The Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT) in Bremen is the only scientific institute in Germany that exclusively investigates tropical and subtropical coastal ecosystems and their significance for nature and humans. Together with its partners in tropical countries, the ZMT creates a scientific basis for the protection and sustainable use of these tropical coastal ecosystems.
In addition to research, the focus is on capacity development and consulting – 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 federal states, in particular Bremen.
In teaching and research, ZMT is dedicated to a better understanding of tropical coastal ecosystems. These include mangroves, coral reefs, seagrass meadows, but also rivers, estuaries, coastal waters and upwelling areas. The scientists of the Institute study the natural processes of these habitats. They investigate the interconnectedness of ecosystems with the interior and the open ocean. ZMT runs a marine experimental facility (MAREE) to cultivate and rear tropical organisms throughout the year. Ecophysiological experiments can be conducted in a simulated tropical marine environment.
ZMT’s studies focus on the structure and functioning of tropical coastal ecosystems, resource use and their resistance to human intervention and natural changes. The institute combines natural and social sciences in an interdisciplinary manner. All research projects are carried out in close cooperation with local partners.
ZMT's important tasks include exchanging knowledge and skills in the form of capacity development. The Bremen institute trains students and doctoral candidates from Germany and all over the world. Its scientists teach at the universities in Bremen and the region and contribute significantly to the range of courses offered by international courses such as the ISATEC (International Studies in Aquatic Tropical Ecology), which is offered in cooperation with the University of Bremen.
The ZMT supports the development and strengthening of expertise and structures in the tropics that enable sustainable coastal zone management. In its partner countries, the institute organizes international summer schools and offers courses as well as practical training. The certified Scientific Diving Centre at ZMT trains scientists to become research divers according to the standards of the German Employer's Liability Insurance Association.
Cooperation and consultation
In order to anchor sustainable development and the protection of tropical coastal ecosystems more firmly in society, the ZMT cooperates closely in its research with stakeholders and key actors from science, politics, business, NGOs and civil society - at national and international level. ZMT's Office for Knowledge Exchange (OKE) serves as a hub for networking research with these different areas. At the same time, the OKE is the national and international contact point for research, training and government institutions for the exchange of subject-specific information.
ZMT was founded in 1991 and employs more than 200 members of staff. It belongs to the German Alliance for Marine Research, which was started in 2019.