Fabien Roquet, Department of Meteorology, Stockholm University
Fabien Roquet, Department of Meteorology, Stockholm University

How would you describe your project in a few sentences?

Baltic Sea water conditions have a major effect on the health and distribution of Baltic grey seals, however few studies have tried to link the behaviour of seals to their environment, probably because of the lack of fine scale oceanographic data. This project investigates how Baltic grey seals can be used as oceanographic samplers providing near real-time data on the animal behaviour and movements while sampling the seawater salinity and temperature along the seals tracks.

What are your most important results, and for whom are they particularly useful?

Fieldwork is planned for the winter 2015/16, most likely in early January 2016. Olle Karlsson (NRM) will be leading field operations. As grey seals usually moult in June, during which GSM-CTD tags will naturally detach, we are hoping for around 6 months of data logging, with the bulk obtained in the middle of the winter.

How can it assist an ecosystem-based management of the marine environment?

Through this project, we aim at:

  1. Learning more about the habitat use of grey seals in a region where interactions between seals and human activities are becoming increasingly common and need to be better understood.
  2. Providing detailed observations of the temperature and salinity distribution associated with fronts, coastal upwellings and Baltic inflows, which bring saline and oxygenated waters from the North Sea into the Baltic Sea.
  3. Complementing hydrographic databases of the Baltic Sea available for validating high-resolution model simulations.

All three of these aims serve highly useful purposes when striving towards a far-sighted and rational management of the natural resources of the Baltic Sea.