Logo BACOSABaltic Coastal System Analysis and Status Evaluation


Short Description


The coastal area of the Baltic Sea provide a wide range of ecosystem services to the human society. This includes not provisioning services, such as fish and seafood, but also regulating services as erosion protection and improvement o fair and water quality. Last but not least, coasts are also providing cultural services which are used by recreation and tourism. However, a high degree of pressure threatens coastal habitats, consequently influencing their potential for ecosystem services. Understanding the complex relationship between the individual ecosystem services therefore is crucial for sustainable management of coastal ecosystems.


  • A comprehensive analysis of historical data about pressures on coastal ecosystems along the German Baltic coastline (population development, water consumption, waste water discharge, industrial development, construction, fertilizer usage, fishing, tourism revenue, ...) will be merged with historic ecosystem state data (makrophytobenthos, fish, benthic invertebrates, climatic data, ...). This database will be analysed for empirical relationships between the provision of ecosystem services, ecosystem structure, and degree of pressure.
  • Causality of correlations identified within this dataset will be proven by detailed investigations in the study area. Trophic interactions and effective short term events („hot events“) whose meaning was detected already in the first phase of the project (2013-2016) will be in the focus oft he work tob e conducted.


Previous results:

The objectives of the first phase of project BACOSA were A) time resolved detection of material flows in macrophyte-dominated coastal waters and, B) development of an assessment system, which can be used to record the ecosystem services of internal coastal waters. The results represent not only an increase of knowledge in these areas, but resulted also in a radical rethinking about the master factors controlling the ecosystem status of the study area (Darss-Zingst Bodden Chain). Among others, the results showed that, in contrast to previous ideas, the pelagic is P-limited. Also in contrast to previous assumptions, the sediments have been shown to be not an source of phosphate. The reed belts proved to be a buffer zone for terrestrical depositions and a sink for nutrients. Managment options like removal of sediments in order to lower the phosphate availability therefore are unlikely to be efficient for turbidity reduction. Furthermore BACOSA demonstrated that the role of macrophytobenthos for trophic interactions and matter fluxes largely differs between coastal water and limnetic ecosystems. Moreover, differences were detected already between macrophytobenthos at inner and outer coastal water bodies. To unravel the reason for these differences, studies focusing on trophic interactions of the different habitat types are neccessary. Finally, BACOSA provides a set of concepts of ecosystem services as well as methods for their assessment, adapted to coastal systems, which can be used for other coastal regions as well.


Planned works and products:

  • Conception of an assessment framework for ecosystem services, which take into account spatial and temporal changes in environmental, social, economics and ethic conditions
  • Ecological Network Analysis (ENA) on selected sites of the german Baltic Sea coast.
  • Time series analysis on the development of ecosystem services along the german Baltic Sea coast.



BACOSA I:  04/2013 - 03/2016

BACOSA II: 04/2016 - 03/2019


BACOSA I (total)495.906,00 €

BACOSA II (total): 397.388,40.€



Project coordination:

University of Rostock

Project partners:

  • Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel
  • University of Greifswald

Latest publications:

  • Karstens, S., Jurasinski, G., Glatzel, S. & Buczko, U. (2016): Dynamics of surface elevation and microtopography in different zones of a coastal Phragmites wetland. Ecological Engineering 94:152-163.
  • Blindow, I., Dahlke, S., Dewart, A., Flügge, S., Hendreschke, M., Kerkow, A. & Meyer, J. (2016): Long-term and interannual changes of submerged macrophytes and their associated diaspore reservoir in a shallow southern Baltic Sea bay: influence of eutrophication and climate. Hydrobiologia 778(1): 121-136.


  • Sonderband „Rostocker Meeresbiologische Beiträge“ (RMB 25), Baltic Coastal System Analysis and Status Evaluation (BACOSA), 157 S.



  • Project leader
    Prof. Dr. Hendrik Schubert
    University of Rostock, chair in ecology
    Albert-Einstein-Str. 3, 18059 Rostock, Germany
    Tel: +49 381 498 6071
    hendrik.schubert [at]

  • Project coordinator
    Dr. Christian Porsche (since 01/05/2017)
    Tel: +49 381 498 6087
    christian.porsche [at]