Coastal Ecology

Coastal Science at the AWI (mainly the Sections CE and SSSE) specifically addresses Earth System needs, whereby overarching issues relevant to PACES are exemplified by the following facts:

  • roughly 70% of all humans will live at a coast by 2070 (UNEP 2016)
  • 12-15% of the population relies on fisheries/aquaculture (FAO 2016)
  • tourism is the world's largest industry - a coastal industry (UNEP 2009/13)
  • artificial surfaces in European coasts/catchments increase at >190 km2 per year (EEA 2013).



AWI Coastal Areas of Research

Fig. 1: The global areas Coastal Science covers in PACES (Graphic: AWI)

The Coastal Ecology Section (CES) specifically addresses questions in the Pelagic North Sea with an emphasis on intertidal regions, benthic habitat and geology/ particulate matter, Ecological systems at the Ice Edge in glacier and permafrost coastal regions.
Our science is both stakeholder and curiosity driven.


CE Section structure and delivery to PACES

Fig. 2: Section Structure showing section research emphases 1-3, networked topics (center triangle) and the collaboration with stakeholders in green. (Graphic: AWI)

Karen H. Wiltshire is Topic Speaker for Topic 2.

The current set up of the Coastal Ecology Section exists since 2015.

To maximize interactive networking three scientific topics are pivotal to the section (see Figure 2):

  1. The structure and function of the Wadden Sea and comparable areas
  2. The evolution and adaptation of organisms in  changing intertidal environments
  3. Habitat change and long term ecosystem shifts.

We currently have identified three major collaborative areas of expertise within the section:

  • “Bio-Geological habitat interactions”
  • “Environment and Evolution
  • “Coastal FESOM”.

The expertise from the scientific research feeds directly into the stakeholder oriented part of the section.



We investigate the structure and function of coastal systems in terms of changing environmental conditions. We provide scientific and stakeholder expertise on Wadden Sea, North Sea and polar coastal interfaces.

Collaboration (PACES)

We collaborate closely with AWI sections: Climate Dynamics, Paleo-Climate Dynamics, Periglacial Research, Marine Geochemistry, Chemical Ecology, Functional Ecology, Shelf Sea Systems Ecology. This includes such Networking as REKLIM, FESOM, LENA DELTA research, MERCES, Nordsee Büro, MOSES, Long Term Ocean Change, Plastics Research, Benthic Atlas of the North Sea etc.
The emphasis of all these collaborations is in Topic 2 Workpackages 1 though 4. Topic 4 is the PACES link for the stakeholder interactions and in terms of Climate and Polar Research in Topic 3.

Scientific output (papers) and PACES

The table underneath shows the distribution of papers related to the different Topics and Workpackages/Topics.
All the Stakeholder interactive scientific contributions to Topic 4 are given in the sections above.
Notably the classical scientific output (96 ISI papers) is mainly in Topic 2 relating to coastal research in PACES and that this output is evenly distributed between the AWI related Workpackages 1 through 4.
This reflects the structure of the section and shows clearly that we have optimized foci and little fragmentation. This is important as the section is small and just newly set up.

Year Title Journal CoastalEcology Authors Topic Workpackage
2013 Parasites Affect Food Web Structure Primarily through Increased Diversity and Complexity PLoS Biology Karsten Reise 2 2
2013 Atlantic Water advection versus sea-ice advances in the eastern Fram Strait during the last 9 ka: Multiproxy evidence for a two-phase Holocene Palaeoceanography Christian Hass 1 3
2013 Parasites as prey in aquatic food webs: implications for predator infection and parasite transmission Oikos Karsten Reise 2 2
2013 Disturbance induced decoupling between host genetics and composition of the associated microbiome BMC Microbiology Mathias Wegner 2 3
2013 Relative contribution of reproductive investment, thermal stress and Vibrio infection to summer mortality phenomena in Pacific oysters Aquaculture Carolin Wendling, Mathias Wegner 2 3
2013 Globalization pressure and habitat change: Pacific rocky shore crabs invade armored shorelines in the Atlantic Wadden Sea Aquatic Invasions Dagmar Lackschewitz, Karsten Reise 2 1
2013 Persisting intertidal seagrass beds in the northern Wadden Sea since the 1930s Journal of Sea Research Tobias Dolch, Christian Buschbaum, Karsten Reise 2 1
2013 Parasites in the Wadden Sea food web Journal of Sea Research Carolin Wendling, Mathias Wegner 2 2
2013 Do burrowing callianassid shrimp control the lower boundary of tropical seagrass beds? Journal of Experimental and Marine Biology Dominik Kneer, Harald Asmus 2 2
2013 Phytoplankton community structure in the Lena Delta (Siberia, Russia) in relation to hydrography Biogeosciences Karen Wiltshire 2 box
2013 Sedimentological and Rheological Properties of the Water-Solid Bed Interface in the Weser and Ems Estuaries, North Sea, Germany: Implications for Fluid Mud Classification Journal of Coastal Research Svenja Papenmeier 2 4
2013 Contribution to a bio-optical model for remote sensing of Lena River water Biogeosciences Karen Wiltshire 2 box
2013 Feeding interactions between the introduced ctenophore Mnemiopsis leidyi and juvenile herring Clupea harengus in the Wadden Sea Biological Invasions Florian Kellnreiter, Moritz Pockberger, Harald Asmus, Ragnhild Asmus 2 2
2013 Large variation in mitochondrial DNA of sexual and parthenogenetic Dahlica triquetrella (Lepidoptera: Psychidae) shows multiple origins of parthenogenesis BMC Evolutionary Biology Lisa Shama 2 3
2013 The mean function provides robustness to linear inverse modelling flow estimation in food webs: A comparison of functions derived from statistics and ecological theories Ecological Modelling Ragnhild Asmus, Harald Asmus 2 2
2013 Large scale architecture of a stacked Holocene spit - the stratigraphy of northern Sylt (southern North Sea) Zeitschrift der deutschen Gesellschaft für Geowissenschaften Christian Hass 2 4
2013 Stable coexistence in a Lotka-Volterra model with heterogeneous resources and intraguild predation Physical Review E Karen Wiltshire 2 2
2014 Transgenerational plasticity in marine sticklebacks: maternal effects mediate impacts of a warming ocean Functional Ecology Lisa Shama, Mathias Wegner 2 3
2014 Persistence, Seasonal Dynamics and Pathogenic Potential of Vibrio Communities from Pacific Oyster Hemolymph PLoS One Carolin Wendling, Mathias Wegner 2 2
2014 Nonlinear effects of temperature on body form and developmental canalization in the threespine stickleback Journal of Evolutionary Biology Lisa Shama, Mathias Wegner 2 3
2014 Within- and transgenerational effects of ocean acidification on life history of marine three-spined stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus) Marine Biology Franziska Schade, Mathias Wegner 2 3
2014 Impact of thermal stress on evolutionary trajectories of pathogen resistance in three-spined stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus) BMC Evolutionary Biology Franziska Schade, Lisa Shama, Mathias Wegner 2 3
2014 Male mate choice relies on major histocompatibility complex class I in a sex-role-reversed pipefish Journal of Evolutionary Biology Mathias Wegner 2 3
2014 Distribution and characteristics of marine habitats in a subpolar bay based on hydroacoustics and bed shear stress estimates-Potter Cove, King George Island, Antarctica Geo-Marine Letters Anne Wölfl, Christian Hass 2 4
2014 Distribution of benthic marine invertebrates at northern latitudes - An evaluation applying multi-algorithm species distribution models Journal of Sea Research Dario Fiorentino 2 4
2014 Succession in intertidal mussel bed assemblages on different shores: species mobility matters Marine Ecology Progress Series Christian Buschbaum 2 2
2014 Assessment of North Sea phytoplankton via molecular sensing: a method evaluation Journal of Plankton Research  Karen Wiltshire 2 1
2014 Composition and distribution of selected munnopsid genera (Crustacea, Isopoda, Asellota) in Icelandic waters Deep Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Studies Dario Fiorentino 2 2
2014 Transitions in sandflat biota since the 1930s: effects of sea-level rise, eutrophication and biological globalization in the tidal bay Konigshafen, northern Wadden Sea Helgoland Marine Research Juliane Schumacher, Tobias Dolch, Karsten Reise 2 1
2014 Coping with persistent environmental problems: systemic delays in reducing eutrophication of the Baltic Sea Ecology and Society Tobias Doch 2 1
2014 Predicting spatial kelp abundance in shallow coastal waters using the acoustic ground discrimination system RoxAnn Estuarine Coastal & Shelf Science Finn Mielck, Christian Hass, Anne Wölfl 2 4
2014 Facilitation of intraguild prey by its intraguild predator in a three-species Lotka-Volterra model Theoretical Population Biology Karen Wiltshire 2 2
2014 Unravelling interactions between salt marsh evolution and sedimentary processes in the Wadden Sea (southeastern North Sea) Progress in Physical Geography Tobias Dolch, Karsten Reise 2 1
2014 Performance of absorption coefficient measurements for the in situ determination of chlorophyll-a and total suspended matter Journal of Experimental and Marine Biology Karen Wiltshire 2 1
2014 High-Resolution Hydroacoustic Seafloor Classification of Sandy Environments in the German Wadden Sea Journal of Coastal Research Finn Mielck, Christian Hass 2 4
2014 Temperature effects on aggregation during a spring diatom bloom Limnology & Oceanography Karen Wiltshire 2 2
2014 A survey of ciliates at the long-term sampling station "Helgoland Roads", North Sea Helgoland Marine Research Karen Wiltshire 2 1
2014 An abundant small sized fish as keystone species? The effect of Pomatoschistus microps on food webs and its trophic role in two intertidal benthic communities: A modeling approach Journal of Sea Research Florian Kellnreiter, Moritz Pockberger, Harald Asmus, Ragnhild Asmus 2 2
2014 Over time and space changing characteristics of estuarine suspended particles in the German Weser and Elbe estuaries Journal of Sea Research Svenja Papenmeier 2 1
2014 Kite aerial photography (KAP) as a tool for field teaching Journal of Geography Higher Education Lasse Sander 4
2014 The seaward limit of wave effects on coastal macrobenthos Helgoland Marine Research Werner Armonies, Monika Hellwig-Armonies, Chrisitan Buschbaum 2 1
2014 Microbial predators promote their competitors: commensalism within an intra-guild predation system in microzooplankton Ecosphere Karen Wiltshire 2 2
2014 Characterization of a humic acid extracted from marine sediment and its influence on the growth of marine diatoms Journal of the Marine Biological Society of the UK Karen Wiltshire 2 4
2014 Influence of Triangular Club-Rush Schoenoplectus triqueter on the Macrobenthic Community of the Hangzhou Bay, China Wetlands Hung Liu, Harald Asmus, Ragnhild Asmus 2 2
2015 Grandparental effects in marine sticklebacks: transgenerational plasticity across multiple generations Journal of Evolutionary Biology Lisa Shama, Mathias Wegner 2 3
2015 Hemolymph microbiome of Pacific oysters in response to temperature, temperature stress and infection ISME Journal Ana Lokmer, Mathias Wegner 2 3
2015 Adaptation to enemy shifts: rapid resistance evolution to local Vibrio spp. in invasive Pacific oysters Proceedings Royal Society B Carolin Wendling, Mathias Wegner 2 2
2015 Trophic networks: How do theories link ecosystem structure and functioning to stability properties? A review Ecological Indicators Ragnhild Asmus, Harald Asmus 2 2
2015 The emergence of Vibrio pathogens in Europe: ecology, evolution, and pathogenesis (Paris, 11-12th March 2015) Frontiers in Microbiology Mathias Wegner 2 2
2015 Castaways can't be choosers - Homogenization of rafting assemblages on floating seaweeds Journal of Sea Research Christian Buschbaum 2 2
2015 Impact of seawater carbonate chemistry on the calcification of marine bivalves Biogeosciences Mathias Wegner 2 3
2015 Time is an affliction: Why ecology cannot be as predictive as physics and why it needs time series Journal of Sea Research Karen Wiltshire 2 1
2015 Bet hedging in a warming ocean: predictability of maternal environment shapes offspring size variation in marine sticklebacks Global Change Biology Lisa Shama 2 3
2015 Analysis of phytoplankton distribution and community structure in the German Bight with respect to the different size classes Journal of Sea Research Karen Wiltshire 2 1
2015 Changes in Holocene relative sea-level and coastal morphology: A study of a raised beach ridge system on Sams phi, southwest Scandinavia Holocene Lasse Sander 2 4
2015 Control of phytoplankton in a shelf sea: Determination of the main drivers based on the Helgoland Roads Time Series Journal of Sea Research Karen Wiltshire 2 1
2015 Long-term change in the copepod community in the southern German Bight Journal of Sea Research Karen Wiltshire 2 1
2015 Diversity and seasonality of Pseudo-nitzschia (Peragallo) at two North Sea time-series monitoring sites Helgoland Marine Research Karen Wiltshire 2 1
2015 Sedimentary indications and absolute chronology of Holocene relative sea-level changes retrieved from coastal lagoon deposits on Samso, Denmark Boreas Lasse Sander 2 4
2015 Interannual variability of sorted bedforms in the coastal German Bight (SE North Sea) Continental Shelf Research Finn Mielck, Christian Hass 2 4
2015 Special section on The changing North Sea: Taking stock Journal of Sea Research Karen Wiltshire 2 1
2015 Structural composition and temporal variation of the ciliate community in relation to environmental factors at Helgoland Roads, North Sea Journal of Sea Research Karen Wiltshire 2 1
2015 Impact of wind and tides on the Lena River freshwater plume dynamics in the summer season Ocean Dynamics Karen Wiltshire 2 box
2015 Factors influencing the grazing response of the marine oligotrichous ciliate Strombidium cf. sulcatum Aquatic Microbial Ecology Karen Wiltshire 2 2
2015 EFFECTS OF WARMING AND ACIDIFICATION ON A BENTHIC COMMUNITY IN THE BALTIC SEA - KIEL BENTHOCOSMS European Journal of Phycology Andreas Pansch, Harald Asmus, Ragnhild Asmus 2 5
2015 Elevation Trends in Wide Beach-Ridge Systems Retrieved from Landsat Images and the SRTM Digital Surface Model Journal of Coastal Research Lasse Sander 2 4
2016 Global impacts of the 1980s regime shift Global Change Biology Karen Wiltshire 2 1
2016 Temporal shift in biomass and production of macrozoobenthos in the macroalgal belt at Hansneset, Kongsfjorden, after 15 years Polar Biology Martin Paar, Ragnhild Asmus, Harald Asmus 1
2016 Projecting effects of climate change on marine systems: is the mean all that matters? Proceedings Royal Society B Karen Wiltshire 3
2016 Zooplankton eat what they need: copepod selective feeding and potential consequences for marine systems Oikos Karen Wiltshire 2 2
2016 Biological invasions and host-parasite coevolution: different coevolutionary trajectories along separate parasite invasion fronts Zoology Marieke Feis, Christian Buschbaum, Mathias Wegner 2 2
2016 Do bioturbation and consumption affect coastal Arctic marine soft-bottom communities? Polar Biology Sina Petrowsky, Christian Buschbaum 2 2
2016 Coastal lagoons and beach ridges as complementary sedimentary archives for the reconstruction of Holocene relative sea-level changes Terra Nova Lasse Sander 2 4
2016 Transgenerational effects persist down the maternal line in marine sticklebacks: gene expression matches physiology in a warming ocean Evolutionary Applications Lisa Shama, Ana Lokmer, Mathias Wegner 2 3
2016 The role of tissue-specific microbiota in initial establishment success of Pacific oysters Environmental Microbiology Ana Lokmer, Mathias Wegner 2 3
2016 Disturbance effects of kelp thalli on structure and diversity of a coastal Arctic marine soft-bottom assemblage Polar Biology Sina Petrowsky, Christian Buschbaum 2 4
2016 Coastal landforms and the Holocene evolution of the Island of Samso, Denmark Journal of Maps Lasse Sander 2 4
2016 Parasites and marine invasions: Ecological and evolutionary perspectives Journal of Sea Research Marieke Feis, Christian Buschbaum, Mathias Wegner 2 3
2016 Seasonal variation in parasite infection patterns of marine fish species from the Northern Wadden Sea in relation to interannual temperature fluctuations Journal of Sea Research Franziska Schade, Mathias Wegner 2 2
2016 Oysters and Vibrios as a Model for Disease Dynamics in Wild Animals Trends in Microbiology Mathias Wegner 2 2
2016 Recurring patterns in bacterioplankton dynamics during coastal spring algae blooms eLife Karen Wiltshire 2 1
2016 Short-Term Dynamics of North Sea Bacterioplankton-Dissolved Organic Matter Coherence on Molecular Level Frontiers in Microbiology Karen Wiltshire 2 1
2016 Spatial and Temporal Dynamics of Pacific Oyster Hemolymph Microbiota across Multiple Scales Frontiers in Microbiology Ana Lokmer, Dario Fiorentino, Mathias Wegner 2 1
2016 Ecology and evolution of marine parasites and diseases: International NIOZ-AWI symposium, 10-14 March 2014, Texel, The Netherlands Journal of Sea Research Mathias Wegner 2 3
2016 Deeply hidden inside introduced biogenic structures - Pacific oyster reefs reduce detrimental barnacle overgrowth on native blue mussels Journal of Sea Research Christian Buschbaum, Annika Cornelius 2 2
2016 Submarine landforms related to glacier retreat in a shallow Antarctic fjord Antarctic Science Anne Wölfl, Nina Wittenberg, Christian Hass 2 4
2016 Glacial melting: an overlooked threat to Antarctic krill Scientific Reports Anne Wölfl, Christian Hass 2 2
2016 Do drivers of biodiversity change differ in importance across marine and terrestrial systems - Or is it just different research communities' perspectives? Science of the Total Environment Ragnhild Asmus, Harald Asmus 2 1
2016 Seasonal Variation of Harbor Seal's Diet from the Wadden Sea in Relation to Prey Availability PLoS One Camille de la Vega, Harald Asmus, Ragnhild Asmus 2 2
2016 Tidal benthic mesocosms simulating future climate change scenarios in the field of marine ecology L&O: Methods Andreas Pansch, Harald Asmus, Ragnhild Asmus 2 5
2016 Pollen limitation may be a common Allee effect in marine hydrophilous plants: implications for decline and recovery in seagrasses Oecologia Ragnhild Asmus, Petra Kadel 2 5
2016 Consensus forecasting of intertidal seagrass habitat in the Wadden Sea Journal of Applied Ecology Tobias Doch 4
2016 Date-prints on stranded macroplastics: Inferring the timing and extent of overwash deposition on the Skallingen peninsula, Denmark Marine Pollution Bulletin Lasse Sander 2 4

Section Head

Prof. Dr. Karen Helen Wiltshire


Andrea Zeußel

Heike Stoldt

Rasha Bamatraf (Section Assistant)