Research diving

Sampling with the help of scientific divers has been an important part of the investigation methods at IfAÖ since 1995. Our research divers are deployed exclusively in accordance with the DGUV rule "Deployment of research divers". As one of the few private-sector institutes, the IfAÖ is an active member of the professional association of the KFT (Commission for Research Diving Germany).

The focus of scientific diving at the IfAÖ is the selective and gentle investigation of sensitive and difficult-to-access aquatic habitats. These include shallow coastal waters in the North Sea and Baltic Sea, but also lakes and flowing waters. With the help of our experienced and dedicated scientists in the diving team, we can sample these with non-invasive or low-invasive methods while maintaining the highest safety standards. In the coastal sea, as well as in easily navigable waters, we can be deployed quickly and flexibly with our institute-owned workboats such as "FASTER CUT".

Key services

Monitoring of natural habitats
  • Mapping and sampling of Natura 2000 and FFH habitats e.g.:
    • 1110 Sandbanks with only slight permanent overtopping by seawater (sublittoral sandbanks)
    • 1150 Lagoons of the coastal area (beach lakes)
    • 1160 Shallow large inlets and bays (shallow water zones and seagrass beds)
    • 1170 Reefs
  • Investigations of habitats within the framework of the EU Water Framework Directive (EU-WFD) according to
    • MarBiT (Macrozoobenthos) and
    • BALCOSIS (Macrophytes)

Monitoring and investigation of underwater construction measures
  • Monitoring and evaluation of renaturation and compensation measures
  • Fouling on underwater structures (offshore wind turbines*, pipeline scraper samples)
  • Targeted sampling for the detection of neobiota
  • Installation of measuring systems and test arrangements e.g. for the
    • Investigation of the 2 Kelvin specification for the heating of sediments
    • Test series on the infestation development of the shipworm Teredo navalis*
  • Assessment of wood structures, B. for infestation T. navalis

*execution with commissioned professional divers

Divers on duty under water
Source: Martin Siegel
Method equipment
  • Hand-guided sediment samplers (open and closed sampling boxes and tubes of various sizes and volumes for sampling and analysis of soft soil)
  • Scraping frames and scraping systems for the sampling and analysis of organisms on hard floors
  • Collection frames for the collection and analysis of organisms, e.g. according to MarBiT and BALCOSIS
  • In situ mapping with taxonomically trained professionals
  • Different counting frames for estimating the degree of cover (e.g. of macrophytes)
  • General and specialised photo documentation (e.g. recording of precisely defined areas)
  • Video documentation


Diving group leader
Dipl. Biologist Stefanie Breyer

+49 38204 618-33
E breyer(at)