Start of the SUTAS Graduate School in 2013

Leibniz Graduate School SUTAS (Sustainable Use of Tropical Aquatic Systems)

Tropical coastal ecosystems are facing a critical situation: rapid environmental change meets fundamental social changes, threatening ecosystem functions and services with local as well as global impacts. This problem requires interdisciplinary research aimed at an understanding of the combined effects of natural and anthropogenic pressures on these systems.
Tropical coastal regions are characterised by rapid social and environmental changes, which lead to threats to ecosystem functions and services with local as well as global impacts. Using an interdisciplinary approach, the programme tackles pressing questions of coastal zone ecology, management and human health in the tropics.

The SUTAS project focuses on the island of Zanzibar in Tanzania. The coast is home to a variety of ecosystems such as mangroves, seagrasses and coral reefs. Relatively untouched areas are in close proximity to areas undergoing urbanisation or changes through land use. Overfishing is also an issue due to the growing tourism.

The SUTAS research project was embedded in the first Leibniz Graduate School of the same name funded by the Leibniz Association. It was coordinated by the Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT) and conducted jointly with partners in and around Bremen as well as in the tropics. It offered a structured, high-level interdisciplinary graduate training in the field of tropical coastal system research. Disciplines covered in SUTAS include marine biology, fisheries science, sedimentology, microbiology, sociology, economics, modelling and epidemiology. After initial funding through the Leibniz Association for four years, ZMT is planning a continuations of the programme. (1933)


 Research areas

  • Seagrass and algae
  • Organic matter cycling
  • Carbonate builders
  • Fish behaviour
  • Fisheries assessment and modelling
  • Food and nutrition

Participating institutions

  • University of Bremen
  • Jacobs University
  • University of Oldenburg
  • Institute for Epidemiology and Prevention Research (BIPS), Bremen
  • Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural Museum (SaM), Wilhelmshaven
  • Institute of Marine Sciences, Zanzibar (IMS)
  • State University of Zanzibar (SUZA)
  • International Ocean Institute (IOI)