While DANUBIUS-RI will facilitate research at many locations across Europe, a number of key sites will be given Supersite status.
Supersites will provide natural laboratories for observation, research, modelling and innovation at locations of high scientific importance and opportunity, covering river-sea systems from river source to transitional waters and coastal seas. Ranging from the near pristine (eg Danube Delta Supersite) to the heavily impacted (eg Thames Estuary Supersite), the Supersites will be selected to provide contrasting systems across environmental, social and economic gradients that have been impacted, to varying degrees either directly or indirectly, by industrialisation, urbanisation, population expansion, land use change and farming. They will provide interdisciplinary research platforms and identify, model and define system states and conditions for naturally and anthropogenically triggered transitions in the physical, biogeochemical and biological states. They will provide excellent opportunities to undertake social and economic investigations in contrasting settings.
An initial suite of eight Supersites was developed, and other four added during the second year of the Preparatory Phase:
- Danube Delta
- Ebro-Llobregat Deltaic System
- Elbe-North Sea
- Upper Danube
- Po Delta and North Adriatic Lagoons
- Thames Estuary
- Middle Danube – Szigetkoz
- Tay Catchment
- Rhine-Meuse Delta
- Middle Rhine
- Guadalquivir Estuary
Each Supersite will have a Host Laboratory with responsibility for providing information to researchers and stakeholders, facilitating access, managing long-term observation programmes, and managing data. In the future aditional Supersites may be added.