Bonus Projects

28.02.2017 18:16How stakeholders help to bring results to perfection – Or: One step back, two steps forward. (MIRACLE) Johannes Friedrich Carolus

The 4th workshop in Germany, one of the four case study areas of the MIRACLE project, was held on 24th February 2017. Project members and various stakeholders, such as members of farming unions and governmental representatives with an agricultural, environmental or water management background gathered in Magdeburg, Germany, to continue the discussions about various issues connected to the project's aims and subjects.

Besides of following up on the last workshop, discussing the updated hydro-modelling results, and looking at the way forward, a major part of the meeting took the presentation, discussion and verification of the cost structures of the different measures, and the preliminary Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA) results. Stakeholders could for instance verify “our” average gross margin in the Selke river area (can be used as an estimate of farmers’ lost income due to implementing a certain measure), or our approach to define “contour ploughing” as cost-neutral. Other potential measures were identified as redundant, e.g. due to being implemented anyway, or due to being no longer supported by the CAP in this specific area. Furthermore, stakeholders offered to provide more specific cost data of some very specific measures (such as the “ventilation and treatment of mine water and mine water retention” or the “dismantling of transverse structures”).

While the CBA results are still broad and based on many assumptions, every stakeholder verification, comment or correction makes it possible to fill more and more gaps, and therefore generate results closer to reality - one step back, two steps forward.


Slide with basic cost structures to encourage stakeholder discussions [preliminary and showcase numbers, please do not use or share]
Slide with preliminary CBA results to encourage stakeholder discussions [preliminary and showcase numbers, please do not use or share]

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26.02.2017 14:11Equipment explained: part I – the scientific knitting needles (Sources & Sinks: A Tale of Coastal Biogeochemistry - BONUS COCOA) Dana Hellemann

While writing up the materials & methods part of my work, I came to realize how often ordinary household items find a permanent place in the scientific tool box. So far, during field and lab work I have been using tooth picks, pressure cookers, flip-top beer bottles, knitting needles, toilet brushes and not to forget the number one all-purpose item, the bucket (water sampler, sample and waste container, water bath and chair all at once) – all for scientific purposes.


Yes, this is scientific equipment: flip-top beer bottles used for salinity sample storage (advantage: tight closing), a cup as support item, and two household pressure cookers used as autoclaves, e.g. for divers biogeochemical analysis.

In this new series you will get to know everything you ever wanted to know about our equipment – ALL our equipment.

Part 1: the scientific knitting needles

knitting needle_dh

When measuring sediment denitrification, I add isotopically labeled nitrate (15NO3-) to intact sediment cores. This nitrate will be reduced by the denitrifying bacteria to as well labeled N2, from which the genuine denitrification rate can be calculated (a very rough and simplified description of the isotope pairing technique, Nielsen 1992). To stop the process after a certain incubation time, I carefully mix the sediment, create a sediment-water slurry and thus stop the anaerobic reaction by introducing oxygen.

Mixing a soft, muddy sediment is easy:


Mixing a coarse sandy sediment is somewhat more challenging, as it is usually compact, sturdy and thus utterly unwilling to be mixed:


That´s how the knitting needles found their place in my sand work equipment: being similarly sturdy, sharpened and slim, they proved to be the perfect tool for creating a careful sand-water slurry. Beyond that, if you should have time off during your incubation waiting, kidding. There´s no time off. Never :-)

Next time in "equipment explained": the Gemini / Gemax twin corer!

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Nominations are welcomed for the best stakeholder engagement achievement by the 13 'BONUS call 2012: Innovation' projects.  All nominations must be made by the end of Thursday, 20 April 2017 by email to Make sure that your suggestions get nominated!

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