Forecasts suggest that soon more than two-thirds of the world's population will either live in coastal areas or depend on the sea for their livelihood.
Increasing urbanization, unsparing use of natural resources and global climate change have dramatic effects on coastal ecosystems. These effects are particularly severe in areas with rapidly increasing economic development and high population growth, as in many countries of the tropics. Tropical coastal ecosystems such as mangroves, coral reefs or seagrass beds are among the most productive habitats on the planet and are of great economic and ecological importance.
The Leibniz Center for Tropical Marine Ecology aims to provide a scientific basis for the protection and sustainable use of tropical coastal ecosystems. Its activities are focused on three main areas:
Research: In close cooperation with partners in the tropics, the ZMT leads interdisciplinary projects concerning the structure and functioning of tropical coastal ecosystems and their response to human impacts and natural changes.
Capacity building: The ZMT is involved in the education of students and young scientists from all over the world in the field of tropical marine ecology. In tropical countries, it further supports capacity building within this field of research.
Consulting: The ZMT is both a national and international focal point for research, educational and government institutions for the exchange of expert knowledge in the field of tropical marine ecology.