Our mission

Based on a variety of modelling efforts and the knowledge of key actors, we will explore possible adaptation measures and derive recommendations on governance in order to reduce the risk of tipping point impacts on the regional economy and increase the resilience of Peru's coastal communities.

Work and study with us

The interdisciplinary orientation of the project offers students and doctoral students from various disciplines the opportunity to write their thesis in one of the relevant fields. The DAAD's PROMOS programme offers support for research stays as part of the Bachelor's or Master's thesis.

Discover // Engage

Find further publications about our research!

On the move: The role of mobility and migration as a coping strategy for resource users after abrupt environmental disturbance

Artisanal fishing boats in Sechura during data gathering for this publication. Image: Lotta C. Kluger

The empirical example of the Coastal El Niño 2017

 With a particular emphasis on the province of Sechura, this work attempts to shed light on how and why migration flows differ for fishers and scallop farmers and to explore future pathways in the context of post-disturbance recovery. About one year after the disturbance event, the small-scale fishery operated almost on a regular scale, while the aquaculture sector still struggled towards pre-El Niño conditions, reflected, for example, in a higher percentage of persons engaging in other economic activities within and outside the region. 

The results of this study demonstrate the importance of human movement and translocal social networks emerging in moments of crisis and should be considered for future development of long-term management strategies incorporating increasing interconnectedness of places on different scales in the face of future disturbance events. Understanding adaptation strategies of resource users in this particular social-ecological setting will further serve to inform other coastal systems prone to (re-occurring) environmental change by highlighting the diversity of socio-economic and natural drivers that can stipulate mobility and affect adaptive capacity of resource users.

For more Information please contact:

Dr. Lotta Kuger

Leibniz Center for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT) 
WG Ressource Management
Fahrenheitstr. 6
28359 Bremen

Tel. +49 421 238 00-42

The publication can be found here.


Health crisis and small-scale fishing: infrastructure, outbreaks and vectors

Progression of COVID-19 infections in Pisco and Sechura from April 1 to May 2, 2020. Source: DIRESA Ica, DIRESA Piura. Own elaboration.

A representative case is that of DPA José Olaya Balandra in the district of San Andrés, the main landing and collection center for Pisco and the supply point for the Villa María del Triunfo and Ventanilla Fishing Terminals in Lima. At the beginning of April, four middlemen from San Andrés tested positive for COVID-19. According to the count of the cases, the infections were reported in the Villa María del Triunfo Fishing Terminal. It is worth noting that, a month after this episode, San Andrés has the highest number of infections in the province: 41 cases out of a total of 111.

As a preventive measure, four DPAs in Pisco5 were closed for the whole month of April; six DPAs6 in Arequipa frequented by traders from San Andrés were closed for a week; and the Villa María Terminal was closed for fifteen days for the disinfection of infrastructure and the implementation of protocols for the prevention of COVID-19. As a result, the supply of hydrobiological resources to the city of Lima was interrupted for two weeks, but even after the service was restarted, the volumes of sales have not recovered.

Supply of hydrobiological resources in the Wholesale Market of Villa María del Triunfo (kg/day, April 2018-2020). Source: PRODUCE7.Own elaboration.

In Pisco, the necessary closure of the DPAs, accompanied by operations to prevent unloading in areas that are not allowed, has paralyzed the activity of thousands of fishermen, longshoremen, marketers, transporters and processors, who have not been receiving income for a month. In Sechura, where the DPAs are still operating, but the health services have demonstrated their precariousness, the fishermen have voluntarily suspended their work to avoid contamination. Although DPA José Olaya is awaiting its next reopening, a sector of the population is opposed to it for fear that it will become a focus of infection.

At the beginning of April, SANIPES published a guide detailing the measures to be implemented in the fishing infrastructure to prevent the spread of COVID-19. However, the guide does not consider clear actions with respect to the transport units, whose agents have greater mobility and are the point of contact between fishing towns and areas of agglomeration such as the fishing terminals. It is necessary that the DPAs have measures that guarantee the sanitary conditions of their users, this is more urgent in remote areas where access is complicated and health services are precarious or non-existent.

Sanitary conditions in and between transport units should be regulated and contact between traders and transporters should be moderated. This requires that control measures be extended beyond the margins of the fishing infrastructure and static trade agents. It is recommended, for example:

  • Establish strict distance measures between chambers and restrict the movement of traders and transporters both inside the DPAs and Fishing Terminals, and in the parking lots and surroundings where commercial activity usually spreads.
  • Control the temperature of transporters and merchants when entering the DPAs and fishing terminals.
  • Carry out COVID-19 screening campaigns aimed at traders and transporters in the DPAs and fishing terminals. This should include not only resident merchants but also visitors who could be carriers.
  • Promote the use of bank transfers per application for transactions between merchants/transporter and merchants in the wholesale and retail markets, and thus avoid hand-to-hand contact and handling of money.
  • Encourage the participation of members of artisanal fishers' organizations in monitoring and surveillance activities in the fishing infrastructures they manage.

Looking back at the first collaborative field work phase of WP7 & 5 in Peru

Part of the team in Laguna Grande (Independencia Bay) in November 2019. Picture taken by Coyote (Luis Delgado from IMARPE) who very kindly inform us about the Bay with great enthusiasm.

Notes from the field: Looking into the Future, adaptive strategies and governance.

In addition, the team also conducted qualitative research to characterize the marine-costal governance regime of the areas. The selection of the field sites was based on previous German-Peruvian collaborative projects and the importance of artisanal fisheries, aquaculture and tourism activities taking place. More specifically, a central workshop was held in Lima aiming at identifying the social perceptions on how the Northern Current Upwelling System could look like in 20 years in the context of changing environmental and socio-economic factors such as pollution, coastal use and population, social organization and environmental variability. In addition, for the resulting images about the future, challenges and conflicts among and for the different spheres (public policy, research, civil society) were explored. Finally, the participatory process was used also to explore different understandings of the sustainability of the MSES (Marine Socio-Ecological Systems). 

Once in the regions (the Bays of Sechura and Independencia), the team aimed at exploring the imagined futures in Lima at a regional scale to more specifically assess how marine and coastal activities have been (and are being) threatened by environmental and socio-economic drivers in recent years. Furthermore, the adaptive capacity of the communities to changes was also explored.

The results of the research will be available in April through a report that will be published online and diffused throughout the communities. The team wants to gratefully thank all the participants who very kindly collaborated with us and is looking forward to build on this work in the following fieldwork phases about to come. 


Humboldt Tipping participating at 35th Ecopath with Ecosim (EwE) Anniversary gathering in Florida

Alonso del Solar at the 35th Ecopath with Ecosim (EwE) Anniversary gathering in front of his scientific Poster. Image: Alonso del Solar

Ecological and socio-economic tipping points of coastal areas within the Northern Humboldt current System

He also works on questions related to fisheries and aquaculture activities affecting ecosystem structure, maturity and resilience in coastal bay areas of the Northern Humboldt current System, such as Sechura and Independencia. In both bays, upwelling has led to a very productive multi-species and multi-gear artisanal fishery and to the development of more recent marine aquaculture endeavours, mainly scallops.

Alonso´s study approach includes reconstructing and updating EwE models of both bays, and use ecosystem indices to compare them, to simulate temporal and spatial scenarios, and to explore relevant tipping-point configurations. Furthermore, he will couple EwE models with socio-economic models and fishers network analysis to evaluate management strategies in the context of tipping points.

Even though the data is still underway, he was able to present and discuss the main questions and ideas related to his PhD thesis and to the Humboldt-Tipping Project itself to an interested community of conference attendees and organizers. 

For more information, please contact:

Alonso del Solar







Celebrating the 250ties birthday of Alexander von Humboldt at Goethe Institut in Lima

Alexander von Humboldt vor Chimborazo, detail lithograph of Carl Wild after Painting of Karl J. Begas.

Following an invitation of the German Embassy in Lima

While Guevara focused on the description of the Peruvian ecosystem and how Humboldt got to know and measure the water temperatures, Wolff discussed questions related to the scientific work and societal impact that von Humboldt had during his times and beyond, reflecting on hypothetical recommendations that he would give to young scientists if he would still be alive.

A remarkable audience consisting of students, IMARPE colleagues, ambassadors, members of the Goethe Institute and many other interested people had shown up to enjoy this two hours event reflected in a lively discussion afterwards. It became quite evident that Alexander von Humboldt and his remarkable scientific work continues to be of great interest to many Peruvians and those working around Peruvian coasts.

In the morning of the next day, an homage for Alexander von Humboldt was celebrated through a visit and reception at the research vessel 'Humboldt' in Callao. The German Ambassador and his group, Prof. Matthias Wolff and the IMARPE director  Dr. Renato Guevara and his staff participated. Besides several presentations given by the captain, the IMARPE director and the ambassador, a medal was handed over to the IMARPE director by the ambassador in memory of Alexander von Humboldt and the fruitful collaboration in marine research between Germany and Peru over the past decades. The Humboldt Tipping Project was mentioned as an important current collaboration project.