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Prof. Dr. Beate Ratter

Beate Ratter

Prof. Dr. Beate Ratter

Human Dimensions of Coastal Areas

Head of Department

Phone: +49 (0)4152 87-1527

E-mail contact

Prof. Dr. Beate M.W. Ratter, Professor of Geography at the University of Hamburg and Head of the Department Human Dimensions in Coastal Areas at the Institute of Coastal Research, Helmholtz-Zentrum Hereon

Beate Ratter studied geography, political science and ethnology at the Universities of Tübingen and Hamburg and received her doctorate on the subject of globalisation and regional culture in Caribbean islands. Her habilitation thesis dealt with complexity theory and adaptive resource management in Southern Ontario, Canada. Ms. Ratter was a visiting researcher at McGill University, Montreal/Canada, and a visiting professor at the Institute of Geography and Applied Geoinformatics, University of Salzburg/Austria, at the Universidad Nacional, Sede San Andrés/Colombia and at the National Taiwan Normal University, Taipei/Taiwan. She worked as project manager for the WWF for the protection of the trilateral Wadden Sea in Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands. From 2002 to 2007 she was professor for intercultural studies at the Institute of Geography of the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz and since 2007 she is responsible for Integrative Geography at the Institute of Geography of the University of Hamburg. She is Vice President of the International Small Island Studies Association (ISISA) and on the Steering Committee of the Study Group Islands, International Geographical Union (IGU).

Beate Ratter's research focuses on resource analysis. Regional development and management strategies in different regional cultures. Special emphasis is placed on the analysis of perception and awareness of nature, natural events and risks in different regional cultures and their consideration as well as the participation of the affected population in the development of adapted sustainable management concepts. Beate Ratter gained regional research experience in industrialised and non-industrialised countries, including Canada, Colombia, the Caribbean Islands, Cuba, Guyana, Maldives, Taiwan and the European Wadden Sea region. Current research focuses on integrated coastal zone management and the socio-economic aspects of climate change as well as adaptation strategies and risk management in coastal areas and small islands. The aim is to use innovative research approaches to develop answers to questions of resilience, vulnerability and adaptability of coastal systems. The coastal zone as a space of interaction between land, coast and sea comprises, varying according to the issue at hand, a space that considers the entire "land-water continuum" including its social components. The background is formed by the advancing global climate changes and the increasing economic and cultural globalisation.


  • Vicepresident ISISA (International Small Islands Studies Association)
  • Member of the Steering Committee of the International Geographical Union (IGU) Study Group Islands
  • Member International Geographical Union (IGU) Study Group Geomorphology and Society
  • Member of International Editorial Board: Journal of Geographical Research, eds. Department of Geography, National Taiwan Normal University, Taipei, Taiwan
  • socio-economic coastal research
  • climate change and society
  • complexity theory
  • human/nature-interaction and resource management
  • cultural relevance in sustainable spatial planning

CLICCS – C3 - Sustainable Adaptation Scenarios for Coastal Systems

Cliccs Research topic

In the project "Sustainable Adaptation Scenarios for Coastal Systems" regional aspects of social climate adaptation are investigated. Social and natural scientists are investigating, among other things, how to deal with extreme events such as storm surges and storms on small islands and along the coast.
Website CLICCS - C3


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Extreme North Sea storm surges and their possible effects. In the project, the interaction of the individual factors such as storm surge, storms, heavy rain and other findings will be investigated. The aim is to find out to what extent extraordinary constellations, which have not occurred so far, are conceivable, which could lead to storm surges with corresponding effects that have not occurred so far.

WAKOS - Water at the east frisian coast

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Water and the associated natural hazards pose major challenges in the project region, both in the short term in risk management and in the long term in precautionary measures for adaptation to climate change. Processes such as the expected sea level rise, storm surges, heavy rainfall events, drainage or groundwater recharge and saltwater intrusion are decisive factors, the knowledge of which is a prerequisite for building up decision-relevant knowledge on climate change in the region.
Website WAKOS

REKLIM Project climate-fit

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With the education and learning offer developed, the project aims to strengthen the participants of the courses in their role as important multipliers in municipal climate protection and for the change of our society and to network them. Different levels of actors and knowledge as well as different expertise will be specifically linked. The project makes an important contribution to strengthening the decision-making, participation, action and design competence in important questions of climate protection and climate adaptation.
Website REKLIM / climate-fit