The main research focus of the working group “Coastal Geology” of the AWI Wadden Sea Research Station Sylt is the mapping, surveying and assessment of sediment distribution, bedforms and biogenic structures, such as mussel beds. The aim of our investigation is the improved understanding of dynamic and spatial changes in marine, benthic ecosystems. In recent years, new ship-borne methodological approaches and classification techniques, relying on the acoustic back-scatter characteristics of the sea floor, have been developed in order to obtain area-wide information on sediment properties. In addition to the assessment of the modern state, we explore the use of sedimentary archives as a source of information to improve our understanding of the postglacial formation and long-term evolution of the coastal zone. Key areas of investigation are the open North Sea, the near-coastal waters offshore Sylt, and the Wadden Sea of the Sylt-Rømø Bight.