Modelling for the Assessment of Coastal Systems


NOAH - North Sea Observation and Assessment of Habitats


A project in the BMBF Framework Programme Research for Sustainable Development (FONA)

Human pressures on sea floors of the North Sea are mounting and require a thorough inventory of status and functions of this important ecosystem component. The NOAH project has gathered multidisciplinary expertise to construct a comprehensive habitat atlas that assesses sea floor state and functions, and establishes baselines against which environmental changes can be determined.
NOAH will develop a comprehensive geo-referenced inventory of seafloor properties in the German Bight of the North Sea by:

  • compiling, harmonising and mapping existing data with relevance to the distinction of seafloor habitats with respect to sedimentological, biogeochemical and biological properties and human pressures.
  • raising new data on the spatiotemporal variability of physical, sedimentological, chemical and biological seafloor properties from analyses of high-resolution model output and field observations targeting representative seafloor domains.
  • employing numerical models and spatial statistics to inter- and extrapolate key processes, functions and services of the benthic ecosystem from local observations of, for example, nutrient regeneration, bentho-pelagic coupling, pollutant sequestration sediment resuspension and biodiversity.
  • exploiting the “habitat atlas” with probabilistic expert systems for operational indicators of integrative assessments of seafloor state as well as the investigation of risks and threshold effects to key ecosystem services under different future climate and marine spatial management scenarios.

The NOAH project is one of five collaborating R&D-projects that are committed to the “Coastal Research Agenda for the North Sea and Baltic Sea”. The 3 year project started in April 2013, has 8 national partners and is coordinated by the Helmholtz Zentrum Geesthacht.

more information about the NOAH project

WIMO - Synopsis

Wimo Logo

In view of new EU directives, the joint research project WIMO is developing innovative scientific monitoring concepts for the model region German Bight. Two ministries in Lower Saxony, the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Protection as well as the Ministry of Science and Culture, are financing the project in equal parts.

Within WIMO important issues of marine monitoring will be researched in close cooperation with the responsible authorities. The joint research project is aimed at providing methods of exploring seabed habitats, detecting and analysing the dynamics of suspended solids as well as forming a comprehensive representation and assessment of biodiversity, sensitivity to oil and eutrophication.

Therefor, conventional sampling and measurements in situ will be combined with modern remote sensing techniques and complemented by integrative modeling. The overarching aspect of the project is to deal with the methodological uncertainties in an appropriate way.

WIMO is a partnership between an array of research institutes as well as state agencies (including the national park administration of Lower Saxony’s Wadden Sea) and steered by the WIMO project office at the Hanse-Wissenschaftskolleg, Institute for Advanced Study (HWK).

more information about the WIMO project