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Coastal + Marine

Coastal + Marine

Oceans and coasts provide valuable natural resources and habitat to millions of people around the world. Over time, human uses increase pressure on these ecosystems. Existing policies and sectoral frameworks often struggle to balance human demand for ocean resources with ecological considerations. Frequently, ocean governance fails in ensuring resilience and in developing capacities to adapt to the effects of climate change.

Operating at the policy-science-society interface, Ecologic Institute's coastal and marine team addresses challenges to a healthy marine environment and the sustainable use of its resources. Issues like ocean governance, coastal adaptation and management, sustainable blue growth, or ocean plastic pollution are the cornerstone of our inter- and transdisciplinary research activities.

Not limited to, but with a focus on the Baltic and North Sea, Ecologic Institute's dedicated expertise lies in the analysis and implementation of marine and coastal policies and legislation. Co-creation and understanding stakeholders' needs – particularly in sociocultural, political, and economic contexts – are also inherent aspects of the practical transformation research. The interdisciplinary team provides research, analytical insights, and recommendations to help guide policy- and decision-makers at national, regional, European, and international levels towards more inclusive and integrated ocean and coastal management.


Related Topics


Coastal + Marine

Nature-based Solutions and Green Infrastructure

Gregory Fuchs

Coastal + Marine



Nature-based Solutions and Green Infrastructure

Fenja Kroos


Coastal + Marine


Nature-based Solutions and Green Infrastructure

Julia Maund
International Fellow




Land Use



Coastal + Marine

International Development

Coastal + Marine

Nature-based Solutions and Green Infrastructure



Environmental Law – Ecologic Legal


Coastal + Marine





Arne Riedel, LLM
Coordinator Ecologic Legal
Coordinator Arctic
Senior Fellow

Coastal + Marine

Culture + Ecology


Dr. Nico Stelljes
Coordinator Coastal and Marine Studies
Selected Projects for Coastal + Marine


The UNITED project provides evidence by means of pilot demonstrators that the development of multi-use platforms or co-location of different activities in a marine and ocean space is a viable approach (economically, socially and environmentally) for European maritime... Read more

Multi-use Offshore Platforms Demonstrators for Boosting Cost-effective and Eco-friendly Production in Sustainable Marine Activities (UNITED)

project logo with the project acronym Meerstark.

© Gregory Fuchs 2023

Climate change is a stressor for oceans and seas, affecting the North Sea and Baltic Sea in many ways. The surface waters of the Baltic Sea have warmed on average more than those of the world's oceans and will continue to warm. In the North Sea, the temperature increase... Read more

NASA, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Estuaries are under considerable human pressure from river basin inputs and direct sources of pollution from ports and industrial sites. In addition, there are countless human activities, including cargo shipping, tourism, trade and fishing. Climate change also results... Read more

Musselfarming in Italy


Image by Jacek Kijewski from Pixabay

Unsustainable use of the oceans and their resources leads to severe problems, like depletion of fish stocks, biodiversity loss, habitat degradation and increased pollution, among other negative impacts. With a scoping study, awarded by the European Environment Agency ... Read more
project logog

© MarineSABRES project

Marine Biodiversity loss is continuing to decline despite current conservation efforts. Reversing the decline in biodiversity requires the rapid roll-out of effective conservation measures that can also enable a sustainable and resilient blue economy. Social-ecological... Read more

Marine Systems Approaches for Biodiversity Resilience and Ecosystem Sustainability (HEU Marine SABRES)


Foto von Alesia Kozik von Pexels

Missions are a novel instrument in Horizon Europe, which aim to tackle societal challenges with systemic solutions. The implementation of five mission areas (Restore our ocean and waters by 2030; Adaptation to Climate Change; Cancer; Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities;... Read more

Implementation of Lighthouses of Mission 'Restore our oceans and waters by 2030'


© Nico Stelljes

To safeguard biodiversity and to address increasingly complex threats to marine ecosystems, EU Member States have designated networks of marine protected areas (MPAs). Whilst the MPAs cover about 12% of EU seas, almost 75% of those are part of the Natura 2000 network,... Read more

Management Effectiveness of Marine Natura 2000 Sites and other EU Marine Protected Areas

Ostseeküste | © Ecologic Institut
The aim of the project is to provide technical support and assistance for the tasks of the Federal Environment Agency (UBA) in implementing the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) and the necessary cooperation on a regional, national and EU level. As a... Read more
|© Richard Fitzer |
The consequences of climate change are much more visible in the Arctic than in other regions of the world. The increasing loss of sea ice allows to use parts of the Arctic Ocean for a longer time and more intensively than before. This could threaten biodiversity in the... Read more
The "Development Plan for the Sea – Strategy for an Integrated German Maritime Policy" was published back in 2011 and has so far set the framework for all sea-related policies in Germany. An integrated maritime policy encompasses all facets of sea-based activities... Read more
The European Ocean Coalition (EU4Ocean) connects diverse organisations, projects and people that contribute to ocean literacy and the sustainable management of the ocean. Supported by the European Commission, this bottom-up inclusive initiative aims at uniting the... Read more

The EU4Ocean Coalition for Ocean Literacy

Ecologic Institute is member of the European Topic Centre on Inland, Coastal and Marine waters (ETC-ICM) which works with the European Environment Agency (EEA) under a Framework Partnership Agreement for the period from 2019 to 2021. The ETC-ICM aims to provide... Read more
| Fotolia © Victoria
The research project INNOVA will consolidate key factors from adaptive management strategies from leading earlier and on-going European initiatives in Spain (Valencia), Germany (Bay of Kiel) and the Netherlands (Nijmegen) and France’ overseas territories in Guadeloupe... Read more
| © whitecomberd |
Plastic pollution of the world's oceans is a quickly growing environmental problem. A number of international instruments and treaties are trying to address the problem, but the growing amount of plastic waste that is polluting our seas shows these are insufficient. On... Read more
Knowledge, Assessment, and Management for AQUAtic Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services aCROSS EU policies (AQUACROSS) aims to support EU efforts to protect aquatic biodiversity and ensure the provision of aquatic ecosystem services. Funded by Europe's Horizon 2020... Read more
Soils2Sea logo

© Soils2Sea

Both the Baltic Sea Action Plan and the EU Water Framework Directive require substantial further reductions of nutrient loads (N and P) to the Baltic Sea during the coming years. Achievements of these goals will only be possible by the implementation of fundamental... Read more
Climate change is leading to increased vulnerability of coastal areas as coastal storms, sea level rise and flooding cause significant impacts across Europe. Resilience-Increasing Strategies for Coasts – toolKIT (RISC-KIT) is a four-year European research project aimed... Read more

Resilience-Increasing Strategies for Coasts – toolKIT (RISC-KIT)

The Ecologic Institute coordinated the five-year project RADOST (Regional Adaptation Strategies for the German Baltic Sea Coast). The Baltic coastline of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Schleswig-Holstein is one of seven model regions in Germany that were supported by... Read more
All projects on Coastal + Marine
Selected Publications for Coastal + Marine
Cover of the policy brief "Why is nature restoration critical for marine areas?"

© Ecologic institute, IEEP

The EU Commission published its proposal for a new Nature Restoration Regulation in June 2022. In this context, Ecologic Institute and IEEP – as part of the Think Sustainable Europe network – published a series of thematic policy briefs to inform Members of the European... Read more

Fuchs, Gregory; Stelljes, N. 2023: Why is nature restoration critical for marine areas?. IEEP, Ecologic Institute: Brussels, Berlin.


© Issuu

"Using Seagrass as Insulation Material" by Nico Stelljes is published in the "Baltic Stories Magazine" that is devoted to promoting cooperation around the Baltic Sea, joint initiatives and projects of the European Union Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR). ... Read more

Stelljes, Nico (2021): Using seagrass as insulation material. In: Baltic Stories Magazine, 2. Page 16-17.

Cover beach wrack Factsheet

© N. Stelljes

This fact sheet for the project INNOVA illustrates a literature review on the effects of climate change on beach wrack landing on the German Baltic Shore. Beach wrack consists mainly of bladderwrack and seagrass and it is likely that climate change will have various... Read more

Nico Stelljes (2021): INNOVA Beach Wrack Fact Sheet. Ecologic Institute. 10p.

cover of the policy brief

© T20

Forests and the ocean are vital for climate, biological diversity, and human communities, but they are degraded and their ecosystem services are seriously impaired, mainly because financial, economic and governance structures are misconfigured. The authors of this T20... Read more

Noon, Paul De; Andreas Kraemer; Leonardo Massai et. al 2021: Fixing Financial, Economic and Governance Structures to Save Forests and the Ocean, and Enhance Their Contributions to Climate Change Solutions. T20 Policy Brief TF2 – Climate Change, Sustainable Energy & Environment.


Stormfloden Sydfalster (Denmark) 13 november 1872

| Unknown authorUnknown author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
From 12 to 13 November 1872, an extreme coastal flood event occurred in the south Baltic Sea. An unusual combination of winds created a storm surge reaching up to 3.5 m above mean sea level, which is more than a meter higher than all other observations over the past 200... Read more

Hallin, Caroline, Jacobus L.A. Hofstede, Grit Martinez, Jürgen Jensen, Nina Baron, Thorsten Heimann, Aart Kroon, Arne Arns, Björn Almström, Per Sørensen, and Magnus Larson. 2021. "A Comparative Study of the Effects of the 1872 Storm and Coastal Flood Risk Management in Denmark, Germany, and Sweden" Water 13, no. 12: 1697.


Dam and bridge from Rügen to Ummanz, Waase beacon

| Chron-Paul, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
This paper deals with how culture is expressed through the interplay of socially, politically, and economically driven processes and practices in place-based biophysical contexts as well as the role played by narrative expressions in the formation of coastal risk... Read more

Martinez G (2021) Coastal Risk Cultures: Local and Regional Formation of Knowledge and Action. Front. Environ. Sci. 9:578238. doi: 10.3389/fenvs.2021.578238

Practically the entire European marine area is facing multiple pressures – such as hazardous substances, fish stock exploitation, climate change, underwater noise, non-indigenous species, seafloor damage, marine litter and nutrient enrichment. This is the conclusion of... Read more

Korpinen, S., Klančnik, K., Peterlin, M., Nurmi, M., Laamanen, L., Zupančič, G., Murray, C., Harvey, T., Andersen, J.H., Zenetos, A., Stein, U., Tunesi, L., Abhold, K., Piet, G., Kallenbach, E., Agnesi, S., Bolman, B., Vaughan, D., Reker, J. & Royo Gelabert, E., 2019, Multiple pressures and their combined effects in Europe’s seas. ETC/ICM Technical Report 4/2019: European Topic Centre on Inland, Coastal and Marine waters, 164 pp.

Scientific Review Paper
The study "Ocean as a Global Commons: International Governance and the Role of Germany" was developed by Ecologic Institute at the request of the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) as part of the Science Platform Sustainability 2030 ... Read more

Abhold, K., Hoffmann, H., McGlade, K., Krüger, I., Stelljes, N. (2019): Oceans as Global Commons. International Governance and the Role of Germany. Report to the Science Platform Sustainability 2030. Berlin: Ecologic Institute.

Cover of publication with text and logos

© Advances in Climate Change  Research

Recent and historic high-impact events have demonstrated significant flood risks to many coastal areas in Europe and across the globe. Understanding the behavior of humans in relation to risk management poses grand challenges for both natural and social sciences and... Read more

Martinez., G., Costas, S., Ferreira, O., The role of culture and informal aspects for coastal disaster risk reduction measures: Empirical evidence from northern and southern Europe, Advances in Climate Change Research 11(1), doi: 10.1016/j.accre.2020.11.001

The Baltic Sea Action Plan and the EU Water Framework Directive both require substantial additional reductions of nutrient loads (N and P) to the marine environment. Focusing on nitrogen, we present a widely applicable concept for spatially differentiated regulation,... Read more

Jens Christian Refsgaard, Anne L. Hansen, Anker L. Højberg, Jørgen E. Olesen, Fatemeh Hashemi, Przemyslaw Wachniew, Anders Wörman, Alena Bartosova, Nico Stelljes, Boris Chubarenko (2019): Spatially differentiated regulation: Can it save the Baltic Sea from excessive N-loads?. Ambio,

Cover Environmental Politics

© Taylor and Francis

In this article, the authors, among them Ecologic Institute's Linda Mederake, assess innovative climate governance in small-to-medium-sized structurally disadvantaged cities (SDCs). Considering their deeply ingrained severe economic and social problems, it would be... Read more

Wurzel, Rüdiger; Moulton, Jeremy; Osthorst, Winfried; Mederake, Linda; Deutz, Pauline; Jonas, Andrew (2019): Climate pioneership and leadership in structurally disadvantaged maritime port cities. Environmental Politics 28(1): 146-166.

Diffuse Water Pollution from Agriculture (DWPA) and its governance has received increased attention as a policy concern across the globe. Mitigation of DWPA is a complex problem that requires a mix of policy instruments and a multi-agency, broad societal response. In... Read more

Morten Graversgaard, Hedelin B., Smith L., Gertz F., Højberg A.L., Langford J., Martinez G., Mostert E., Ptak E., Peterson H., Stelljes N., van den Brink C., and Refsgaard J.C., Opportunities and Barriers for Water Co-Governance—A Critical Analysis of Seven Cases of Diffuse Water Pollution from Agriculture in Europe, Australia and North America. Sustainability 2018.10, 1634.

The idealistic endeavor of a universal education, as was conveyed for centuries by research institutions, is passé. It needed to be replaced by two scientific disciplines: The social sciences and humanities and the natural sciences and engineering sciences. However it... Read more

Martinez, G., Armaroli, C., Costas, S., Harley, D. M., Paolisso, M., (2018), Experiences and results from interdisciplinary collaboration: Utilizing qualitative information to formulate disaster risk reduction measures for coastal regions, Coastal Engineering,

It is widely recognized that national or regional efforts to restrict the damage of climate change are insufficient and hence that environmental and climate protection needs a global concept. Paradoxically, the way environmental and climate change is perceived and... Read more

Grit Martinez and Michael J. Paolisso 2015: "Cultural Dynamics of Adaptation to Climate Change: An Example from the East Coast of the US", in: Bernd Sommer (ed.): Cultural Dynamics of Climate Change and the Environment in Northern America. [Climate and Culture 3]. Leiden: Brill, 304-332.

In the article "Why do we decide to live with risk at the coast?" recently published in "Ocean and Coastal Management", Dr. Grit Martinez of Ecologic Institute and Susana Costas and Prof. Oscar Ferreira of the University of Algarve explore risk perception in a community... Read more

Costas S., Ferreira ,O., Martinez, G., Why do we decide to live with risk at the coast? In: Ocean and Coastal Management, available online 30 May 2015, In Press.

This study presents information about the storms in 1872 and 1904 that occurred along the coast of Scania that is analysed with respect to the evolution of risk awareness, vulnerability, and societies' resilience over time. The article, to which Dr. Grit Martinez from... Read more

Fredriksson; C., Feldmann Eellend, B., Larson; M., Martinez, G., The role of historical storm events in risk analysis. A study of the coastal flood events in 1872 and 1904 along the South and East Coast of Scania, Sweden, Vatten, Journal of Water Management and Research, pp 73:93 – 108, Lund 2017

This paper presents a new approach to guiding coastal stakeholders about making informed decisions about Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) measures and alternatives. As part of the RISC-KIT project and tool box, the paper presents a holistic DRR measure approach including... Read more

Stelljes, N.; Martinez G.; McGlade, K. (2017). Introduction to the RISC-KIT Web Based Management Guide for DRR in European Coastal Zones. RISC-KIT Project.

Martinez, Grit and Mike K. Orbach 2014: "Küstenschutz – Europa und USA im Vergleich", in: Heike Leitschuh et al. (eds.): Jahrbuch Ökologie 2015. Re-Naturierung. Stuttgart: S. Hirzel Verlag, 214-222. ... Read more

Martinez, Grit and Mike K. Orbach 2014: "Küstenschutz – Europa und USA im Vergleich", in: Heike Leitschuh et al. (eds.): Jahrbuch Ökologie 2015. Re-Naturierung. Stuttgart: S. Hirzel Verlag, 214-222.

All publications on Coastal + Marine
Selected Events for Coastal + Marine
On 25 October 2019 the Ecologic Institute supported the Federal Environment Agency (UBA) in a webinar on the IPCC Special Report on "The ocean and the cryosphere in a changing climate" (SROCC). The Ecologic Institute, together with the project Partner Climate Analytics,... Read more
|© berrini films
On 14 October 2016, the documentary film "Soils2Sea: Reducing nutrient loadings into the Baltic Sea" premiered in Poland. Developed and produced by Dr. Grit Martinez (Ecologic Institute) and Anne Berrini (berrini films) with support from Dr. Przemyslaw... Read more

Discussion:Soils2Sea: Reducing Nutrient Loadings Into the Baltic Sea – Film Premiere

Mykanow, Poland
The conference will introduce results of four BONUS projects ending in 2018: BONUS BALTICAPP, BONUS GO4BALTIC, BONUS MIRACLE and BONUS SOILS2SEA. Novel approaches for managing nutrients, as well as governance approaches for the Baltic Sea region will be presented for... Read more
Fotolia© DeVIce
On 22 April 2013, the Embassy of the United States and Ecologic Institute hosted a lunch seminar presenting the results of a transatlantic research project on cultural perceptions of climate change and adaptation in coastal regions. This project, undertaken by Duke... Read more
All events on Coastal + Marine