Many people have asked the question why and what is the point of a marine institute, a tropical marine institute, that is located at 53ºN in northern Germany, far away from the tropics? The answer is in the motto of the institute, “Because global challenges need science without borders.” The ZMT is the only scientific institute in Germany that exclusively investigates tropical and coastal ecosystems and their significance for nature and humans. The ZMT aims to create a scientific basis for the protection and sustainable use of these tropical coastal ecosystems and is dedicated to researching not only the impacts of ecological issues in the tropical marine environments but also the social-economical issues in these areas. There are no other research institutes in the German research landscape that are focused on these existing and emerging societal problems since its founding in 1991 and joined the Leibniz Association in 2009.