasses conventional research techniques (e.g. optical microscopy) as well as non-destructive investigations of sedimentary rocks (e.g. CT scanning). Their holistic approach views both sedimentary rocks and extrinsic influences as part of a complex system. Current research endeavours encompass a variety of projects, including the link between nano-, micro-, and macroscale processes inside porous sedimentary rocks; the boundaries of the possibilities of the non-destructive imaging techniques and their improvement; the prediction of the macroscopical behaviour based on microscopical study and the monitoring of internal changes due to external changes. The SGIG team is a member of the Centre for X-ray tomography of the UGent (UGCT, and is therefore specialized in the application of X-ray technology for geological research.