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Breaking News

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:

News from sustainMare

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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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 ...

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© 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

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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

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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

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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

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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

Strategy Group Workshop


Marine Protected Areas | Multi-Use
The KDM Marine Protected Areas Strategy Group is proposed as a forum for discussion and prioritisation of science to support effective marine protected areas. The SG will be inclusive and include environmental scientists, marine engineers, microbiologists, monitoring experts and social scientists, etc. Experts from NGOs and government agencies will also be invited as needed. The group will focus on MPAs inside and outside the German EEZ.

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SEA-EU group visiting the Wadden Sea © T. Hahn, Kiel University

"At Kiel University, research with non-academic partners is a crucial part of our agenda. The exchange on successful projects of transdisciplinary cooperation is therefore of high importance to us - especially in the context of our SEA-EU consortium," says Professor Eckhard Quandt, Vice President of Kiel University, who welcomed the 15-member delegation today (April 25).

In the three-day stay, the participants will learn about different projects from marine research with and for society. These include "Bioeconomy on Marine Sites" (BaMS), an innovation space in northern Germany coordinated by Kiel University to strengthen aquaculture and blue circular projects, or CAPTN, the "Clean Autonomous Public Transport Network" aiming to establish an autonomous and sustainable mobility chain on water and on land. Further, the delegation will travel to the North Sea to the Research and Technology Center West Coast (FTZ) of Kiel University, where projects with the Wadden Sea National Park, like iSeal, will be presented. On the Baltic Sea, the delegation will meet with fishermen in Eckernförde and visit the Ostsee Info Center (OIC). Other stops include the Kiel Science Factory, a laboratory for pupil at Kiel University, and the Stohl Cliffs near Kiel.

"On Europe's coasts, we are facing similar challenges to use them sustainably and protect them at the same time. In so called living labs, we are testing possible solutions with the groups affected by the changes, for example in fisheries, coastal protection or infrastructure construction. Our European neighbors are working in a similar way. Through the Transformation Lab, we can benefit from the experiences of our partner countries," says Dr. Christian Wagner-Ahlfs, coordinator for transdisciplinary research of the Kiel Marine Science (KMS) priority reasearch area and SpaCeParti participant at Kiel University.

more info

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Working Group Stakeholder Interaction

Finally, in April 2023, the sustainMare Working Group
"Stakeholder Interaction & Coordination" could meet in
person at the Thünen Institute in Hamburg Bergedorf

More events