Hosting the FEC-IPO ist not only a great honour, it is a great chance for ZMT. While ZMT has a strong research network in the tropics, collaborating within FEC now allows for comparative studies and regionally large-scale approaches – an ideal basis for a mutually beneficial cooperation. And for addressing global issues, this is priceless.”
Prof. Dr. Hildegard Westphal, Scientific Director of ZMT
ZMT dedicates its training and research to the study and better understanding of coastal ecosystems in the tropics. These include mangroves, coral reefs, seagrass meadows, but also rivers, estuaries, coastal waters and upwelling systems. ZMT scientists analyse the natural processes of these habitats. They explore the ecosystems‘ interdependency with the hinterland and the open ocean. The structure and functionality of tropical coastal ecosystems, resource use and resilience against human intervention and natural changes are at the centre of the studies. ZMT is an interdisciplinary institute and works in close cooperation with partners in the tropics, where it supports capacity building and the development of infrastructures in the area of sustainable coastal zone management. ZMT is a member of the Leibniz Association. More information at www.leibniz-zmt.de
Interdisciplinarity at ZMT
Tropical coasts and their ecosystems, shaped by increasing pressures ranging from overpopulation to increasing pollution levels and coastal erosion, are among the most challenged social-ecological systems on our planet. Addressing these highly complex challenges requires the disciplinarily differentiated strengths and interdisciplinarily socialised capacities.
For effectively undertaking highly interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research activities in large collaborative projects, as well as disciplinary-oriented research where needed, ZMT thus fosters a balanced combination of a wide variety of disciplines, ranging from biology and ecology to biogeochemistry, chemistry, geology, mathematical modelling, geography, economics, sociology and anthropology.
Important objectives of ZMT are the development and exchange of knowledge and competencies. The Bremen-based institute provides training for students and doctoral students from all over the world. ZMT scientists teach at the universities of Bremen and the surrounding region, contributing significantly to international study courses, such as the master programme ISATEC (International Studies in Aquatic Tropical Ecology), which is offered in cooperation with the University of Bremen. ZMT supports the establishment and development of expertise and structures in the tropics to allow for a sustainable management of coastal zones. In its partner countries, the institute organises international summer schools and offers courses and practical training. ZMT‘s certified Centre for Scientific Diving provides training for scientists to become scientific divers pursuant to the standards of the German employers’ liability insurance.
Cooperation and consultation
ZMT scientists conduct research in close cooperation with stakeholders and central actors from science, politics, economy, NGOs and the civil society – both at national and international level – in order to support a stronger integration of sustainable development and protection of tropical coastal ecosystems in society. In this context, ZMT‘s Office for Knowledge Exchange (OKE) serves as a hub to generate research networks between these different stakeholders. At the same time, the OKE is both an institutional focal point for national and international research, educational and governmental institutions for the exchange of expert knowledge.