Prof. Dr. Beate Ratter

Beate Ratter

Human Dimensions of Coastal Areas
Head of Department
Phone: +49 (0)4152 87-1527
Fax: +49 (0)4152 87-41527
E-mail contact

Professor Beate M.W. Ratter’s academic work is dedicated to the analysis of resource and environmental management strategies, including the perception of environment and nature within different regional cultures, particularly in coastal areas and on small islands. Her work places special emphasis on the awareness of nature/culture interaction, intercultural differences and the importance of public participation approaches in the development and adaptation of environmental management strategies and sustainable development. The theory of complexity and its paradigms of emergence, uncertainty and jumps of systems’ trajectories are used as general theoretical concepts. Her regional research expertise extends to both developing and developed countries, including Colombia, the Caribbean, Cuba, Guyana, Canada, Taiwan and the Wadden Sea area. Current research interests focus on climate proofing of sustainable development on coastal areas and small islands as well as risk perception and its impact on adaptation strategies in the context of global climate change.

She has been professor of Integrative Geography and Coastal Research at the University of Hamburg since 2007 and also heads the Department of Human Dimensions in Coastal Areas within the Institute of Coastal Research at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht. She is a longstanding executive committee member of the International Small Islands Association (ISISA) and of the Islands Study Group Steering Committee within the International Geographical Union (IGU).


  • liaison lecturer of Study Foundation of German people
  • Chairwoman Gender Task Force CliSAP
  • 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



Prof. Dr. Beate Ratter is part of the research project ENHANCE. Further information can be found here: Projects