Svenja Karstens is a PostDoc in the working group “Marine and Coastal Hazards”. Her goal is to combine qualitative and quantitative methods and incorporate them into a multi-dimensional GIS. Together with scientists from geology, geophysics, geography and social sciences, she is working on a comprehensive analysis of ocean hazards and their effects on society, using Southern Italy as a ‘blue print region’.  

Svenja studied geography with physics and meteorology as minors at the University of Bonn (Diploma 2012). She was fascinated by the interdisciplinary orientation and in cooperation with the United Nations University and the artec Sustainability Research Center, she was able to gain valuable knowledge in Southeast Asia on how to combine qualitative and quantitative methods in order to analyze hazards, vulnerabilities and risks in coastal areas.

For her PhD, Svenja went back home to the Baltic Sea. She is amazed by coastal wetlands and particularly interested in the biogeochemical cycling. In 2017 she did her doctorate at the University of Rostock on sedimentation patterns and nutrient processes in coastal Phragmites wetlands. Svenja then switched from university to a NGO, the Coastal Union Germany e.V. (EUCC-D). In close cooperation with coastal communities and state agencies she explored the use of innovative floating wetlands for nutrient removal in eutrophicated lagoons in the South Baltic and their potential to contribute to a “Blue Bioeconomy”.


 Current research questions

·        How can nature-based solutions benefit disaster risk reduction and climate change mitigation?

·        How can qualitative and quantitative methods in the field of natural hazard analysis and risk management be combined?

·        How can the concepts of vulnerability, disaster risk reduction and adaptation to climate change be viewed holistically and dynamically?

·        What role do coastal wetlands play as buffer zones in the event of storm surges or estuarine flooding (“sponge cities”) or in the domain of coastal protection (hybrid/green infrastructure)?