How will marine ecosystems develop in the future? How will ecosystem goods and services change under the simultaneous influence of climate change and anthropogenic needs, and how can this usage be made sustainable?
The Marine Ecosystems research group deals with the ecological foundations of exploitation processes of marine ecosystems and transfers results from their work into societal decision making processes. Focal areas of work are investigations of trends and spatial and migrational patterns of fish communities, diversity studies in fish and plankton communities, analysis of food web interactions and carbon flow in marine ecosystems, quantification of environmental and human impacts and the development of integrated assessment tools for ecosystem based management of human activities in the sea.
Preparing for the future means learning from the past. Hence, next to data obtained through process and field studies during the last decades, historical data are of eminent importance to evaluate changes in ecosystems. For the North Sea, historical data reach back to 1902, and for the North Atlantic, data are available since the 1960's. We participate in international research programs and long-term monitoring activities in North Atlantic and North Sea, reaching from Greenland and Svalbard to the equatorial region.