IOW Logo

LEGRA: Live along the gradient: Analyse of the impact of environmntal parameters on the distribution, diversity and function of benthic communities and their habitats in the southern Baltic Sea and its implications within the European marine conservation directi

01.01.2019 - 31.10.2023
Project manager:
Dr. Michael L. Zettler
BfN - Bundesamt für Naturschutz
Associated Institution:

This project is settled in boith fundamental and applied since. Main aim is the better understanding of the dynamic of macrobenthic marine communities affected by natural and anthropogenic environmena changes. The focus is lying on natural gardients like salinity, oxygen, sediments and exposion.

Basing on the science the main tasks are devided into 4 working packages.

WP 1: Analyse of spatial variability

WP 2: Analyse of temporal variability

WP 3: Development and improvement of indicators

WP 4: Implementation of our results into the European Marine Strategy Framework Directive and the Habitats Directive


  • Zettler, M.L., Darr, A. 2023: Benthic habitats and their inhabitants. In: Schubert, H., Müller, F. (eds) Southern Baltic coastal systems analysis. Ecological Studies, vol 246. Springer, Cham,
  • Gogina, M., Zettler, M.L. 2023: Ecological structure in benthic habitats of offshore waters. In: Schubert, H., Müller, F. (eds) Southern Baltic coastal systems analysis. Ecological Studies, vol 246. Springer, Cham.,
  • Romoth, K., M. Gogina, K. Beisiegel, A. Darr and M. L. Zettler (2022). First record of the common sun star Crossaster papposus (L., 1767) in the Baltic Sea in over 100 years. Oceanol. Hydrobiol. Stud. 51: 143-148, doi: 10.26881/oahs-2022.2.02
  • Schöne, B. R., X. Huang, A. Jantschke, R. Mertz-Kraus and M. L. Zettler (2022). High-resolution reconstruction of dissolved oxygen levels in the Baltic Sea with bivalves - a multi-species comparison (Arctica islandica, Astarte borealis, Astarte elliptica). Front. Mar. Sci. 9: 820731, doi: 10.3389/fmars.2022.820731
  • Nygård, H., M. Lindegarth, A. Darr, G. E. Dinesen, O. R. Eigaard and I. Lips (2020). Developing benthic monitoring programmes to support precise and representative status assessments: a case study from the Baltic Sea. Environ. Monit. Assess. 192: 795, doi: 10.1007/s10661-020-08764-7
  • Greathead, C., P. Magni, J. Vanaverbeke, L. Buhl-Mortensen, U. Janas, M. Blomqvist, J. A. Craeymeersch, J. Dannheim, A. Darr, S. Degraer, N. Desroy, A. Donnay, Y. Griffiths, I. Guala, L. Guerin, H. Hinchen, C. Labrune, H. Reiss, G. Van Hoey and S. N. R. Birchenough (2020). A generic framework to assess the representation and protection of benthic ecosystems in European marine protected areas. Aquat. Conserv.-Mar. Freshw. Ecosyst. 30: 1253-1275, doi: 10.1002/aqc.3401