COAST- Center for Environmental and Sustainability Research

Seas and Coasts

Maritime Energie und Blaues Wachstum

© [Kay Ludwig]

Marine and coastal environments are the hot spots of energy production, economic value creation and biodiversity in Europe. Rich energy and blue growth potentials in Europe’s regional seas form the basis for new innovation partnerships between business, science and administration. In particular the North Sea Region acts as an exemplary platform highlighting challenges and best practice models of the complex transition processes currently transforming Europe’s energy and economic landscapes.


  • Science as foundation of sustainable use
  • Marine/Maritime Spatial Planning
  • Marine resources and marine energy potentials
  • Europeanising coastal regions

Running Projects


“Assessment of ground- and porewater-derived nutrient fluxes into the German North Sea – Is there a ‘Barrier Island Mass Effect (BIME)’?”

Funding body: Niedersächsisches Ministerium für Wissenschaft und Kultur

Main focus: In this novel interdisciplinary approach, the basic processes governing SGD dynamics, composition, and interaction with associated biota will be studied. Three groundwater-dominated barrier islands in the German North Sea (Mellum, Norderney, and Spiekeroog) with similar geology and climate, but different anthropogenic impacts, will be compared with regards to the magnitudes, biogeochemistry, and ecology of SGD.

Project duration: May 2015 - April 2020

Institutions: ICBM


Macroplastics Pollution in the Southern North Sea – Sources, Pathways and Abatement Strategies

Funding body: Niedersächsisches Ministerium für Wissenschaft und Kultur

Project duration: 2016 - 2020

Institutions: ICBM, ZENARiO

Logo IBR


Interdisciplinary approach to functional biodiversity research (IBR)

Funding body: ministry of science and culture (MWK) of Lower Saxony

Main focus: Understanding the response of biodiversity to the pressures of global change and its role for ecosystem functions requires integrative research across basic ecology, evolutionary biology and theory as well as interdisciplinary approaches to biodiversity conservation and management. The Research Training Group (RTG) "IBR: Interdisciplinary approach to functional biodiversity research" is aiming to investigate biodiversity in over-arching approaches across terrestrial and marine habitats studying microbes, primary producers, and higher-level consumers focusing on the link between biodiversity and ecosystem processes.

Project duration: January 2015 - December 2017

Institutions: CEM, ICBM



Marine Spacial Planning Research Network

Funding body: various

Main focus: The Marine Spatial Planning Research Network is an informal grouping of scientists, policy-makers and practitioners who wish to contribute to the development of marine spatial planning through academic-based research. The network is interested in evaluating the varying approaches that are being applied in different contexts, and exploring new ideas and techniques for taking MSP forward.

Project duration: since 2012

Institutions: COAST

Logo NorthSEE


A North Sea Perspective on Shipping, Energy and Environment Aspects in MSP

Funding body: EU-INTERREG VB NSR

Main focus: Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) is a societal process to balance different and competing user interest as well as environmental protection aims. NorthSEE launches a sea-basin wide coordination process among MSP authorities in the North Sea Region (NSR). NorthSEE aims to achieve a greater coherence in MSP across the NSR for three transnational topics: environmental aspects, shipping routes and energy infrastructure. Current and future synergies and mismatches of national planning solutions and approaches will be identified and planning solutions for selected sites with incompatibilities will be developed.

Project duration: January 2016 to December 2018

Institutions: COAST

Logo Roseobacter


Transregional Collaborative research centre (TTR 51)

Funding body: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft DFG

Main focus:The major aim of the current work is to understand the evolutionary, genetic and physiological foundation of the bacteria's payoff.

Project duration: since June 2010 - maximum of 12 years

Institutions: ICBM

Completed Projects



Wissenschaftliche Monitoringkonzepte für die Deutsche Bucht

Funding body: Niedersächsische Ministerium für Wissenschaft und Kultur (MWK), Niedersächsische Ministerium für Umwelt, Energie und Klimaschutz (MU)

Main focus: Das Verbundprojekt „Wissenschaftliche Monitoringkonzepte für die Deutsche Bucht (WIMO)“ ist eine fächerübergreifende und länderüberschreitende Kooperation von vier staatlichen Universitäten, vier außeruniversitären ForschungsInstitutions, einem Institute for Advanced Study und zwei Behörden der Länder Niedersachsen, Bremen und Schleswig-Holstein. Wissenschaftler aus zwölf Institutionen mit insgesamt 20 Arbeitsgruppen in drei Projektbereichen (PB) und zehn Teilprojekten (TP) an der Entwicklung neuer Monitoringkonzepte für eine nachhaltige Nutzung der Küstengewässer für Modellregionen in der Deutschen Bucht.

Project duration: until end of 2015

Institutions: ICBM


Funding body: Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt, Niedersächsische Wattenmeerstiftung und Nationalparkverwaltung Niedersächsisches Wattenmeer

Main focus: Kornweihen gehören zu den seltensten und am stärksten bedrohten Brutvögeln in Deutschland. Dem niedersächsischen Wattenmeer kommt dabei eine besondere Bedeutung zu, denn nahezu der gesamte deutsche Brutbestand der Kornweihe brütet auf den Ostfriesischen Inseln. Zu wissen, wie Kornweihen in ihrem Lebensraum Wattenmeer "funktionieren", ist von grundlegender Bedeutung für den Erhalt der Brutpopulation und für die Erarbeitung eines wirkungsvollen Schutzkonzeptes.

Project duration: 2009 - 2016

Institutions: CEM


Biogeochemistry of tidal flats

Funding body: DFG

Main focus: The aim of the research group was to achieve a profounder understanding of the processes in the Wadden sea. This included in particular the formative influences of tides and weather as well as the balance between formation and degradation processes secured by microorganisms. Furthermore, prognostic models should be developed.

Project duration: October 2008 – end of 2011

Institutions: ICBM

Logo enerCOAST


BlueGreen Coastal Energy Community

Funding body: EU - Interreg IV B

Main focus: Deployment of a Sustainable Supply Chain Management business model to build efficient bioenergy value chains in five north European countries

Project duration: October 2008 – September 2012

Institutions: COAST, CENTOS, ICBM

Jadebusen-Projekt (Baseline Study Jadebusen)

Funding body: Land Niedersachsen

Main focus: The project is a background study in the coastal region of the Jade Bay aiming to collect basic data of natural sciences and cultural studies for a coastal database of Lower Saxony. This interdisciplinary research project collects and combines data from geosphere, biosphere and anthroposphere.

Project duration: 2009 - 2013

Institutions: ICBM



Mapping and Communicating Marine Energy Potentials

Funding body: EU - INTERREG IV B

Main focus: MAP-MEP aims to increase awareness of marine energy potentials in the North Sea by means of targeted information and editing of existing data. Therefore the data and results from energy-related INTERREG projects as well as other sources for the public sector and other interested parties are prepared. MAP-MEP wants to promote a dialogue on possible future energy partnerships throughout the North Sea region, which takes into account all forms of energy. This information will be visualized in a WebGIS module in the long term.

Project duration: July 2014 – June 2015

Institutions: COAST

Logo North Sea STAR

North Sea STAR

Spreading Transnational Results (2012-2014)

Funding body: EU - ESPON

Main focus: The ESPON Targeted Analysis project North Sea STAR analyses the experience of energy-focused INTERREG projects in the North Sea Region.

Project duration: September 2012 - February 2014

Institutions: COAST

Logo Power Cluster

PC - Power Cluster

Developing the North Sea offshore energy region

Funding body: EU - Interreg IV B

Main focus: Use of the wind energy potential of the open North Sea

Project duration: July 2008 – June 2011

Institutions:  COAST, ForWind, ZENARiO