Habitats - biodiversity under the surface. Below the Baltic Sea surface, the rich variety of plants and animals makes up the corner stone of the sea’s ecosystem. All life is affected by the smallest changes in the ecosystem. Read the latest research, comments and analyses about biodiversity here.
News about biodiversity
Read about our latest research and news on biodiversity:
Policy briefs and fact sheets on biodiversity
Baltic Eye's article archive on biodiversity
Find Baltic Eye's article archive on biodiversity here, with all articles written between 2018–2021. Newer articles are found in the Baltic Eye news feed, see above. Contact us if you are interested in older articles.
Articles from 2021
Baltic Breakfast: Impacts of climate change on the Baltic Sea – the known and the uncertain
2021.12.20: The temperature of air and water in the Baltic Sea region has already increased due to global warming, and it will continue to do so. On this, researchers and their models are certain. But when it comes to factors like precipitation and salinity, the uncertainties in the projections are larger. At the latest Baltic Breakfast, Markus Meier and Anna Rutgersson – two of the scientists in the joint HELCOM/Baltic Earth Expert Network on Climate Change – presented the latest scientific knowledge on the topic.
Comment: EU Soil Strategy treads carefully
2021.12.09: Now it is here – the long-awaited proposal for an EU soil strategy. It treads carefully though, since the Commission’s last trial in 2006 to get a soil directive in place failed. So, this proposal mainly suggests long term objectives for soils and only has few hard core legally binding actions.
When Will They Ever Learn?
2021.09.13: The poor state of the Baltic Sea cod shows that the EU fisheries management system is dysfunctional. The destruction of the stocks could and should have been avoided, writes Charles Berkow, fisheries policy expert at Baltic Sea Centre.
Comment: Too vague recommendations from Baltic Sea parliamentarians
2021.09.03: The resolution on climate change and biodiversity from the Baltic Sea Parliamentarian Conference holds good ambitions, but lacks the level of concretion required to make real change.
Baltic Breakfast: Blue carbon and methane emissions – how coasts and climate are connected
2021.08.31: The coastal ecosystems in the Baltic Sea are important for the climate – both by taking up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and by emitting methane. But are the Baltic Sea coasts net sinks or sources of carbon? At a recent Baltic Breakfast webinar, Camilla Gustafsson and Florian Roth presented their research and launched a new policy brief on the topic.
Baltic Breakfast: Seafood consumption from a sustainability perspective
2021.07.20: Is it sustainable to increase seafood consumption and how could consumers be encouraged to make sustainable choices? These issues were in focus during the last Baltic Breakfast webinar where researchers Sara Hornborg and Malin Jonell participated.
Comment: Positive for biodiversity if EU Parliament votes for limiting bottom trawling
2021.06.04: In a new report from the ENVI Committee on the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 there is support for increased protection for marine protected areas and other sensitive marine habitats, such as coastal areas. Restriction of damaging human activities such as bottom trawling is proposed. In a few days the report is set to be voted on in plenary.
Comment: Stronger Marine Strategy Framework Directive is necessary
2021.05.05: The EU Commission recently launched an open consultation on future possible revision of the MSFD, Marine Strategy Framework Directive. The Commission presents a combined evaluation roadmap/inception impact assessment of the MSFD asking for views on what problems too cover, effectiveness, efficiency, relevance, coherence and EU-added values.
Comment: Biodiversity Strategy has largely failed to protect marine species and habitats in the EU
2021.04.26: Ambitious targets without the intended effect of increased protection, that is the Baltic Sea Centre’s conclusion of the implementation of the EU’s Biodiversity Strategy for 2020. Strict protection is called for, and needs to go hand in hand with restoration of degraded marine ecosystems.
New study: Greater consideration for contaminants is needed in marine monitoring programs
2021.04.13: A new scientific study from Stockholm University shows that environmental contaminants have a greater impact on the Baltic Sea's bottom community than previously known. According to the researchers, consideration must be given to hazardous substances when using small crustaceans and other sediment-dwelling animals to assess how affected different sea areas are by eutrophication and oxygen deficiency.
Does protecting the seas save the climate?
2021.04.01: Bottom trawling not only has consequences for fish and organisms living on the seabed, but can also affect the circulation of substances in the sea and, by extension, the climate. A large international study has estimated how much carbon that is stored on the bottoms and risks being released when they are trawled. But researchers at the Baltic Sea Centre mean that the calculations are uncertain.
Pan-European multi-model assessments can support EU policy decisions
2021.03.31: What effects will an improved nutrient management have on eutrophication, biodiversity and fisheries in the European seas? As an attempt to provide answers to such question, researchers from all over Europe have used a suit if biochemical and ecosystem models to simulate the response of nutrient reductions to indicators used in the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive.
How will the Baltic Sea ecosystem services change in the future?
2021.02.18: If global sustainability goals and the Baltic Sea Action Plan are fully complied with, it is possible to regain valuable fisheries, more swimming days without algal blooms in the summer and a higher biological diversity in the Baltic Sea. If we instead go towards a fossil fuel dependent development, with few regulations on eutrophication and fisheries, several important ecosystem services may be lost. This is shown by research from the BalticAPP project.
Comment: Poor conditions for algae cultivation in the Baltic Sea
2021.01.28: Algae is described in a new EU initiative as a largely untapped resource that can be used to produce food as well as pharmaceuticals and biofuels, with a limited carbon and environmental footprint. However, in the Baltic Sea the opportunities are small for developing profitable algae farms in the near future.
Comment: A Blue Year for the Baltic
2021.01.22: 2020 – was it only bad? The pandemic tended to overshadow everything else, but let us forget about the terrible corona virus for a minute and consider if 2020 brought any positive news for the Baltic Sea and what we can expect of 2021.
Articles from 2020
Comment: "Ambitious objectives but lack substantial tools"
2020.12.21: The EU Commission proposal for the 8th Environment Action Programme until 2030 has ambitious objectives but lack substantial tools.
The great plankton change – good or bad for the Baltic Sea ecosystem?
2020.11.16: The phytoplankton community of the Baltic Sea is changing. A trend towards more cyanobacteria and fewer diatoms affects the entire marine ecosystem. The big question for the marine scientists is: How?
Analysis: Baltic Sea fishing has not gone according to (multiannual) plan
2020.10.07: The decline in Baltic Sea cod and herring cannot be blamed solely on old sins. It must also be seen as a signal that something is not right in the administration, writes the Baltic Sea Center's Henrik Hamrén.
Comment: The EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030
2020.05.20: The new EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 was presented today. The Stockholm University Baltic Sea Centre welcomes the strategy and its increased level of ambition compared to the previous biodiversity strategy for 2020. It contains a number of concrete actions to step up the protection of marine ecosystems in the EU.
Comment: Reply to the roadmap for the Farm to Fork Strategy
2020.03.13: Stockholm University Baltic Sea Centre welcomes the initiative and agrees that the transition to more sustainable food systems need to accelerate. Given an increasing population, increasing incomes and the resulting increases in environmental pressures, we need an accelerating eco-efficiency in our production and consumption of food. Eco-efficiency should be the overarching objective of the strategy.
Researchers: Bottom trawling threatens seafloor integrity
2020.03.03: Bottom trawling has considerable effects on benthic life, but can also lead to a release of nutrients and hazardous chemicals from the sediments. These effects are important to consider when evaluating the effects of fishing on the Baltic Sea environment, say researchers at Stockholm University.
Articles from 2019
Climate change will increase the pressure on the Baltic Sea
2019.12.04: Climate is high on the agenda again. The UN COP25 Climate Change Conference in Madrid, just started. Recently the European parliament approved a resolution declaring a climate and environmental emergency in Europe and globally. Climate change will increase the pressure on the Baltic Sea. Now it is time to start filling the goals with action for our seas.
MPAs – a tool to protect the entire ocean
2019.12.03: Politicians should talk less about how much of the sea is to be protected and more about a 100 percent sustainable use of the sea, says FAOs Fisheries Manager Manuel Barange. But according to researcher Sofia Wikström, marine protection is already a tool for achieving sustainable use of the entire sea - at least within the EU.
This is what the Baltic Sea can expect from the new Commission
2019.12.02: "The expectations on commissioner Sinkevičius are high".
Analysis: Commission misreads science in justifying scrapping subsidies
2019.11.21: The European Commission’s proposal to reintroduce subsidies for scrapping fishing vessels in the Baltic Sea might benefit the eastern Baltic cod. But the way the Commission is selling the proposal is problematic. It’s narrow approach may unnecessarily slow the cod’s recovery, writes Charles Berkow, policy officer at Baltic Sea Centre.
Comment: An important decision and a step forward
2019.10.15: Fisheries and agriculture ministers around the Baltic Sea may have made an important decision at the Council meeting this week.
Articles from 2018
Guest column: Alan Matthews - National CAP strategies important for the marine environment
2018.12.05: Allocation of EU funding for environmentally friendly farming practices will be determined on national levels. For those who want to see reduced nutrient loads from agriculture to the marine environment, it will be important to participate in the design of the CAP Strategic Plans, writes Alan Matthews, Professor Emeritus at Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland.
Nine areas designated for protecting biodiversity in the Baltic Sea
2018.11.29: Researchers have identified nine marine areas in the Baltic Sea that are particularly important for the protection of biodiversity. As of today, they are included in the UN Convention on Biological Diversity.
BLOG: Why do leaves change color in autumn?
2018.10.20: I have been enjoying the beautiful autumn foliage around Stockholm and thought it would be a good time for a refresher on why leaves change colors this time of year.
BLOG: Digging in the mud
2018.10.07: I currently spend most of my time in the office, working with large datasets and computer models. So, I jumped at the opportunity to join a research cruise. It was great to be out of the office and learn first-hand about interesting research being conducted in the Baltic Sea.
Olle Torpman: The Baltic Sea problem – an ethical problem
2018.10.02: The Baltic Sea’s environmental problem can be solved, but, if the region’s actors are to be able to agree on practical solutions, we must start to bring more ethics into the debate, writes the philosopher Olle Torpman.
Baltic Eye’s work is analysed in a new international study
2018.09.14: "Responding to today's environmental challenges requires science to be integrated into politics and practice," says researcher Chris Cvitanovic, author of a new study on Baltic Eye's work to bridge the gap between science and policy.
Seven-year project shows that eutrophic coastal areas can be saved
2018.09.13: By reducing the nutrient load from land and addressing the internal load, eutrophic bays along our coasts can be saved. But the applied measures have to go hand in hand, according to the researchers behind the scientific demonstration project Living coast, which is now presenting its results.
BLOG: Old sins and the sea
2018.08.13: In a new scientific publication, we explored the potential for the accumulated pool of phosphorus on land to leak to the Baltic Sea. Our computer model suggests that about half of current phosphorus loads are due to "old sins." But it is possible that the worst has passed and legacy leakage could decrease in the future.
Guest column: Competitive and eco-friendly agriculture is absolutely essential for the Baltic Sea
2018.08.07: “Having a competitive agricultural sector and funding earmarked for the environment and climate are the most important elements of the new agricultural reform,” writes Fredrick Federley (Centre Party Sweden) in a guest column.
Mussel farming in the Baltic Sea
2018.06.15: According to current knowledge, blue mussel farming is not an efficient measure against eutrophication in the Baltic Sea. Blue mussels grow slowly in brackish water. Besides, large farms risk harming the marine environment more than they benefit it.
Guest column: Small-sized cod weaken economy for fisheries
2018.05.31: The cod stocks in the Baltic Sea currently comprise only small fish, all approximately the same size. Cecilia Hammarlund writes that the imbalance in size composition results in lower earnings for fisheries.
Analysis: Eutrophication demoted in the proposal for the EU's agricultural policy
2018.05.31: As expected, the impact of agriculture on marine environments is not a high priority issue in the European Commission's draft for the new European common agricultural policy. Gun Rudquist from the Baltic Sea Centre at Stockholm University has, however, identified some positive aspects in the proposal.
BLOG: No "silver bullet" to restore the Baltic Sea
2018.05.15: I had the honor of joining a panel discussion organized by Centrum Balticum at the Turku School of Economics in Finland. The question posed to the panel was “Can geo-engineering save the Sea?” The general sentiment among the panelists was that there is no “silver bullet” to reverse eutrophication.
BLOG: The reason for seaons
2018.04.16: As the Earth moves around the sun, it rotates on a tilted axis; this is the cause of seasons.
Guest column: Can we save the Baltic Sea?
2018.04.06: In order to achieve the goals of having a healthy Baltic Sea and sustainable fish stocks, we need to fish a bit less over a period of time, so that the fish can grow and the stocks can recover- which will also result in more stable returns for the fisheries, according to Swedish MEP Linnéa Engström.
The Plastics Strategy - a good tool for reducing marine litter
2018.03.01: Shortly after the European Commission's Plastics Strategy was presented, the Baltic Sea Centre sent a letter to all EU ministers of environment around the Baltic Sea. Policy Officer Hanna Sjölund explains why.
Sweden bans “rinse-off” microplastics in cosmetics
2018.02.06: Soap, toothpaste and other body care products that are directly rinsed off and contain microplastics are now banned in Sweden. The Swedish government adopted the ban on Thursday. Marie Löf from the Baltic Sea Centre describes this as a positive decision for the environment and hopes that the ban will soon be extended to cover non-rinse off products.
BLOG: We all live in a watershed
2018.01.15: What happens upstream doesn't necessarily stay upstream.
Towards a fisheries management more in sync with the ecosystem
2018.01.11: Ecosystem-based management for the Baltic Sea fisheries has long been a mainly theoretical vision. But now a group of dedicated scientists are about to turn theory into practice.
BLOG: What is eutrophication?
2018.01.05: You might be more familiar with the symptoms of eutrophication than the term itself.
Articles from 2017
Large-sized cod at a historic low in the Baltic Sea
2017.12.07: The scarcity of large cod in the Baltic Sea has never been as great as now, a new study shows. If this is a sign of genetic change, we risk creating an ecosystem in which large predatory fish have disappeared.
BLOG: My acorn obsession
2017.10.29: Watching an acorn grow into a seedling helps to pass the long, dark winter.
Comment: Consultation reply: Releases of microplastics in the environment
2017.10.16: Text: Hanna Sjölund.
BLOG: The dead zones
2017.06.29: You probably wouldn’t know one was there unless you had an oxygen meter.
BLOG: Rediscovering curiosity
2017.06.25: As a child, I was shy, quiet, and socially awkward. So I retreated into my head and to books. For some reason, I was particularly drawn to field guides. I wanted to understand the natural world and was fascinated by the variety of everything – trees, birds, rocks, even clouds.
BLOG: Nitrogen changed my life
2017.06.08: Learning about the nitrogen cycle helped my transition from business to science.
New action plan for nature conservation efforts
2017.05.18: Today, 21 May, the European Natura 2000 Day is celebrated for the first time. But up to now the member states have not fulfilled their nature conservation efforts. The European Commission has adopted a new action plan to help them speed up the work. Researcher Sofia Wikström at Baltic Sea Centre urges the Commission to develop sustainable measures for fishing in protected areas.
Effects of microplastics on marine life
2017.05.08: The Baltic Eye policy brief policy on microplastics collects new research showing that microplastics can damage marine animals – even in concentrations found in the environment.
BLOG: Have you met a limnologist?
2017.05.05: Probably not, but we are out there!
Harmful effects of endocrine disruptors are underestimated
2017.04.26: Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) can cause a number of adverse effects in marine animals. And according to a new scientific report, the risks are likely to be underestimated.
Denmark and Germany continue to catch cod - despite ban
2017.02.21: Despite poor population growth and critically low numbers of mature cod, Denmark and Germany allow their fishermen to trawl during the closed period. The decision has both ecological and political implications, says Baltic Eye’s fisheries expert Gustaf Almqvist.
Articles from 2016
Nature Directives are safe – now time to improve the quality
2016.12.07: Today the European Commission took a long awaited decision on the future of the Birds and Habitat Directives. The Commission had previously opened for the possibility that they might revise and, as they put it, modernise the directives, but today’s decision means that the directives remain as they are and that more effort and resources will go to ensuring proper implementation.
The Story of the Baltic Sea 2.0
2016.11.09: Over the years, the human perception of the ocean has changed. Our present-day tale of the Baltic Sea must weave together society, people and the sea, says researcher Susanna Lidström.
Raise the quality of marine protection
2016.11.04: "It is time to raise the quality of marine protection".
Analysis: Restoration – an uncertain investment
2016.10.24: Restoration of underwater habitats is becoming an increasingly common tool for improving the marine environment. But with existing knowledge, it is difficult to predict the chances of success.
Cod stocks are going from bad to worse
2016.10.24: Fishing quotas for the western cod stocks must be cut drastically. In addition, the EU cannot wait any longer to introduce a much more ecosystem-based fisheries management. This is the message in Baltic Eye’s consultation reply to the European Commission regarding next year’s fishing in the Baltic Sea.
Analysis: Fishing permitted despite protection
2016.10.24: If protected areas are to have any real effect, we must limit all harmful activities, including fishing.
Analysis: Finally we have a plan!
2016.07.14: The new multi-annual plan for fisheries in the Baltic Sea, which today has been formally adopted by the European Parliament, will be able to provide Baltic fishermen with better stability and opportunities for long-term planning.
Stimulating workshop about EBFM
2016.06.29: Last week 50+ people from science, policy and fisheries sectors met in Stockholm to discuss how to implement an ecosystem based fisheries management (EBFM) in the Baltic Sea.
Last updated: January 30, 2023