Satellite picture North- and Baltic Sea, © NASA/Meris
Stressors on marine and coastal environments can originate from naturally occurring changes superimposed on a combination of various human induced impacts.
Human and environmental drivers (including changes in hydrographic conditions, physical disturbance and loss of habitats, non-native species, fish mortality, eutrophication, pollution, marine litter, sound from human activities, to name but a few) are highly variable both in type and on different temporal and spatial scales.
Map of project areas in the North Sea area, © J. Greinert
Thus, the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funded the sustainMare Research Mission to adopt a combination of long and short term regional and local approaches to assess overarching human and environmental drivers and their impacts on marine regions and land-ocean transition zones.
This Research Mission primarily focuses on regions in the North Sea and Baltic Sea. In these regions, the following potential drivers will be considered:
eutrophication, fisheries, shipping (including construction and maintenance of ports and shipping ways), pollutants (including plastics and other types of debris and chemical contaminants), tourism, renewable energy production, extraction of mineral resources, dredging and deposition of sediments, coastal protection measures, and other direct economic impacts.
Obviously, our results will also be significant on a larger, oceanic scale.
The Mission includes 7 collaborative projects with about 40 Partners and more than 250 participants. It will identify the various human use and planning scenarios in selected marine ecosystems and assess basin scale functionality and remote impacts thereon.
Map of project areas in the Baltic Sea area, © J. Greinert
The mission will further develop potential future scenarios in the face of climate change, especially in terms of the future management options dealing with and developing mitigation strategies in an adaptive and integrative management framework.
Effective concepts for the public welfare-oriented, wealth-securing and environmentally friendly use of marine and coastal areas as well as protection concepts for the preservation of biodiversity and natural biotopes are imperative and of great social importance.