The Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT) in Bremen is the only scientific institute in Germany that investigates tropical and subtropical coastal ecosystems and their importance for nature and people. With its work, the ZMT provides a scientific basis for the protection and sustainable use of these tropical coastal ecosystems.
In addition to research, the focus lies on the development of competencies and consultation services – always in close cooperation with international and national partners. As a member of the Leibniz Association (since 2009) the institute is funded by the Federal Republic of Germany and its 'Länder'.
The ZMT dedicates its training and research to the 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.
Establish and expand competencies
Important objectives of the ZMT are the development and exchange knowledge and competencies. The Bremen 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. The ZMT supports the establishment and expansion 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 a national and international focal point for research, educational and governmental institutions for the exchange of expert knowledge.