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Long-term ecological research at Helgoland

The island of Helgoland with its Biological station (Biologische Anstalt Helgoland) has a long tradition in Long-term ecological research.

The first temperature and salinity data were collected in 1873 and the first macroalgal data sets were also generated in the 19th century. While it is not feasible to carry out high frequency monitoring on rocky shores, the same sites have been re-sampled many times and now provide a history of macroalgal diversity and the changes it has undergone since the first measurements long ago. The fact that the rocky shores around Helgoland represent virtually the only extensive rocky shore habitat in Germany makes these data all the more valuable.

Less extensive in temporal coverage but sampled at a high, work-daily, frequency is the Helgoland Roads phytoplankton data set which was started in 1962. Since 1974 the zooplankton has also  been investigated thrice weekly. This is one of the most detailed phytoplankton data sets in the world and one of the longest uninterrupted data series in Europe.  However the plankton data do not only cover the eukaryotes. A unique data series of bacterial counts has also been established in 1962.

All plankton counts are accompanied by data of the physico-chemical parameters. The different data series are described in more detail on the following pages.

Helgoland LTER data in the online data repository PANGAEA

The research related to our long-term data is carried out in the context of the AWIs 'Coast topic' of the AWIs research programme PACES. As such researchers at Helgoland collaborate closely with colleagues at the Waddensea station Sylt, who also hold valuable long-term datasets.

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Responsible for data sets:

Phytoplankton: K. Wiltshire

Zooplankton: M. Boersma

Bacteria: G. Gerdts

Macrofauna: Heinz-Dieter Franke