Effects of Global Change on Marine Ecosystems

PROJECT OUTLINE: „Protected species and habitats in the German Baltic Sea and in the North Sea and their sensitivities against anthropogenic impacts and climate change”

Aims and content of this project

files/media/files/Cover_Malek_en.jpgWithin this project a comprising reference book on protected species (fish, marine mammals, benthic invertebrates) and habitats of the German Baltic Sea and the North Sea was developed. The aim was to provide specialized knowledge on species and habitats that is required to support decision making processes on assessing impacts and future management actions in the German conservation areas of the exclusive economic zone (EEZ). With this work the marine nature conservancy is supported on national as well as on international level.

The book contains a “profile” for each protected species and habitat that summarizes fundamental information on its biology, ecology and distribution. A lot of this information was already published, but needed to be researched in this context and compiled. On the basis of these profiles, sensitivities of species and habitats against existing anthropogenic impacts in the sea (e.g. fisheries, offshore-installations, exploration and degradation of raw materials) have been worked out. Further, the effects of climate change were assessed on the special environmental requirements of species and habitats on the one hand, and on expected future changes in environmental conditions, e.g. temperature, salinity and currents, on the other hand.

In 2012 the book was published in the BfN-series „Naturschutz und Biologische Vielfalt“ (Nature conservation and biodiversity) in German and English. 

Photo 1 und 2: Martin Wahl, Photo 3: Bernd Ueberschär

Project organization

Thematically this project was subdivided into three parts, which were taken over from the following experts and their working groups:

  • Dr. Rainer Froese, GEOMAR: Subproject fish.
  • PD Dr. Ursula Siebert, Research and Technology Center Westcoast Christian-Albrechts-University Kiel: Subproject marine mammals
  • Prof. Dr. Martin Wahl, GEOMAR: Subprojects habitats and benthic invertebrates.

The Kiel Earth Institute coordinated this project.

Support and duration of the project

This project was funded by the Federal Agency of Nature Conservation (BfN: www.habitatmare.de) as part of the Initiative for the Climate Protection of the Federal Environment Ministry (BMU). The project started in October 2008 and ended in February 2012.


Coordinator KIEL EARTH INSTITUTE // Ulrike Bernitt // ubernitt@geomar.de