Study Site and Infrastructure

Study site NSG "Heiligensee und Hütelmoor"

Only the research environment in Rostock provides the unique constellation of equipment, facilities and sampling sites to perform the research of Baltic TRANSCOAST. The study area is a nature reserve “Heiligensee und Hütelmoor.” The site is located near Rostock in northern Germany on a transition zone between Atlantic maritime climate and continental climate. The fen itself extends 1.59 km in the north-south direction and 1.38km in the east-west direction. The northern and western parts of the fen adjoin the Baltic Sea. The nature reserve area is supervised by local forest offices which is greatly supporting the project and are highly interested in the scientific results. Multi-level ground water wells will allow water collection along the entire flow path from the peatland into the coastal sea. The study site is a registered site of the research network TERENO. TERENO (Terrestrial environmental observatories) is an earth observation network across Germany to catalogue long-term impact of global change on regional scales. The data portal ensures access to data not only from our site but also many other sites throughout Germany.
A unique set of analytical techniques and highly specialized laboratories will allow the generation of top quality data.


An area of roughly 11km² is the central piece of the study region where an eddy – Covariance-Tower is installed and working since 2009. Instrumentation installed at the tower comprise an open-path infrared gas analyzer (IRGA, LI-7500, LI-COR, Lincoln, NE, USA) to measure fast fluctuations of CO2 molar density and a three-dimensional sonic anemometer (CSAT3, Campbell Scientific, Logan, UT, USA) to measure wind velocities and sonic temperature. Supporting meteorological measurements are conducted at the tower or in close proximity. The system is regularly supervised by technical staff and scientists.


Secondary Isotope Mass Spectrometry on Nanometer scales is the specialty of this unique instrument which is installed and working at the Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research (IOW). Main foci of on-going work are microbial exchange processes of specific elements like sulfur, carbon and nitrogen. However, hard structures like shells and grains may also be analyzed for their elemental composition in high lateral resolution. For more details see

Centre for mass spectrometry

A joint Centre of Mass Spectrometry of the University of Rostock and the Helmholtz Centre Munich exists which combines expertise in various analytical fields to e.g. study aerosols, breath gases and products from pyrolysis. This facility can fully be used in the framework of Baltic Transcoast research.

Flow Channel

The water movement across ripple beds in shallow waters will be experimentally studied in the Institute of Fluid Mechanics. There a channel system which can produce surface waves and internal waves is available to measure the sediment transport and the bottom current fields. Moreover, the sediment distribution can be evaluated by means of plenoptic 3D cameras.

Laboratory for soil studies

The laboratory in the institute for soil sciences is equipped with several innovative machines to unravel the composition of dissolved organic substances in soils. This includes pyrolysis-field ionization mass spectrometry (py-FIMS) to investigate the molecular composition of complex mixtures of substances. Liquid Chromatography Mass Spectrometry (LC/MS) and Fourier-Transformation-Ionencyclotron Mass Spectrometry (FTICR-MS) are also available to characterize the entire suit of substances as well as the isotopic composition in great detail.

Contacts within the Baltic TRANSCOAST partners moreover ensures the access to the Synchrotron “Canadian Light Source “ (CLS) which can non-destructively measure carbon, nitrogen, or sulfur compounds with x-rays in complex mixtures. 

Scientific Diving

A group of scientific divers has a long standing experience at the University of Rostock and the Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research. They are highly capable to support the research in shallow coastal waters with dedicated diving expeditions. Special training of the group ensures routine handling of scientific equipment and an in-depth understanding of scientific devices and sampling strategies. It is possible for the PhD candidates to complete a scientific diving course during the project time.

Small boats

For the work in shallow waters two small boats are available and can be used for sample collection and for diving (see above). They are equipped with small winches and are able to deploy small devices to collect water and sediment samples.