CONNECT Subproject of CREATE

Project of the DAM Mission sustainMare

Project duration 2021-2024

CREATE (Concepts for Reducing the Effects of Anthropogenic pressures and uses on marine Ecosystems and on Biodiversity) integrates 32 experts from 15 institutions to provide solution-oriented knowledge for policymakers, businesses, and civil society as the scientific basis for policy and societal decision-making processes related to the protection and sustainable use of coastal and marine areas.

Overall goals

  • Development of solution-oriented actions to reduce cumulative impacts on biodiversity in three living labs (Sylter Außenriff, Borkum Riffgrund, Eckenförder Bucht) involving a broad group of stakeholders.
  • Provide bio-geo-physical data and modelling to improve the assessment and management of coastal ecosystems through the living labs.
  • Providing social science analysis of formal and informal local governance structures and their embedding in national, European and international policies.

Focusing on work package 2.3 we are investigating new methods for evaluating the effectiveness and connectivity of marine protected areas, using ecological key species (e.g. the native European oyster Ostrea edulis, the European lobster Homarus gammarus) as model organisms.

We are investigating

  • physiological quality of Ostrea edulis in relation to habitat integrity.
  • the effects of climate-induced changes on the performance of larvae, juveniles and adults using biochemical methods and life history traits (e.g. lifespan and growth).
  • dispersal patterns of larvae and create connectivity maps, based on biophysical parameters and species distribution.
  • non-invasive methods for associated biodiversity assessments.

On this basis, recommendations for optimized conservation and restoration measures for habitats, key species and ecosystem services can be elaborated.

Coastal and marine environments provide essential supporting, regulating, provisioning and cultural ecosystem services. Anthropogenic stressors such as nutrient input from agriculture, pollution, sediment dumping, and user pressures such as navigation, tourism and renewable energies frequently contradict conservation goals. Climate change effects, such as rising temperatures, deoxygenation and acidification act as cumulative stressors and pose a serious risk to marine environments, society, and economies by threatening the biological and functional integrity of ecosystems. The identification of sustainable solutions among stakeholders is a key challenge.


  • All activities in CREATE follow a transdisciplinary approach through the explicit involvement of stakeholders of the different forms of use before, during and after the project lifetime.
  • Regional focus on living labs to actively involve all stakeholders in the design process.
  • Bundling of interdisciplinary expertise from a broad spectrum of university and non-university institutions.
  • The transformative and transdisciplinary approach is suitable for promoting young scientists in solution-oriented marine research.





Dr. Bernadette Pogoda (Deputy Subproject Management)

Dr. Luis Gimenez

Dr. Vera Fofonova

M.Sc. Dominique Noetzel (PhD student)

Cooperation Partners:

Prof. Dr. Inna Sokolova (University Rostock)

Dr. Anne Sell (Thünen Institut, Subproject Management)

Dr. Anna Akimova (Thünen Institut)

Dr. Silke Lackmann (HIFMB)

The "CREATE" project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) under the funding code 03F0910A.