Dam Herobild Data From Esa Meris
| Press Release

Help for Seas and Coasts

A research mission of the German Marine Research Alliance (DAM) is to study the impacts of marine environment utilization

Official kick-off meeting will take place on February 17th and 18th: The second research mission of the German Marine Research Alliance (DAM), “sustainMare” (“Protection and Sustainable Utilization of Marine Environments”) analyzes our utilization of seas and coasts. Rising sea levels, ocean warming and acidification, together with pollution and over-utilization of ecosystems are causing profound problems. Two pilot projects and five collaborative projects investigate the ecological, economic and social impacts of utilization and stressors on the North and Baltic Seas. The objective is to provide users and decision makers with recommendations for action.

Logo sustainmare

Source of food, energy provider, supplier of raw materials. Vacation destination and transportation route. Seas and coasts are used and exploited in a variety of ways. At the same time, they harbor unique biodiversity that is essential to the coastal ecosystem. SustainMare, the second DAM research mission began in December 2021 to study this range of topics. Over two hundred scientists will contribute to the mission. The focus lies in concepts and implementation for using seas and coastal regions in a manner that is oriented on the common good, on securing prosperity and on doing so in an environmentally friendly manner. In addition, they wish to assist in protecting biodiversity and natural habitats. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is supporting the mission with 25 million euros over an initial period of three years.

An Eye on the Coasts and Seas

satelite picture german coast

The DAM research mission takes a look at the use of Germany's coasts. Photo: Hereon/ Data from ESA MERIS

The effects of utilization and over-exploitation can reinforce each other and lead to ecological as well as societal crises. “The mission aims to analyze and classify utilization and stress on marine environments. Our fact-based scientific advice is meant to serve as a foundation for decision makers from the political, governmental and economic sectors,” explains professor Corinna Schrum, Director of the Hereon Institute of Coastal Systems – Analysis and Modeling. Schrum also serves as spokesperson for the mission. In addition, DAM aims to develop societal options for balanced utilization and sustainable protection that can only be developed by involving various stakeholders, user groups and the public.

SustainMare focuses on three topic areas. First: concepts for reducing the impacts of utilization and anthropogenic stressors on marine ecosystems and on biodiversity. Second: concepts for avoiding and reducing marine pollution. And third: model-based studies of future utilization scenarios as well as analyses of possible management options. Included are current problems such as utilization of alternative energy sources, contamination legacy left by munitions waste, and the fisheries crisis. The five projects (CREATE, iSeal, SpaCeParti, CONMAR and Coastal Futures together with the two pilot projects MGF North Sea and MGF Baltic Sea) form the research mission as a whole. In addition to coordinating the mission, the Helmholtz-Zentrum Hereon is also responsible for the CoastalFutures project.

The other projects are coordinated by: the Alfred Wegener Helmholtz Zentrum for Polar and Marine Research (MGF North Sea); the Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research, Warnemünde (MGF Baltic Sea); the Schleswig Holstein Agency for Coastal Protection, National Park and Marine Conservation (iSeal); the Christian Albrecht University Kiel (SpaCeParti); the Carl von Ossietzky University Oldenburg (CREATE); and the GEOMAR Helmholtz Zentrum for Ocean Research Kiel (CONMAR). Various scientific disciplines and experts from a total of more than forty institutes, government bodies and NGOs as well as other contributors work together closely on the sustainMare research mission.

Further Information


Kai Hoppe Coordination

Phone: +49 (0) 4152 87-1830

E-mail contact

Institute of Coastal Systems - Analysis and Modeling
Helmholtz-Zentrum Hereon

Christoph Wöhrle Press Officer

Phone: +49 (0)4152 87-1648

E-mail contact

Communication and Media
Helmholtz-Zentrum Hereon