ZMT focuses on a holistic social-ecological research on tropical coastal ecosystems such as mangroves, seagrass meadows, coral reefs, bays, estuaries and upwelling areas.

These systems are altered by a variety of human activities, such as fishery, aqua- and agriculture, coastal developments, or industry, that often lead to an overuse of resources, habitat degradation, eutrophication, pollution and other impacts.

The increase in the human population along the worlds’ coastlines, especially in the tropics, and forecasted alterations in the environment driven by climate change, require more intense studies of ecosystems along the tropical coasts.