Long-term observation

Helgoland Roads

The Helgoland Roads time-series, located at the island of Helgoland in the German Bight, approximately 60 km off the German mainland (54 11'N 7 54'E), is one of the richest temporal marine datasets available. The data set comprises a phytoplankton time series (started in 1962 and sampled daily) and a zooplankton time series (started in 1975 and sampled three times a week) along with time series for inorganic nutrients, salinity and temperature and several shorter time series (e.g. Chlorophyll and other data from ferrybox systems).

The high sampling frequency of the Helgoland Roads time series has provided a unique opportunity to study long-term trends in abiotic and biotic parameters, but also ecological phenomena, such as seasonal interactions between different food web components, niche properties, and the dynamics and timing of the spring bloom. It has also facilitated close examination of the dynamics of new species appearing in the local ecosystem.

Raw data and data products are shown in the dashborad Helgoland Roads.


The AWI operates an underwater experimental area and test facility off Helgoland. The 270 x 80 m large underwater area is designed for AWI researches and external partners to conduct in situ experiments and expose sensor units for shorter and longer periods at an underwater node system which provides power and full remote access and control via the Internet. Basic hydrographical parameters from the area are provided (temperature, salinity, depth, tide, turbidity, oxygen, chl-a fluorescence, 3D-current) in near real time (about 1 h delay) as well as year round scientific dive support by the AWI centre for scientific diving. 

Sylt Roads

The Sylt Roads time series is closely related to the Helgoland Roads time series and comprises an almost identical parameter set. Sylt Roads was initiated in 1974 and is still ongoing. Its main station located in the Sylt-Rømø bight close to List/Sylt (55.030000N; 8.460000E) is generally sampled twice a week. Two other stations (Entrance Koenigshafen 55.038300N; 8.438300E and Ferry Terminal 55.015530N; 55.015530E) are sporadically sampled depending on tide and weather conditions.

The measured parameters comprise phytoplankton, zooplankton, water temperature, salinity, pH, Chlorophyll a and nutrient (N, P, Si) analyses. The plankton time-series is augmented by the biological parameters gelatinous zooplankton, meroplankton, primary productivity, fish monitoring, macroalgae, macro- and microzoobenthos providing a unique opportunity to investigate long-term changes at an ecosystem scale.

Raw data and data products are shown in the dashboard Sylt Roads.