01.01.2009 Open end
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Marine Ecosystems

Study of structures and functions of marine environmental systems, including the role of biodiversity in the oceans, studies of bio-geochemical cycles in the oceans as well as identification of burdens on the marginal seas and coastal zones.

The marine ecosystems play an important role in the system Earth. As yet, there has been little scientific research, because of the enormous dimensions of the marine habitat and the extremely varying living conditions. Since the oceans are more and more subject to human use demands and climate change makes itself felt here too, the marine ecosystems have become a growing focus of scientific attention. The sustainable use of marine resources however requires profound knowledge of structures and functions in the respective ecosystems. Only on this basis can the limits of stress resistance of oceans be determined.

The sea is the largest habitat on Earth. The structures and functions of the marine ecosystems however have hardly been explored so far. Therefore, the effects of climate change and its impact as well as anthropogenic influences on the sea can hardly be assessed. Not only does it concern structures and functions within the food webs, but also the course of biogeochemical processes. On the other hand, the disturbances of the marine ecosystem will have global effects, thus also on the climate.

The set of issues entitled "Marine Ecosystems and Global Change" is subject of several international projects within the framework of the International Geosphere Biosphere Programme (IGBP). German scientists were involved in its drafting.

Marine Research for Sustainability

In marginal seas and coastal regions, marine research is aimed at creating the knowledge base for the sustainable use of natural resources in these marine areas. Despite ongoing national and international research and monitoring programs, there is considerable need for research to enable the identification and evaluation of the state of the oceans, the effects of climate changes, the effects of anthropogenic influences and the effectiveness of protective measures. Important fields of work are the euthrophication, the examination of pollutants in the sea and biodiversity.


Industrial companies, universities and non-university research institutions can apply for funding. Funding occurs by way of non-repayable grants, and companies usually have to participate with no less than 50 percent in the application.

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