Franz Bauer

Franz Bauer


I hold an MSc in Biological Oceanography (Christian-Albrecht University of Kiel) and a BSc in Biosciences (Ruprecht Karl University of Heidelberg). For my MSc thesis, I studied the influence of artificial light at night on the feeding activity of the sea urchin Arbacia lixula from the Adriatic Sea.

After graduating, I worked as a Student Research Assistant in the Benthic Ecology group at GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, testing a novel PlanktoScope for the imaging of plankton communities from the Kiel Fjord (Baltic Sea). I also conducted salinity acclimations of Asterias rubens sea stars from the North Sea, while working at the Kiel Marine Organism Culture Centre (KIMOCC) at GEOMAR.

My wider research interests include experimental benthic ecology and architecture. I hope to combine these interests during my PhD project by investigating the interaction between benthic species and coastal infrastructure. My aim is to develop new design strategies to improve the sustainability and ecological multifunctionality of these man-made structures

PhD title: Retrospective optimisation of multifunctionality on coastal urban infrastructure

Urbanisation is driving the conversion of natural coastal habitats to engineered shorelines (e.g. seawalls). Artificial structures often support lower biodiversity than the natural benthic substrate, due to their lack of three-dimensional surface complexity – thus simplifying biological communities and impacting ecosystem functioning. Marine eco-engineering is becoming a popular environmental solution, aiming to design coastal infrastructure that can bring back life onto engineered shorelines, enhance ecosystem multifunctionality and yield mutual benefits for society and nature. However, to date, coastal eco-engineering solutions have primarily been trialled at experimental scales, making it difficult to predict consequences and benefits when scaled-up to ‘real-world’ scenarios.

During this project, I will evaluate relationships between physical complexity, biodiversity, and ecosystem multifunctionality. This new empirical understanding will be applied to inform the upscaling of marine eco-engineering solutions. Using a combination of in-situ field and laboratory measurements, I will assess key ecosystem functions provided by existing shorelines both with and without established eco-engineering solutions. These measurements will then be used alongside modelling approaches to provide estimates of ecosystem multifunctionality that eco-engineering could provide if scaled-up to larger seascape scales.


  • PROMOS scholarship grant of the German Academic Exchange Service for MSc thesis work (DAAD mobility program) - 2025 €

Other information

– Public online talk for Ocean Summit (April 2022) – “Der Einfluss von Lichtverschmutzung auf Küstenökosysteme” (“The influence of light pollution on coastal ecosystems”)