The good, the bad and the ugly – integrated assessment of the marine environment


Integrated assessment means that from the multitude of available  marine monitoring information, individual results can be  condensed to one overarching assessment. To do this you have to know precisely what should be measured (indicators of status and pressures), where the threshold separates  „good“ and „not good“ (assessment criteria) and which strategy will integrate all results (integration strategy).

The Thünen Institute contributes actively to this process together with national and international colleagues: We collect data, calculate reference values for biodiversity and for commercial fish species, assess the integrity of the sea floor and define new threshold levels for contaminants. Even existing indicators are reviewed critically. Our goal is to establish a valid assessment framework for the status of the marine environment. All aspects together form a picture of the status of the marine ecosystem and help to answer the question of whether „good environmental status“ has been archived in a sea region as required by the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD).

Assessing the status of European seas in an integrated way – the ecosystem based approach – is, in short, the core idea of the MSFD. Our experts play a major part in the implementation of this directive in Germany.