Research Division 3: Marine Ecology


The Research Division Marine Ecology has five Research Units: Experimental Ecology - Benthos, Marine Evolutionary Ecology, Marine Natural Products Chemistry, Marine Symbioses and Ocean EcoSystems Biology.

RD3 mission: Ocean’s biological diversity drives ecosystems and biogeochemical cycles. A deeper knowledge on existing diversity, the associated processes and the reactions to environmental perturbation is needed to project future changes, and to guide sustainable use of biological resources.

These are a few key questions that scientists of RD3 are addressing:

  • How will species interactions and marine communities be reorganized under multiple environmental changes, including invasion pressure and novel pathogens?

  • How will ecosystem biodiversity, functioning and services (for example, productivity, carbon sequestration, nutrient retention) change in response to perturbations and re-organization (due to range shifts /species introductions)? What are the relative contributions of evolutionary change, physiological plasticity and community restructuring to overall ecological response to global change?

  • What are novel marine resources in terms of genetic/genomic resources and marine organism and substances that can be utilized for human application? How can we sustainably use marine resources by understanding the biology of the exploited species in order to minimize effects on population sizes and biodiversity and the affected habitats?

Research groups

There are currently 16 research groups in the research area Marine Ecology. Follow the links to the respective research group pages.


RD3 News

A pale-red squid with large eyes and eight thick, orange arms drifts in the water column. The squid’s cone-shaped mantle has white scars above the eyes and is pointing to the left side of the frame. The squid’s arms are held above its body and are cradling a gelatinous brown sheet that contains several round, yellowish-white eggs. The background is dark blue water with numerous small yellowish-brown flecks of drifting organic debris.

Underwater robots discover deep-sea squid that broods giant eggs

During an expedition to the Gulf of California, researchers observed a previously unknown species of squid carrying a cluster of exceptionally large eggs

Picture of seaweed under water

Novel Genetic Clock discovers oldest known marine plant

Seagrass clone in the Baltic Sea is more than 1400 years old