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Knowledge for the sustainable use of coasts, seas and oceans

Oceans are essential for survival: for millions of species whose habitat they are, as well as for us humans. Connected by currents, the ocean forms the largest interconnected ecosystem in the world. In addition to its climate-regulating function, it is the basis of life for a growing world population and provides food, resources, transportation routes and jobs. In order to preserve the oceans as the basis of our lives, we need knowledge about the interaction between humans and the marine environment, the role of the oceans in climate change and the responsible use of the ocean. Developing this knowledge is the task of German marine research institutions.

The DAM pools the diverse topics of its members from marine research and makes them visible to the outside world. The aim is to provide solution-oriented knowledge as a basis for decisions in politics, business and civil society and thus to promote the sustainable management of coasts, seas and oceans. As diverse as the research projects and topics of marine research are, they can be summarized in the following categories:

 

The seas and oceans are home to millions of marine species – the essential “performers” of coastal, marine and ocean ecosystem services. They provide oxygen to breathe and food for more than one-third of humanity. If species are severely depleted or become extinct and thus lose their ecological functions, the consequences can be severe.

The ocean regulates the climate and slows global warming by absorbing a large part of the temperature generated by human-made greenhaous gas emissions. However, sea levels and water temperatures rise as a result, and the water is becoming more acidic – all of which has consequences, for marine life and humans alike.

Fish and other sea creatures are an important source of food for humans. In addition, there is the extraction of resources, the construction of plants for energy production and shipping traffic. In addition, more and more people are seeking recreation on cruises and along the coasts. Increasing use is putting pressure on marine ecosystems.

Increasing pollution from waste and harmful substances is putting a considerable strain on the oceans. Floods of plastic waste on the beaches or oily seabirds after a tanker accident are particularly visible. However, most environmental problems do not occur so openly, but far from the coast and hidden beneath the sea surface. Noise is also a serious threat to marine mammals. The DAM has produced a factsheet on the topic of “munitions in the sea (in German)”.

Humans have also created borders in the ocean and created zones where ownership of certain areas and their resources are regulated. But ocean currents transport water masses, living creatures, pollutants and waste across borders and into remote areas. Successful ocean management therefore requires collaborative solutions aimed at protecting and using the oceans sustainably.

Despite all the thematic freedom, marine researchers need structural conditions to be able to conduct effective research: for example, interdisciplinary research networks, a shared research fleet or tailored funding. In addition to university and non-university institutions involved in active marine research, partners from society and politics are also part of the research community.

Latest news by topic

Details on research topics and focal points as well as contact persons of the DAM member institutions can be found in our member overview.

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The federal government and the governments of the five northern German states support the current development and sponsor the DAM.