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TitleHistorical environmental measurements reveal drastic decrease on Baltic Sea keystone species
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LicencePlease note the adoption of the Open Government Licence - Canada supersedes any previous licences.
AuthorSahla, M; Kurvinen, L; Ruuskanen, A
SourceProgram and abstracts: 2017 GeoHab Conference, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada; by Todd, B JORCID logo; Brown, C J; Lacharité, M; Gazzola, V; McCormack, E; Geological Survey of Canada, Open File 8295, 2017 p. 103, Open Access logo Open Access
LinksGeoHab 2017
PublisherNatural Resources Canada
Meeting2017 GeoHab: Marine Geological and Biological Habitat Mapping; Dartmouth, NS; CA; May 1-4, 2017
Documentopen file
Mediaon-line; digital
RelatedThis publication is contained in Program and abstracts: 2017 GeoHab Conference, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada
File formatpdf
AreaBaltic Sea
Lat/Long WENS 10.0000 30.5000 66.0000 53.7500
Subjectsmarine geology; surficial geology/geomorphology; environmental geology; Nature and Environment; mapping techniques; oceanography; marine environments; coastal studies; conservation; marine organisms; marine ecology; resource management; biological communities; environmental studies; ecosystems; biotopes; benthos; algae; suspended sediments; sedimentation rates; modelling; water quality; salinity; turbidity; sea level changes; Fucus; Biology; Methodology; Plants
Illustrationssketch maps
ProgramOffshore Geoscience
Released2017 09 26
AbstractHuman activities have been drastically reshaping the distribution of Baltic marine biotopes during the past 100 years. The Baltic Sea is especially vulnerable to human pressures due to its limited water exchange. A large variety of human activities occur in the marine areas. However some of the most notable pressures, such as eutrophication and increased sedimentation, can be traced to activities happening in the surrounding drainage areas. Eutrophication increases the amount of algal material in the water column, which together with suspended sediments can reduce the light penetration significantly. Light availability is crucial for benthic plants and therefor declining light penetration will result in deep areas becoming unsuitable for plant growth.
In this study we have combined new habitat modeling techniques and historical water quality data to show how changes in light availability have affected to the extent of favorable areas for bladderwrack (Fucus spp.), which is one of the most important keystone species in the northern Baltic Sea. This study is as far as we know the first attempt to quantify large scale change of favorable areas for bladderwrack using spatial analysis. We have found that decreased light availability at the seafloor has reduced suitable areas for Fucus spp. in Finnish coastal waters up to 60% during past 100 years. Similar trend has been found when examining long term surveillance data on maximum depth limits on Fucus spp. occurrence during the past decades.
We have been able to successfully map areas where large scale habitat degradation has been taking place. The results are being used in the assessment of Finnish Red List of Ecosystems and the methodology is applied for other biotopes as well. The resulting data can also be used when making conservation and restoration plans for marine areas. The importance of these findings lies in future planning. We know now what kind of status can again be achieved if sufficient protection measures are taken into action. We can also use this methodology to project future scenarios for habitat distribution with changes in salinity, nutrients, turbidity or even sea level rise.
Summary(Plain Language Summary, not published)
The sixteenth annual GeoHab Conference was held this year (2017) at the Waterfront Campus of the Nova Scotia Community College in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada.

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