Marine Ecology

The Research Division has four Research Units: Evolutionary Ecology of Marine Fishes, Experimental Ecology, Marine Microbiology and Marine Natural Products Chemistry


Head of the Research Division:

Prof. Dr. Thorsten Reusch
GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel
Düsternbrooker Weg 20 
D-24105 Kiel
Phone: +49-431 - 600-4550
Fax: +49-431 - 600-4553
e-mail: treusch(at)

PA / Office Management:

Cornelia Rüther
Phone: +49-431- 600-4551
e-mail: cruether(at)


Press releases


The research division (RD) “Marine Ecology” wants to understand the sensitivity of marine ecosystems to anthropogenic and natural changes, with a mid-term focus on climate change and overexploitation of marine bio-resources. For a sustainable management of the marine environment, it is crucial to understand the impact load a given local/regional ecosystem can tolerate before major structural changes occur, how these changes affect community dynamics and the extent to which changes are reversible. Structural changes include outbreaks of harmful organisms, demise of species, collapse of commercially valuable stocks , and a complete re-orientation of biogeochemical cycles. The response of ecosystems to natural and anthropogenic impacts cannot be understood by neglecting species and stock specific differences in the response of organisms and lumping them into broad categories (e.g. size classes, trophic levels) measured by biomass or productivity. This is especially true for ecosystems influenced by one or a few keystone species. Therefore, our research encompasses the full range of hierarchical levels from genes to ecosystems: ecophysiology of key species and its genetic basis, dynamics and genetics of individual populations and of communities, interactions within and among species, structure and response of entire food webs. The Research Division "Marine Ecology" consists of 3 research units, mainly defined by their focal organisms and the methodology needed to study those organisms.  

The research divison examines:

  • Ecological genetics: from genes to ecological performance
  • Climate change research: marine ecosystems in a changing climate
  • Trophic ecology: fedding in the sea- food from the sea
  • Chemical ecology: chemical interactions in the sea- chemicals from the sea
  • Biodiversity research: marine biodiversity- patterns, causes and functions


RD3 News

The bladderwrack Fucus vesiculosus. Photo: M. Wahl, GEOMAR

Bladderwrack: Tougher than suspected

GEOMAR biologists show a functioning defense system in Fucus vesiculosus despite environmental changes


Sea turtles’ first days of life: A sprint and a ride towards safety

Scientists follow hatchlings from Cape Verde with tiny acoustic transmitters