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Prof. Dr. Kai Wirtz

Kai Wirtz

Prof. Dr. Kai Wirtz

Ecosystem Modeling

Head of Department

Phone: +49 (0)4152 87-1513

E-mail contact

News and Press Releases

My research is based on the idea that we can understand the dynamics of complex environmental systems such as coastal ecosystems through relatively simple regularities. The identification of such regularities using large data sets and newly developed modeling techniques still dominates my work today. Using these, often in realistic coupled physical-biological simulations, my team and I attempt to estimate the response of marine nearshore ecosystems to multiple changes from human uses and climate.

My research focuses on
- biological adaptation and its quantitative description (via "traits")
- planktonic organisms as the basis of the marine food web
- the interaction of ecology, biogeochemistry and physics on the seafloor
- the modeling of social processes and human-environment interaction


2009Accredited manager degree of the Helmholtz-Akademie
2005Habilitation, University of Oldenburg
1998Doctoral degree, University of Kassel
1994Diploma (Physics), University of Oldenburg

Research Experience

2004Dept. Head at Institute of Coastal Research, Hereon
Professor at the CAU Kiel
2003–2004Head of Junior Reasearch Group IMPULSE at the ICBM Oldenburg
1999–2002Postdoc at the Institute for Marine Chemistry and Biology (ICBM) Oldenburg
1998–1999Research Assistant at the Terramare Wilhelmshaven
1997Paternity leave
1994–1996Centre for Environmental Research at the University of Kassel

Funding (only most recent)

2016–2018BIOACID Synthesis (BMBF)
2015–2018DYNATRAIT (Trait-based plankton modeling, DFG)
2013–2019MOSSCO (Modular System for Shelves and Coasts, BMBF) Coordinator
2020–2023MuSSeLS (Multiple Stressors on North Sea Life, BMBF) Coordinator

Professional Activities and Memberships

2013Member of German coordination board for coastal research
2009–2015Member of the the executive board of the coastal observatory COSYNA
2008–2018Member of the Kiel Excellence Cluster Future Ocean
2006–2019Head of the programmatic research in coastal ecology at Hereon
since 2017