Senckenberg am Meer

Wilhelmshaven, Hamburg

The research institute Senckenberg am Meer is a centre of worldwide biological and geological coastal and marine research with working areas from the North Sea coast to the deep sea and from the tropics to the polar regions. We study the impacts and risks of today’s environmental changes on marine ecosystems, their habitats and on changes in biodiversity with a broad spectrum of methods. Our expertise also includes the interpretation of biosphere crises in the geological past and has a focus on biogeographical distribution patterns of selected species using state-of-the-art molecular genetic methods.

The institute is led by Prof. Dr. Pedro Martínez Arbizu and consists of two departments, Marine Research (MEFO) and the German Centre for Marine Biodiversity Research (DZMB), which has a location in Wilhelmshaven as well as Hamburg. Core competences of the 70 staff members are relevant to society e.g. in the fields of benthic and plankton long-term studies to characterise (supra-) regional climate and biodiversity changes, neobiota screening, geo-ecological biosedimentary systems, such as oyster reefs and deep-water coral reefs on seamounts and along continental margins, sediment dynamics, as well as in the assessment of environmental impacts and risks in deep-sea mining. In addition, Senckenberg am Meer has rich expertise in the field of taxonomy, using modern molecular and proteomic methods.

Major international projects play just as important a role for the scientists as the close networking with other marine research institutions in northern Germany and other Senckenberg research areas, such as the Department of Marine Zoology and Palaeontology and Historical Geology as well as the Senckenberg Natural History Collections Dresden. The research infrastructure, such as the research vessel “SENCKENBERG”, is an elementary platform for carrying out our studies.

In addition, Senckenberg am Meer conducts teaching at universities and special training courses, advises industry and authorities on the assessment of the ecological state of our marine ecosystems and brings its own research results to the public in various formats.


Current research from the region – dry as dust and incomprehensible? Not at the Science Pub! On 05.09.2023 at 19:30 in Kling Klang Börsenstr. 73 in Wilhelmshaven, admission is free. Scientists report for all understandable from your work and current research. For this they have 20 minutes time and afterwards can be asked gladly questions or be discussed. The best thing about it: It goes out of the boring lecture hall purely into the pub! Alexander Knorrn from SENCKENBERG am Meer will present a talk on the unknown biodiversity of Mauritania. The coast of Mauritania reveals an enormous wealth of nutrients, which not only provide for productive fish stocks in the Atlantic, but also enable an enormous biodiversity. This is because species from tropical, subtropical and temperate regions come together along this stretch of coast. Unfortunately, the marine fauna of Mauritania has been insufficiently researched so far. The Senckenberg Institute is working in cooperation with the IMROP Institute to close this gap. Our goal is to record marine biodiversity in detail, identify species, analyze them genetically, assess their ecological role, and make them available in a comprehensive reference collection for research and other decision makers. Throughout our work, we make amazing discoveries, ranging from Stone Age tools and and clay jars to previously unknown fish species and barely explored ecosystems. Our collaboration is helping to deepen our understanding of this diverse marine world. more infos:  
WHV_Fernsehen_ARTE Sendereihe
Broadcast note “Good news from the planet” – ARTE Environment – Documentary series The first 5 of a total of 10 new episodes of “Good News from the Planet” have been released. In “Good News from the Planet” the big and small successes of people, organizations and companies fighting to improve conditions for people and nature are presented. No whitewashing, but positive news that gives courage and is often lost in the daily flood of bad news. An international team of authors spent two years searching for such stories in Europe, North and South America, Asia and Africa. They show that everyone can do something about the crises of our time and that success can come even where politics hesitates and fails. link to the movie
ARD-Mediathek-Die Inventur der Meere
Broadcast reference “ARD-Mediathek – live after nine – Inventory of marine animals”. For over 30 years, the research vessel Senckenberg has set sail twice a year from Wilhelmshaven to catalog the animal world in the Jade Bay. Net out, net in, count animals, animals back into the sea. Fishing for research!  link to the movie