Logo STopPFrom Sediment to Top Predator


Short Description

Background and objectives: The overall objective of STopP-synthesis is to develop indicators for the Flora-Fauna-Habitat Directive (HD), the EU Birds Directive (BD) and the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) taking into account the quality elements and assessment procedures of the Water Framework Directive (WFD). Special focus is put on the MSFD-descriptors seafloor integrity (D6) and hydrographical conditions (D7) as well as food webs (D4) and
biodiversity (D1).

The different European directives formulate a demand for an integrative assessment of aquatic environments. For an evaluation on the habitat and ecosystem level, it is particularly important to know how sea-bottom characteristics provide matrices for the establishment of different habitats, thus enabling the development of species diversity and special food web structures. STopP is designed as a transdisciplinary project. It includes bio- and geosciences as well as administrative bodies, which are responsible for implementing EU directives, in order to achieve a direct transfer of the project results into management and policy.

Status of Results: During STopP I interactions between morphodynamic, sediment dynamics, macrozoobenthos and bird distribution in a nearshore intertidal and subtidal area of the northern German North Sea and the adjacent offshore zone were assessed. Besides a valuable set of maps characterizing the seabed and habitats, further outcomes of STopP I are statistical habitat and food web models of blue mussel and cockle beds as well as fields of razor clams and seagrass beds.

Planned works and products: In order to generalize these functional models and offer validated tools to assess the GES for the three MSFD-descriptors mentioned above, a validation of models in a second study site further south, where different abiotic forcing parameters, including estuarine influence, exist, is proposed for STopP-Synthesis. The application, validation and final adjustment of the STopP I models in STopP-Synthesis will allow predictions of habitats, their food web structure and the hotspots of bird distribution for the entire coastal and adjacent shelf area of the German Bight.


STopP:                    04/2013 - 03/2016

 StopP Synthese:   04/2016 - 03/2019

Funding (total): 

STopP:                     1.200.000,- €

 STopP Synthese:     865.185,- €


Co-ordinator: Landesbetrieb für Küstenschutz, Nationalpark und Meeresschutz Schleswig Holstein, Nationalparkverwaltung (NPV), Tönning


  • Alfred-Wegener-Institut Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung, Wattenmeerstation Sylt
  • Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel, Forschungs- und Technologiezentrum Westküste und Institut für Geowissenschaften
  • Landesamt für Landwirtschaft, Umwelt und ländliche Räume, Küstengewässerkunde



  • Project Coordinator
    Kai Eskildsen

    Schleswig-Holstein’s Government-Owned Company for Coastal Protection, National Parks and Ocean Protection
    Schlossgarten 1, 25832 Tönning, Germany
    Tel +49 4861 616 44

  • Project management
    Alexandra Ruales

    Tel: +49 4861 616 50