German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN)


Transkript of the Monitoring Marine Habitats Video

Marine monitoring – long-term, systematic monitoring of the seas – lays the foundations for much-needed conservation and protection work for marine ecosystems. The German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation uses underwater cameras to monitor species and habitats in the North and Baltic Seas. Using underwater cameras, marine biologists identify valuable reefs and sandbanks and analyse their unique ecological communities.Marine monitoring is also done from the air. Seabirds and marine mammals are counted from aircraft. Researchers regularly survey occurrences and the distribution of harbour porpoise. Fisheries biologists embark on scientific trawls at regular intervals in the North and Baltic Seas. The catches reveal information about species diversity, the spawning population and juvenile fish. Many seabirds spend their time far out in the open sea. Which species these are is something ornithologists can best see from on board ship. Regular censuses show the importance of protected areas in the North and Baltic Seas as feeding and resting grounds. Internationally significant concentrations of tens of thousands of birds gather in the Pomeranian Bay Special Protection Area every winter and spring. These include marine ducks like the long-tailed duck. Special research projects such as radar monitoring of bird migrations provide further knowledge. This is especially important when it comes to designating priority areas for wind farms and marine protected areas, and evaluating human impacts. Dredges are mostly used to research the benthos – or sea-floor life – in reef zones. Scientists are currently mapping the underwater habitats and species of the German marine areas – an ambitious project. Marine biologists use a grabber to take sand samples, measure sand particle sizes and investigate the species composition, for example of interstitial fauna in the sand. These tiny animals are a basic building block in the marine food web. Monitoring selected components of marine biodiversity makes it possible to detect changes in good time, evaluate human impacts and implement management measures, most of all in marine protected areas.