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Osterblom H.,University of Stockholm | Gardmark A.,Institute of Coastal Research | Bergstrom L.,Institute of Coastal Research | Muller-Karulis B.,Latvian Institute of Aquatic Ecology | And 9 more authors.
Marine Policy

Effectively reducing cumulative impacts on marine ecosystems requires co-evolution between science, policy and practice. Here, long-term social-ecological changes in the Baltic Sea are described, illustrating how the process of making the ecosystem approach operational in a large marine ecosystem can be stimulated. The existing multi-level governance institutions are specifically set up for dealing with individual sectors, but do not adequately support an operational application of the ecosystem approach. The review of ecosystem services in relation to regime shifts and resilience of the Baltic Sea sub-basins, and their driving forces, points to a number of challenges. There is however a movement towards a new governance regime. Bottom-up pilot initiatives can lead to a diffusion of innovation within the existing governance framework. Top-down, enabling EU legislation, can help stimulating innovations and re-organizing governance structures at drainage basin level to the Baltic Sea catchment as a whole. Experimentation and innovation at local to the regional levels is critical for a transition to ecosystem-based management. Establishing science-based learning platforms at sub-basin scales could facilitate this process. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Medne R.,Latvian Institute of Aquatic Ecology | Balode M.,University of Latvia

The objective of this work was to detect and compare blood parameters of European flounder (Platichthys flesus), herring (Clupea harertgus membras), eelpout (Zoarces viviparous) and perch (Perca fluviatilis) at the Eastern and Western coast of the Gulf of Riga. The number of erythrocytes in herring of the Gulf of Riga ranges from 1. 45 to 2. 57 × 1012/L. At the same time no statistically significant difference in red blood cells (RBC) count between herring of both coasts was detected. The most common white blood cells in GoR herring blood smear were lymphocytes ranging from 73 to 94%. The number of lymphoblasts was very small (0-4%), indicating that herring of the GoR is not exposed to chronic stress. The number of erythrocytes in flounder ranged from 0. 8 to 2. 65 × 1012/L, but hemoglobin-from 4. 7 to 16. 5 g/dL. RBC count and hemoglobin level in European flounder did not differ between coasts however hematocrit was significantly higher at the Eastern coast. White blood cell count in flounder near the Western and Eastern coast was almost equal. Blood indices in eelpouts were slightly higher at the Eastern cost. Slightly higher number of red blood cells and significantly higher hemoglobin level has been observed in perch feeding near the Eastern coast, indicating physiological disturbances of fish. Although hematological analysis pointed at slightly worse living conditions of fish at the Eastern coast, in general hematological picture did not give evidence of fish welfare decline in the Gulf of Riga. © 2012 Pleiades Publishing, Ltd. Source

Andersson A.,Umea University | Jurgensone I.,Latvian Institute of Aquatic Ecology | Rowe O.F.,Umea University | Simonelli P.,University of Bergen | And 3 more authors.

A common and established view is that increased inputs of nutrients to the sea, for example via river flooding, will cause eutrophication and phytoplankton blooms in coastal areas. We here show that this concept may be questioned in certain scenarios. Climate change has been predicted to cause increased inflow of freshwater to coastal areas in northern Europe. River waters in these areas are often brown from the presence of high concentrations of allochthonous dissolved organic carbon (humic carbon), in addition to nitrogen and phosphorus. In this study we investigated whether increased inputs of humic carbon can change the structure and production of the pelagic food web in the recipient seawater. In a mesocosm experiment unfiltered seawater from the northern Baltic Sea was fertilized with inorganic nutrients and humic carbon (CNP), and only with inorganic nutrients (NP). The system responded differently to the humic carbon addition. In NP treatments bacterial, phytoplankton and zooplankton production increased and the systems turned net autotrophic, whereas the CNP-treatment only bacterial and zooplankton production increased driving the system to net heterotrophy. The size-structure of the food web showed large variations in the different treatments. In the enriched NP treatments the phytoplankton community was dominated by filamentous >20 μm algae, while in the CNP treatments the phytoplankton was dominated by picocyanobacteria <5 μm. Our results suggest that climate change scenarios, resulting in increased humic-rich river inflow, may counteract eutrophication in coastal waters, leading to a promotion of the microbial food web and other heterotrophic organisms, driving the recipient coastal waters to net-heterotrophy. © 2013 Andersson et al. Source

Strode E.,University of Latvia | Balode M.,University of Latvia | Balode M.,Latvian Institute of Aquatic Ecology

Benthic organisms are important components of aquatic ecosystems and have been widely used to assess environmental pollution. Being very sensitive to a wide range of toxicants amphipods are often used as test objects in eco-toxicological studies. The aim of this study was to compare toxico-resistance of various Baltic amphipod species to exposure of heavy metals. The acute toxicity (48-h LC50 and 96-h LC50) of cadmium (CdCl2), copper (CuSO4) and zinc (ZnSO4 • 7H2O) was detected experimentally, using juveniles and adults of brackish water amphipods, Monoporeia affinis, Bathyporeia pilosa, Gammarus tigrinus, Pontogammarus robustoides and the freshwater amphipod Gammarus pulex as test objects. Amphipods were collected in Latvian territorial waters of the Open Baltic Sea, the Gulf of Riga and in a freshwater body (Kalkugrava canal). Sensitivity of native amphipod species was compared to Hyalella azteca (a species widespread in North America; a strain obtained from the Chesapeake Culture Collection, Hayes, VA, U.S.A.). High sensitivity of all tested amphipod species, except M. affinis, to heavy metals was observed. A two-way ANOVA analysis showed significant differences in toxico-resistance of selected test objects (p≤0.05). The highest toxico-resistance was shown by the brackish water amphipod M. affinis (96-h LC50: Cd 5.16 mg/l; Cu 5.68 mg/l; Zn 11.31 mg/l), but the lowest by the freshwater species G. pulex and H. azteca (96-h LC50 for Cd 0.005 and 0.007 mg/l, accordingly). Cadmium was the most toxic from the tested heavy metals, followed by copper and zinc. © Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2013. Source

Olenina I.,Klaipeda University | Olenina I.,University of Bergen | Wasmund N.,Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research | Hajdu S.,University of Stockholm | And 7 more authors.
Marine Pollution Bulletin

There is an increasing understanding and requirement to take into account the effects of invasive alien species (IAS) in environmental quality assessments. While IAS are listed amongst the most important factors threatening marine biodiversity, information on their impacts remains unquantified, especially for phytoplankton species. This study attempts to assess the impacts of invasive alien phytoplankton in the Baltic Sea during 1980-2008. A bioinvasion impact assessment method (BPL - biopollution level index) was applied to phytoplankton monitoring data collected from eleven sub-regions of the Baltic Sea. BPL takes into account abundance and distribution range of an alien species and the magnitude of the impact on native communities, habitats and ecosystem functioning. Of the 12 alien/cryptogenic phytoplankton species recorded in the Baltic Sea only one (the dinoflagellate Prorocentrum minimum) was categorized as an IAS, causing a recognizable environmental effect. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. Source

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