Site details

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5 stars - Fully protected as a national park or Natura 2000 site by national legislation
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View from Dierhagen. Photo: D Schiedek

Synoptic description of site:

A natural brackish water biotope, very shallow, several freshwater inflows.

Extensive description of site:

The Darss-Zingst Bodden Chain is a shallow coastal inlet with a maximum depth of 10 m south of the Darss-Zingst peninsula. It consists of 4 semi-enclosed water basins with estuarine character. The salinity gradient (1-10 PSU) is caused by high saline Baltic Sea water inflow from the east and a strong freshwater influence from the west.

Habitats present:
Littoral X 
Seagrass bedsX

Description of fauna and flora:

The site has benthic (about 110 taxa) and pelagic communities typical for shallow brackish water, as well as large reed and seagrass meadows and other brackish water vegetation (e.g. Potamogeton or Chara).

Pristiness: Moderate


Very high primary production due to shallow hydrography and eutrophication, tourism, important bird area, this area is really something in respect to genesis and natural settlement of animals in the Baltic.

Human impact:

During the past 30 years the Bodden chain was subjected to heavy nutrient input due to agriculture resulting in a substantial deposit of nitrogen, phosphorus and organic carbon in the sediments. The trophic status of the water reaches from hypertrophic (Saaler Bodden) to poly- and eutrophic towards the mouth of the Bodden chain (Grabow). Since 1992 the major part of the Darss-Zingst Bodden Chain has been a national park.


The Biological Station Zingst (Rostock University) is situated in the center of the area. In addition, facilities for marine biodiversity research are available at Rostock University, Department of Biology and at the Baltic Sea Research Institute (IOW); both institutions are about 40 km away. All sampling sites are accessible via coastal footpaths.

Available database and website:

A very comprehensive source in regard to biota and chemical-hydrographical data is Rostock University (Department of Biology) and the monograph “Die Darss-Zingster Bodden” (Meer & Museum Vol 16, 2001). The database at IOW contains about 2,200 data on macrobenthic species.

Commitment and ongoing research:

The Department of Biology, Rostock University and the Baltic Sea Research Institute both perform biodiversity related research in this area.