International Summer School on the topic Coastal Dynamics - Consequences for Coastal Protection and Ecology

Today, the 17th Coastal Summer School came to an end. 19 young scientists from 11 nations visited the Baltic Sea island of Hiddensee for 12 days to deepen their knowledge of coastal research. On Hiddensee and on the research vessel ELISABETH MANN BORGESE they gained insights into geological processes of coastal dynamics, the resulting requirements for coastal protection and the ecological consequences of human interventions in natural dynamics. They were guided by 21 experts, who interdisciplinarily presented them the latest findings on the summer school’s topic and discussed future challenges of coastal research with them.

The summer school was aimed at highly committed, advanced young scientists in marine sciences, coastal engineering and coastal zone management, who had to apply for the limited placements in a stringent selection procedure. “We had many more very good applicants from all over the world than we were able to accept. The selection of participants was anything but easy, but once again a great group of young people came together who are incredibly motivated and worked together fantastically, says Sandra Kube from the Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research Warnemünde (IOW), which coordinated the summer school this year. The participants not only came from countries bordering the Baltic Sea such as Germany, Poland and Latvia, but also as far as from Algeria, Brazil, Chile, Greece, Honduras, India, the Philippines and Sri Lanka. “With the Hiddensee Biological Station of the University of Greifswald and the Vorpommern National Park Authority, we have been able to win very good local hosts, which has also contributed to the success of the Summer School,” Kube continued.
“Due to its geological history and coastal dynamics, Hiddensee is ideally suited for the topic of this year’s summer school. It was particularly important for us to give junior scientists in coastal engineering and classical marine sciences an interdisciplinary perspective,” adds Claudia Wiedner from the umbrella organisation “Coastal Research North Sea / Baltic Sea” (KüNO), which is involved in the Coastal Summer School for the second time. The KüNO umbrella that coordinates a network of joint research projects is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) through the Research Framework Programme “Research for Sustainable Development” (FONA). Since 2016, it has adressed coastal dynamics and coastal protection intensively, thus shaping this year's summer school's focus.
The programme of the summer school, which lasted almost two weeks, comprised a total of about 20 seminars and workshops covering topics of coastal engineering, geology, biology and physical oceanography, three exkursions on the island and – as an absolute highlight – two day trips with the IOW research vessel ELISABETH MANN BORGESE. The main focus here was the acoustic remote sensing of the seabed with a special emphasis on the structure of the seabed and its changes due to sand mining in the Baltic Sea. When designing the programme, the organisers were particularly interested in ensuring that the young scientists should not only take home a great deal of specialised knowledge, but above all the awareness of how important cooperation between all disciplines is for the protection and preservation of coastal systems.
Since 2002, the Coastal Summer School has been jointly organised every year by the Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), the Helmholtz Centre Geesthacht Centre for Materials and Coastal Research (HZG) and the IOW at different locations and on different focal topics.