Khoppe Pferdewatt3

Breaking News

Large Baltic Sea field experiment with four research vessels

Forschungsschiffe Elisabeth Mann Borgese Alkor Iow Pri0613

© IOW / R. Prien

On July 16, 2024, a 19-day research cruise will start in the Baltic Sea led by the Leibnitz Institute for Baltic Sea Research (IOW) to investigate the impact of bottom trawling on the seabed and the organisms living there. In addition to the IOW research vessel ELISABETH MANN BORGESE, three more research vessels from other institutions are involved in the large-scale bottom trawling simulation experiment near Warnemünde: the research vessel ALKOR from the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, the research catamaran LIMANDA from the University of Rostock and the fisheries research vessel CLUPEA from the Rostock Thünen Institute of Baltic Sea Fisheries.

The experiment is part of the sustainMare pilot project MGF-Ostsee to study the effects of bottom trawling on marine protected areas in the Baltic Seas.
to IOW


There is a lot to report from the sustainMare research mission. Here at News & Events, reports of the individual projects and important events of the mission are presented. Our aim is is to bring more transparency to the research project and thus reflect the work to the general public. This is very important for us, as we want to develop versatile innovations for the protection and sustainable use of the oceans and make know-how accessible.

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sustainMare Lecture Series 2024 (in German)


In the summer semester 2024, the second edition of the sustainMare Lecture Series takes place in the general lecture system of the University of Hamburg.

In addition, it was selected as an elective module for the extracurricular study program "Certificate Intercultural Competence", i.e. students from Hamburg University can have regular participation credited as academic achievement. The CIC is an extracurricular course offered by the University of Hamburg. The certificate is awarded to students of the University of Hamburg who are particularly involved in intercultural topics. It is a recognition of intercultural commitment and an additional award for students. And for us as well. However, our lectures are still in German only.

to Hamburg University

Munitions clearance - here we go!

Munitionstag 16x9


On June 24, 2024, an information day took place at GEOMAR as part of the information campaign for the start of the systematic clearance of munitions in the Baltic Sea, to which all interested parties were invited.

The sustainMare project CONMAR accompanies the Federal Government's
action program to pilot the recovery and destruction of munitions.

In the morning, almost 100 invited representatives of the federal government and the state of Schleswig-Holstein, medium-sized munitions clearance companies, sensor and software developers, large-scale industry such as ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems and German Naval Yards, representatives of the navy, the Schleswig-Holstein munitions clearance service, the federal police, non-governmental organizations and the scientific community - civilian and military, such as WTD71 - met to find out about the launch of the "Munitions salvage in the North Sea and Baltic Sea" emergency programme. Representatives of the entire affected Steakehodler portfolio came together for the first time at this event.

1 Jgehringer

© CONMAR, J. Gehringer

In the afternoon, an exhibition format was presented to the interested public, with information stands on techniques and work relating to the topic of munitions and the exhibition "North Sea Wrecks" of the German Maritime Museum (DSM). There was also a series of lectures with various contributions, including talks by three CONMAR members on munitions, shipwrecks and toxicology.

New ICES Working Group

Ices Ecobal

© Caroline Grünhagen, CeOS

The “Working Group for Ecosystem-based Fisheries Management in the Western Baltic Sea” (WGECOBAL) aims to better understand the impact of the environment and in particular climate on the living marine resources of the Western Baltic Sea, in order to supporting stock assessments and ecosystem-based recommendations for fish stocks. It will improve the assessment, advice and management of fish stocks in the western Baltic Sea. This is urgently needed, as the once most important commercial species cod and herring have collapsed. The aim is to develop and discuss possible future prospects for the ecosystem of the western Baltic Sea, its fish community and the fisheries that depend on it. The results will be passed on to the relevant decision-makers as part of WGECOBAL's work.

WGECOBAL will deliberately take a holistic approach and incorporate a broad expertise in related marine natural and social sciences. Sounds familiar? No wonder, because the group's chairs Prof. Dr. Christian Möllmann and Dr. Heike Schwermer work in the sustainMare project SpaCeParti. And researchers from iSeal are also involved in the work of WGECOBAL. In total, the working group pools the expertise of more than 30 researchers from Denmark, Sweden and Germany.

Link to ICES

Coastal Summer School 2024

This year's Coastal Summer School features the DAM project sustainMare and will take place from 02. - 13. September 2024 on the island of Helgoland. The focus is on the topic "Offshore Windfarms: innovative and sustainable options for multiuse concepts?" The target group are Msc grades, Phd students and young researchers already working in the field.

The coastal summer school is realized in cooperation of some of the leading national centres for coastal research in Germany: Leibniz Institute for Baltic Research Warnemünde, Helmholtz Centre Hereon Geesthacht and Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research (Helmholtz Association of German Research Centers).

Sorry, the registration is closed.

to the webpage

Facing the future: Is sustainable ocean management possible?



At the kick-off event for decision-makers and stakeholders as part of the One Ocean Summit in Bergen, Norway, this question was generally answered in the affirmative. However, the challenges were also pointed out, e.g. that space in the North Sea is a finite resource (Prof. Ignacio Herrera Anchustegui), and that the consequences of the planned expansion of offshore wind energy by 2050 will be enormous and are still largely unknown (Prof. Corinna Schrum from CoastalFutures).
The panel also discussed the principle of sustainability and made it clear in the discussion that sustainability is more than "just" nature conservation. The generation of clean and affordable energy, food production and climate protection are also part of the UN's sustainable development goals.

The event took place in Håkons Hall, Norway's first castle dating back to 1261.


Report on impacts of Offshore Wind Farms


© K. Hoppe, hereon

sustainMare scientists were commissioned by the German Bundestag and the Office at Technology Assessment at the German Bundestag (TAB) with a current report:
"Effects of large offshore wind farms on the overall ecological-economic relationships in the North Sea and Baltic Sea"
Congratulations to the researchers from Hereon, Thünen, TiHo and DDA! The expertise for the report is of course based on more than the knowledge gathered in sustainMare, but is bundled in our joint project CoastalFutures. This news fits in well with the previous one and demonstrates the increasing interest of politicians in the topics of our research mission.
to the TAB project page

Sea Ranger pilot project

Sea Ranger Spaceparti2

© SpaCeParti

Lately, one of the sustainMare products (see next news items) has been prominently in the German press. A sustainable idea for adapting the fishing profession in the western Baltic Sea to current circumstances (overfishing, climate change, biodiversity loss/change) comes from the Wismar Bay fishing cooperative. For this purpose, the Sea Ranger concept was devised, which the sustainMare project SpaCeParti is supporting and helping to shape.
The aim is to diversify the fishing profession and to take on tasks in nature conservation, public relations and ecosystem management in cooperation with authorities and research. 11 fishermen are currently taking part in the additional training program at the Sassnitz vocational college.

sustainMare products

We have a new webpage about the acchievements
of the mission, online since December 2023.
A big Thank you! to the Hereon Communication
and Media Department for their support.
to the webpage

Food web pilot study published in QSR 2023

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QSR 2023 Logo © OSPAR

Results of the sustainMare project iSeal were successfully transferred into marine policy.
As part of the OSPAR Quality Status Report 2023, a pilot food web assessment by means of Ecological Network Analysis (ENA) was developed together with France, Sweden, Denmark and Portugal. iSeal has contributed to this pilot study with an analysis of a coastal North Sea food web.
All direct and indirect interactions in a food web can be analysed in an ENA and the structure, functioning and ecological status can be assessed with ENA derived indices. The food web of the coastal North Sea comprises 235 marine species and has been modelled over a period of 10 years. Due to high pressures on the food web, the ENA indices show that the food web is not in a good environmental status.
The QSR is produced every 5-7 years and aims to assess the environmental status of the North-East Atlantic and to identify actions to achieve the OSPAR´s vision of a clean, healthy and biologically diverse Ocean, which is productive, used sustainably and resilient to climate change and ocean acidification. In addition, the results of the QSR 2023 may be used by EU Member States to support their reporting obligations under the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD).

the pilot assessment is available here:

Development of an ICES Roadmap for Offshore Wind Energy Research

The need for marine renewable energy has become more pressing in recent years due to the increasing demand for sustainable and clean sources of energy. Alongside the transition to clean energy to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement, reducing energy imports is another driver in most ICES Member Countries and beyond pushing marine renewable energy developments specifically since the beginning of the Ukraine war. Within Europe, these developments (including wind, wave, and tidal) have been steadily increasing over the last two decades, and globally, trends are following. As the push for offshore renewable developments increases, exemplified by the Ostende Declaration of North Sea states pushing for a tenfold increase from currently 30 GW of installed capacity to more than 300 GW, ICES foresees an increase in advisory needs specifically relating to this development. Similar developments are expected in other ICES coastal areas, which poses a challenge on assessment, advice and marine science in general.
Therefore, with a Workshop on Offshore Marine Renewables (WKOMRE) and subsequent follow-up meetings, ICES started to develop a roadmap for research on impacts of offshore wind farms on ecological processes and the state of ecosystems, on impacts for fisheries and fisheries surveys and impacts on other marine activities within ICES Member countries and within the ICES system of expert groups. This roadmap is expected to be refined and adapted iteratively over time.
CoastalFutures has been involved in WKOMRE and the development of the ICES Roadmap from the beginning, contributing specifically from a modelling perspective and providing modelling results in related expert groups, as well as from a policy and social science perspective and the ICES Expert Group on Marine Planning and Coastal Zone Management (WGMPCZM). Thereby, CoastalFutures acts also as a bridge between the ICES roadmap (and ICES Expert Groups) and sustainMare. Furthermore, CoastalFutures and many other partners in the research mission are actively contributing to a wide range of ICES Expert Groups linking sustainMare research to the ICES research and advice agenda.
to ICES Library

"Future Workshop Coastal Fisheries 2045" in Germany

Illustration Coastal Fisheries 2045

© Thünen / Fanouss Grosse-Adda

Under the title "Coastal Fisheries 2045 - First Target Picture of the Future Workshop" a new article has been published (in German). Here, Tobias Lasner from CoastalFutures and Fanny Barz describe their work in the "Future Workshop on Coastal Fisheries 2045", initiated by the Thünen-Institute of Sea Fisheries and Thünen-Institute of Baltic Sea Fisheries. The method used is a renewed, participatory scenario technique adapted to fisheries research for the development of desirable target images.

A panel of fisheries entrepreneurs and opinion leading experts from fisheries research, nature conservation, local politics, (coastal) tourism, marine spatial planning, recreational fishing and seafood trade developed target pictures for the use of the German seas for the year 2045 in several consecutive sessions, which were graphically realised by illustrators. The target pictures have in common, that they initially target the regeneration of marine ecosystems and stable fish stocks. In the target pictures, coastal and cutter fisheries become an integrative component in a marine multi-use scenario of renewable energies, tourism and nature conservation.

This work took simultaneously place with the sustainMare research mission. All seven projects of the mission have a focus on the "Future of Fisheries" in addition to their other topics. With good reasons the Thünen-future workshop will cooperate closely with the sustainMare research mission in future.
to the article

ICES and sustainMare in Bilbao

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Poster session, © SpaCeParti

The ICES Annual Science Conference 2023 took place from 11–14 September 2023 in Bilbao, Spain. sustainMare with its strong focus on The fututere of fisheries in Germany was represented by several members of the mission projects SpaCeParti and CoastalFutures.

Link to the conference webpage


The sustainMare Mid Term Meeting & Conference took place 30.08. - 01.09.2023 in Kiel. It was a huge success with 190 participants from research, economy and administration. Important impulses were gained for the continuation of the mission, also beyond the first phase of sustainMare.

And the winner is ...

Pp Isealgr

© Eva Papaioannou

iSeal wins poster award !

One of the highlights of the MTC was the Early Career Researcher
poster competition won by Dr Léa Joly (left) and Dr Maysa Ito (right).

The two young scientists presented the mesocosm experiments of
the iSeal project. The experiments were conducted to assess the
effects of ocean warming and invasive species on a benthic community
in the Wadden Sea. Analyses are conducted at various biological
and community levels, from the individual's physiological response
to the cascading effect on the functioning of the ecosystem.

Great interest in the PANGAEA info event

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On 23 August 2023, the PANGAEA info event for the DAM research missions "How to publish data in PANGAEA, Data Publisher for Earth and Environmental Science" took place. The event was organised by Flavia Höring, the data editor for the DAM research missions at PANGAEA. 20 scientists from sustainMare and CDRmare attended the online session to learn more about the publication process at PANGAEA and discuss open questions regarding data archiving.


12th Future Conference Wind & Maritime Rostock

Prof. Dr. Corinna Schrum
Institute Director, Centre for Materials and Coastal Research
Helmholtz-Centre Hereon Geesthacht & Professor at the University Hamburg
Umweltauswirkungen von grüner Wasserstoffproduktion auf See (in German)
29. June 2023

Council of the Baltic Sea States meeting in Wismar June 1 and 2


CONMAR toxicologists from Kiel University explain environmental hazards of dumped World War II munitions

At their meeting in Wismar, the foreign ministers of the Council of the Baltic Sea States agreed on closer cooperation in the salvage and disposal of munitions from the world wars that were dumped on the seabed. German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock wants investors in the construction of offshore wind farms in the Baltic Sea to participate in the salvage of munitions waste in the future. In the final declaration, the council members point out the dangers that conventional and chemical munitions pose to the marine environment, fisheries, shipping and renewable energy plants. According to estimates by the Fraunhofer Institute, there are up to 400,000 tons of conventional munitions and about 40,000 tons of chemical warfare agents in the Baltic Sea. The Institute for Toxicology and Pharmacology for Natural Scientists of the University Hospital Schleswig-Holstein under the direction of Prof. Dr. Edmund Maser provided essential insights into the environmental hazards of these toxic explosives in more than 10 years of research work.


Geostor MSP Illustration

CDRmare untersucht Flächen in Nordsee. © R. Erven, CDRmare, GEOMAR

Opportunities and obstacles of marine geological CO2 storage.

"Are areas in the North Sea EEZ potentially suitable for a CO2 demonstration project?" This question and others are being investigated in detail in the GEOSTOR project of the DAM research mission CDRmare.

The CDRmare Policy Briefs address key statements and options for action that are of relevance to political decision-makers and other interested stakeholders.

to CDRmare info material


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From 29.03.2023, every Wednesday at 19:00 h, you can join us for a public online lecture, courtesy of Hamburg University. A wide range of new and fascinating facts and stories from the sustainMare research mission.
However, please note that the lectures are in German! link to HH University

sustainMare goes UN


The research mission has successfully applied to be included in the der UN Oceandecade. sustainMare will be a project in the Decade Programme "smartNet" and work for the UN motto: "The Ocean we need for the future we want "

Summer 2023: Mid Term Meeting & Conference


From August 30 to September 01, 2023, the sustainMare annual meeting will summarize, present and analyze the preliminra research results. Based on the meeting, the second half of the project will be planned, including preparations for an envisioned II phase.

Data on Marine Munitions

Marine Munition Data Compilation Kl

The Marine Munition Data Compilation - Germany as a CONMAR and sustainMare
data management product went online at the Marine Data Portal of the
German Marine Research Alliance (Deutsche Allianz Meeresforschung (DAM)).

Making research tangible for pupils

J. scharsack + pupils

CONMAR is actively engaged in getting young people excited about research. As part of a cooperation with the Lloyds Gymnasium Bremerhaven, Dr. Jörn Peter Scharsack (CONMAR member at the Thünen Institute) gave a lecture for 7th graders on the topic of marine munitions contamination on April 17, 2023. The students were very well prepared and participated actively in the discussions on the lecture.

II. phase for pilot missions

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For three years the DAM pilot missions MGF Nordsee and MGF Ostsee ehave been researching the impact of mobile ground-touching fisheries (MGF!) on marine protected areas in the North and Baltic Sea. In March this year, a second phase was approved for both collaborative projects. This is good news for sustainMare, and fits well with the announcement of the approval of conservation measures by the EU Commission below.

EU Commission approves protection measures

Screenshot PM BMEL

The time has come. On 16th February 2023, it was officially announced that the
EU Commission has approved the measures to restrict mobile, bottom-contact
fishing in the marine protected areas of the German North Sea. We are excited
to study the future developments in the areas and look forward to interesting
research questions.

CONMAR reaching out to the North Sea

Conmar Bild 2

part of a 8.8 cm munition shell © CONMAR

First sampling of fish at outer Jade munition dump sites
According to archive research, enormous amounts of munition (>300 000t, were dumped in the Northern Jade estuary after WWII. Due to ongoing corrosion of the dumped munition, leakage of harmful munition compound to the marine environment is expected. The SOLEA cruise 816, January 16-27 2023 aimed at the historically first sampling of fish (common dab, Limanda limanda) and water samples for munition compounds in close proximity to the North Sea Jade area dumped munition.

Before the start of the cruise, crew members and scientific staff received a briefing from the Lower Saxony explosive ordnance clearance service. Experienced ordnance clearers explained how to deal with munition that might be picked up with bottom beam trawls and left containers for the storage of munition items on board. Due to heavy storm, the start of the cruise from Cuxhaven was delayed by one day. First sampling at Scharhörn reef was complicated by bad weather and half of the scientific staff being seasick. Sampling was continued at the outer Jade region near dumped munition and 30 dabs were successfully investigated and sampled for body fluids (blood, urine, bile) and tissues (liver, spleen, kidney, muscle, gill) for later laboratory chemical analysis for residual munition compounds such as TNT (trinitrotoluene).

Bad weather and technical problems forced the ship to search protection in the harbour of Wilhelmshaven. Due to high professionalism of the crew, the cruise was continued instantly and more sites around the Jade estuary and further west along the German coast up to the Ems estuary were sampled. On the way back to Cuxhaven, last sampling in the Jade estuary yielded a corroded chunk of munition, the bottom part of a 8.8 cm munition shell which contained residuals of the propellant, indicating the it was a dumped (not discharged) munition item (pic). Visible inspection of fish for diseases on board did not reveal any obvious health issues of dab collected near munition dump sites in comparison with control sites without dumped munition. Samples from water and fish were transferred to participating laboratories (AWI, GEOMAR, UKSH, Thünen) and are currently processed for chemical analysis of potential residual munition compounds. Laboratory analysis will reveal if and to which extend fish are contaminated with munition compounds. more info at the CONMAR website

New book chapter on transdisziplinary Research by SpaCeParti

Spaceparti Abbbuch

The multifaceted picture of transdisciplinarity in marine reseach
Transdisciplinary research is a growing field in academia, yet, there still is no uniform definition. The interdisciplinary team of the Center for Ocean and Society addresses this in the new publication.
Often, transdisciplinary research is contrasted to disciplinary, multi- and interdisciplinary research: while disciplinary research includes only one discipline, multi- and inter-disciplinary research includes several disciplines. However, the key difference of interdisciplinary research is the collaboration of all disciplines to achieve the objectives set within a particular project. Additionally, transdisciplinary research involves stakeholders from various backgrounds.

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Event News

CoastalFuture second annual meeting


© Hereon

The meeting of the CoastalFuture project took place from 3 to 5 June at the Helmholtz Centre Hereon in Geesthacht. As a transdisciplinary project dealing with the impact of climate change on coastal regions, the CoastalFuture project presented its latest findings in various research areas.

The event focussed on the key topics of sand management, climate change and offshore wind energy (OFW). In addition, the meeting offered a deep insight into current research on "hydrogen at sea". The participants of the meeting had the opportunity to exchange views on the innovative modelling tools developed in the project to investigate future use scenarios and the impacts of climate change. In addition, holistic modelling methods developed to support the management and assessment of climate change impacts as well as use and protection measures were presented.

Kick-off workshop of the sustainMare “Monitoring & Assessment” working group

Members M and A workshop

© Viola Siegler

From February 27th - 28th, 2024, the first workshop of the new sustainMare working group on “Monitoring & Assessment” took place at Senckenberg am Meer in Wilhelmshaven. Under the leadership of Prof. Dr. Pedro Martinez Arbizu (Senckenberg am Meer) and Dr. Ulrike Schückel (Landesbetrieb für Küstenschutz, Nationalpark und Meeresschutz Schleswig-Holstein) approximately 30 scientists from the different sustainMare projects, consultants and stakeholders attended the workshop. Main topics of discussion were requirements of the Marine Strategy Framework Directives (MSFD), missing indicators and gaps in regulatory monitoring programmes. Break out groups and plenary sessions addressed the necessary dialogue between stakeholders, user groups and scientists.

CONMAR Meeting

Conmar Vilm 2024


The 2nd CONMAR Annual Meeting took place from 12 to 14 February 2024 at the International Academy for Nature Conservation Isle of Vilm located near the beautiful Isle Rügen. In presentations and workshops, we exchanged information on the latest research results and started the planning of further activities in 2024. In addition to the actual working meeting, CONMAR invited representatives of various interest groups on 12 February 2024 to provide them with the current status of munitions research and to discuss the clearance activities that - on behalf of the German government - will begin in the second quarter of 2024. In total, more than 35 people attended the meeting on Vilm. Thanks to all participants for the valuable exchange of ideas and the stimulating discussions.

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