The GERMAN TUSCH Organization and its TUSCH Research Group

During the preparations of the DISCOL project in 1988, Prof. Hjalmar Thiel and Gerd Schriever of the University of Hamburg had several meetings with Dr. U. Schlueter of the Ministry of Science and Technology in Bonn. At one of these meetings, Dr. Schlueter recommended to initiate an interdisciplinary working group for deep-sea environmental protection which was named TUSCH, an acronym from the German translation “Tiefsee-Umwelt-Schutz”. In May 1997, E.J. Foell reported at the Ocean Technology Conference in Houston/Texas about TUSCH as follows:

The TUSCH Organization

“The Research Association for the Environmental Protection of the Deep Sea (TUSCH Research Group), which is made up of scientists representing several German universities and other state and federal government organizations, is responsible for proposing research to be conducted, seeking appropriate sources of funding, planning and carrying out the proposed work, and reporting upon results of the studies. It represents the research arm of the larger TUSCH association which was established in the late 1980s and which draws its membership from a variety of interested industrial, academic and governmental organizations.

Meetings are held at regular intervals, often several times per year, at locations convenient to the attenders. The general topics of discussion include any subject with relevance to the deep ocean, particularly anthropogenic influences and their possible consequences. In its early days, the TUSCH association concentrated mainly on ocean mining and its potential impacts, but the interest of the group has broadened in recent years to include a wider spectrum of potential human activities that may influence the deep sea.

Discussions among the members may focus on a particular problem area or may be quite general, serving simply to update one another on current events of relevance to activities in the deep sea. The diversity of academic backgrounds and work experiences of the TUSCH membership ensures that a variety of points of view are given equal time and due consideration. In addition to the scientists, membership includes individuals with engineering, legal, political, economic and industrial expertise. This often leads to spirited exchanges that permit presentation of conflicting points of view and assist in educating other TUSCH members in areas not normally part of their own field of specialization. This free and open forum has led to creation of a large, broadly-focused inter-disciplinary research program” (Foell et al, 1997).

The TUSCH-group existed until the year 2001, when the final report on the TUSCH research projects was published in “Deep-sea Research II, 48”. For more detailed information about the different projects and their results, please see the DISCOL/TUSCH publication list on this website.


Foell, E. J., H. Bluhm, C. Borowski, H. Thiel, A. Ahnert and G. Schriever (1997): German environmental risk assessments in the Southeastern Pacific Peru Basin: DISCOL revisited; Proceedings of the 29th Annual Offshore Technology Conference, Houston, Texas, May 5-8, 1997; OTC Paper 8345, 549-566.