Ioanna Merkouriadi, PhD Department of Physics, University of Helsinki
Ioanna Merkouriadi, Department of Physics, University of Helsinki

How would you describe your project in a few sentences?

The project “Coastal ecosystem response to climate change” is a multidisciplinary work. The idea was to gather, analyze and relate hydrographic and water quality data from the coastal Baltic Sea and discuss the effects of a warming climate on this interactive relationship. The main research area was Himmerfjärden Bay, located on the Swedish coast, but the result can be generalized to the central Baltic Sea.

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

We managed to examine the spring development of the physical and ecological water properties along a ~35 km transect from the coast towards the open sea. The hydrography conditions provide essential information related to the stratification of the water column and the coastal water kinetics. These, in turn, have an impact to the spatial and temporal distribution of the water ecological properties. By evaluating and quantifying the impact, we provide an insight to the coastal research and management community of the Baltic Sea.

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

The Baltic Sea is particularly vulnerable, due to its brackish nature and the long residence time of its water masses. In addition, it is partly surrounded by heavily populated and industrialized land, which makes the coastal water quality exceptionally connected to numerous environmental and socio-economic aspects. The Baltic Sea is also one of the most studied seas in the world, with a solid, long-term data base of marine records. Studies focused on the relation between physical and ecological properties are essential in order to provide a holistic approach towards ecosystem-based management.