Project "NOAH" – North Sea Observation and Assessment of Habitats

A Project in the BMBF Framework Programme Research for Sustainable Development (FONA)

Measures to protect the benthic ecosystem in the North Sea from the consequences of increasing human activity require a careful scientific assessment of seabed conditions and functions. A comprehensive, geo-referenced "Habitat Atlas" has been developed for the German Bight. For researchers in the NOAH project, this creates the basis for a comprehensive description and assessment of current and future conditions, pressures and services of this habitat.

The NOAH project was one of five collaborating R&D projects of the "Coastal Research Agenda for the North and Baltic Seas (KüNO)" of the BMBF Framework Programme Research for Sustainable Development (FONA). The NOAH synthesis project was a follow-up project to the NOAH project (completed in March 2016). It had a duration of 3 years (April 2016 - March 2019). The work of the 7 partners in the NOAH network was coordinated at the Helmholtz Centre Geesthacht by Prof. Dr. Kay-Christian Emeis, and that of the subproject at the BSH laboratory in Sülldorf by Dr. Berit Brockmeyer.

Subproject at BSH: Determination and Asessment of Pollutant Budgets and Processes in the German Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ)

The EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) declares marine protection as a priority societal interest and defines good environmental status as a desirable goal. In order to initiate further political measures to achieve this goal, the data collected in the monitoring programms must be used to assess the current state of the environment and, above all, to create suitable assessment criteria on a scientific basis. The main objective of the subproject at the BSH was to provide basic information for the assessment of the environmental status of the North Sea with regard to pollution. On the one hand, this concerns the determination of background concentrations in sediment, which form an essential reference point for the evaluation of the determined pollutant contents. On the other hand, chemical-toxicological screening methods were developed and implemented to determine and assess the risks of toxic pollutants in the marine ecosystem. In addition, the new methodology successfully developed in NOAH-1 for the measurement of priority pollutants in the fine grain fraction of the sediment was applied in order to obtain a spatially extended inventory of the pollutant load of the sediment. This also served as a mean to review and evaluate current standardisation procedures.

The NOAH fact sheets developed to support the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive 2008/56/EC are one of the results of the project.

Further information and results can be found at: