The loss of biodiversity and climate change affect the life in our sea areas. Human activities such as fishing, aquaculture, shipping and sea based energy production continuously expand, leading to increased pressures for the organisms. To be able to observe changes in the marine environment and to take care of and protect important habitats and species, it is necessary to know how the life beneath the surface looks like and where the most valuable and productive sea areas are.
To study the marine nature systematically, extensive field inventories are made through scuba diving and with the help of drop video cameras. Based on the mapping data and spatial modelling, distribution maps are produced for different species and habitats. The surrounding environment, i.e. the water quality (nutrients, salinity, Secchi depth) and exposure affects the nature in our sea areas. Therefore, we also study the effects of eutrophication on algal communities on shallow hard- and soft bottoms.
The results from our research is actively communicated to authorities responsible for managing the marine areas. In Åland Islands, we are collaborating closely with the Government of Åland to improve and expand the marine protected area network. A healthy marine nature with maintained nature values is a prerequisite for utilizing goods and services provided by the sea also in the future.
Research group and collaborators:
Senior Researcher Doc Sonja Salovius-Laurén
Project Researcher FD Tiina Salo
Research Assistent FM Karl Weckström
MSc- student Ellen Rancken
MSc- student Victoria Snickars
Additional collaborators: FD Henna Rinne, Doc Martin Snickars, Doc Marie Nordström, Doc Anna Törnroos-Remes
Managers in Finland and the Åland Islands