Browsing by Subject "BALTIC SEA"

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  • McCrackin, Michelle L.; Muller-Karulis, Baerbel; Gustafsson, Bo G.; Howarth, Robert W.; Humborg, Christoph; Svanbäck, Annika; Swaney, Dennis P. (2018)
    There is growing evidence that the release of phosphorus (P) from legacy stores can frustrate efforts to reduce P loading to surface water from sources such as agriculture and human sewage. Less is known, however, about the magnitude and residence times of these legacy pools. Here we constructed a budget of net anthropogenic P inputs to the Baltic Sea drainage basin and developed a three-parameter, two-box model to describe the movement of anthropogenic P though temporary (mobile) and long-term (stable) storage pools. Phosphorus entered the sea as direct coastal effluent discharge and via rapid transport and slow, legacy pathways. The model reproduced past waterborne P loads and suggested an similar to 30-year residence time in the mobile pool. Between 1900 and 2013, 17 and 27 Mt P has accumulated in the mobile and stable pools, respectively. Phosphorus inputs to the sea have halved since the 1980s due to improvements in coastal sewage treatment and reductions associated with the rapid transport pathway. After decades of accumulation, the system appears to have shifted to a depletion phase; absent further reductions in net anthropogenic P input, future waterborne loads could decrease. Presently, losses from the mobile pool contribute nearly half of P loads, suggesting that it will be difficult to achieve substantial near-term reductions. However, there is still potential to make progress toward eutrophication management goals by addressing rapid transport pathways, such as overland flow, as well as mobile stores, such as cropland with large soil-P reserves.
  • Huttunen, Inese; Hyytiäinen, Kari; Huttunen, Markus; Sihvonen, Matti; Veijalainen, Noora; Korppoo, Marie; Heiskanen, Anna-Stiina (2021)
    This paper introduces a framework for extending global climate and socioeconomic scenarios in order to study agricultural nutrient pollution on an individual catchment scale. Our framework builds on and extends Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs) and Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs) at the spatial and temporal scales that are relevant for the drivers of animal husbandry, manure recycling and the application of inorganic fertilisers in crop production. Our case study area is the Aura river catchment in South-West Finland, which discharges into the heavily eutrophic Baltic Sea. The Aura river catchment has intensive agriculture - both livestock and crop production. Locally adjusted and interpreted climate and socioeconomic scenarios were used as inputs to a field-level economic optimisation in order to study how farmers might react to the changing markets and climate conditions under different SSPs. The results on economically optimal fertilisation levels were then used as inputs to the spatially and temporally explicit nutrient loading model (VEMALA). Alternative manure recycling strategies that matched with SSP narratives were studied as means to reduce the phosphorus (P) overfertilisation in areas with high livestock density. According to our simulations, on average the P loads increased by 18% during 2071-2100 from the current level and the variation in P loads between scenarios was large (from & minus;14% to +50%). By contrast, the nitrogen (N) loads had decreased on average by & minus;9% (with variation from & minus;20% to +3%) by the end of the current century. Phosphorus loading was most sensitive to manure recycling strategies and the speed of climate change. Nitrogen loading was less sensitive to changes in climate and socioeconomic drivers. (c) 2021 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
  • Wilson, Samuel T.; Bange, Hermann W.; Arevalo-Martinez, Damian L.; Barnes, Jonathan; Borges, Alberto; Brown, Ian; Bullister, John L.; Burgos, Macarena; Capelle, David W.; Casso, Michael; de la Paz, Mercedes; Farias, Laura; Fenwick, Lindsay; Ferron, Sara; Garcia, Gerardo; Glockzin, Michael; Karl, David M.; Kock, Annette; Laperriere, Sarah; Law, Cliff S.; Manning, Cara C.; Marriner, Andrew; Myllykangas, Jukka-Pekka; Pohlman, John W.; Rees, Andrew P.; Santoro, Alyson E.; Tortell, Philippe D.; Upstill-Goddard, Robert C.; Wisegarver, David P.; Zhang, Gui-Ling; Rehder, Gregor (2018)
    Large-scale climatic forcing is impacting oceanic biogeochemical cycles and is expected to influence the water-column distribution of trace gases, including methane and nitrous oxide. Our ability as a scientific community to evaluate changes in the water-column inventories of methane and nitrous oxide depends largely on our capacity to obtain robust and accurate concentration measurements that can be validated across different laboratory groups. This study represents the first formal international intercomparison of oceanic methane and nitrous oxide measurements whereby participating laboratories received batches of seawater samples from the subtropical Pacific Ocean and the Baltic Sea. Additionally, compressed gas standards from the same calibration scale were distributed to the majority of participating laboratories to improve the analytical accuracy of the gas measurements. The computations used by each laboratory to derive the dissolved gas concentrations were also evaluated for inconsistencies (e.g., pressure and temperature corrections, solubility constants). The results from the intercomparison and intercalibration provided invaluable insights into methane and nitrous oxide measurements. It was observed that analyses of seawater samples with the lowest concentrations of methane and nitrous oxide had the lowest precisions. In comparison, while the analytical precision for samples with the highest concentrations of trace gases was better, the variability between the different laboratories was higher: 36 % for methane and 27 % for nitrous oxide. In addition, the comparison of different batches of seawater samples with methane and nitrous oxide concentrations that ranged over an order of magnitude revealed the ramifications of different calibration procedures for each trace gas. Finally, this study builds upon the intercomparison results to develop recommendations for improving oceanic methane and nitrous oxide measurements, with the aim of precluding future analytical discrepancies between laboratories.
  • Jokela, Jouni; Oftedal, Linn; Herfindal, Lars; Permi, Perttu; Wahlsten, Matti; Doskeland, Stein Ove; Sivonen, Kaarina (2012)
  • Egger, Matthias; Kraal, Peter; Jilbert, Tom; Sulu-Gambari, Fatimah; Sapart, Celia J.; Röckmann, Thomas; Slomp, Caroline P. (2016)
    The surface sediments in the Black Sea are underlain by extensive deposits of iron (Fe)-oxide-rich lake sediments that were deposited prior to the inflow of marine Mediterranean Sea waters ca. 9000 years ago. The subsequent downward diffusion of marine sulfate into the methane-bearing lake sediments has led to a multitude of diagenetic reactions in the sulfate-methane transition zone (SMTZ), including anaerobic oxidation of methane (AOM) with sulfate. While the sedimentary cycles of sulfur (S), methane and Fe in the SMTZ have been extensively studied, relatively little is known about the diagenetic alterations of the sediment record occurring below the SMTZ. Here we combine detailed geochemical analyses of the sediment and porewater with multicomponent diagenetic modeling to study the diagenetic alterations below the SMTZ at two sites in the western Black Sea. We focus on the dynamics of Fe, S and phosphorus (P), and demonstrate that diagenesis has strongly overprinted the sedimentary burial records of these elements. In line with previous studies in the Black Sea, we show that sulfate-mediated AOM substantially enhances the downward diffusive flux of sulfide into the deep limnic deposits. During this downward sulfidization, Fe oxides, Fe carbonates and Fe phosphates (e.g., vivianite) are converted to sulfide phases, leading to an enrichment in solid-phase S and the release of phosphate to the porewater. Below the sulfidization front, high concentrations of dissolved ferrous Fe (Fe2+) lead to sequestration of downward-diffusing phosphate as authigenic vivianite, resulting in a transient accumulation of total P directly below the sulfidization front. Our model results further demonstrate that downward-migrating sulfide becomes partly re-oxidized to sulfate due to reactions with oxidized Fe minerals, fueling a cryptic S cycle and thus stimulating slow rates of sulfate-driven AOM (similar to 1-100 pmol cm(-3) d(-1)) in the sulfate-depleted limnic deposits. However, this process is unlikely to explain the observed release of dissolved Fe2+ below the SMTZ. Instead, we suggest that besides organoclastic Fe oxide reduction and reactivation of less reactive Fe oxides by methanogens, AOM coupled to the reduction of Fe oxides may also provide a possible mechanism for the high concentrations of Fe2+ in the porewater at depth. Our results reveal that methane plays a key role in the diagenetic alterations of Fe, S and P records in Black Sea sediments. The downward sulfidization into the limnic deposits is enhanced through sulfate-driven AOM with sulfate, and AOM with Fe oxides may provide a deep source of dissolved Fe2+ that drives the sequestration of P in vivianite below the sulfidization front.
  • Ning, Wenxin; Nielsen, Anne Birgitte; Norbäck Ivarsson, Lena; Jilbert, Thomas Stephen; Åkesson, Christine; Slomp, Caroline P.; Andren, Elinor; Broström, Anne; Filipsson, Helena L. (2018)
    Coastal environments have experienced large ecological changes as a result of human activities over the last 100-200 years. To understand the severity and potential consequences of such changes, paleoenvironmental records provide important contextual information. The Baltic Sea coastal zone is naturally a vulnerable system and subject to significant human-induced impacts. To put the recent environmental degradation in the Baltic coastal zone into a long-term perspective, and to assess the natural and anthropogenic drivers of environmental change, we present sedimentary records covering the last 1000 years obtained from a coastal inlet (Gasfjarden) and a nearby lake (Lake Storsjon) in Sweden. We investigate the links between a pollen-based land cover reconstruction from Lake Storsjon and paleoenvironmental variables from Gasfjarden itself, including diatom assemblages, organic carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) contents, stable C and N isotopic ratios, and biogenic silica contents. The Lake Storsjon record shows that regional land use was characterized by small-scale agricultural activity between 900 and 1400 CE, which slightly intensified between 1400 and 1800 CE. Substantial expansion of cropland was observed between 1800 and 1950 CE, before afforestation between 1950 and 2010 CE. From the Gasfjarden record, prior to 1800 CE, relatively minor changes in the diatom and geochemical proxies were found. The onset of cultural eutrophication in Gasfjarden can be traced to the 1800s and intensified land use is identified as the main driver. Anthropogenic activities in the 20th century have caused unprecedented ecosystem changes in the coastal inlet, as reflected in the diatom composition and geochemical proxies. (c) 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
  • Robertson, Elizabeth K.; Bartoli, Marco; Bruechert, Volker; Dalsgaard, Tage; Hall, Per O. J.; Hellemann, Dana; Hietanen, Susanna; Zilius, Mindaugas; Conley, Daniel J. (2019)
    Determining accurate rates of benthic nitrogen (N) removal and retention pathways from diverse environments is critical to our understanding of process distribution and constructing reliable N budgets and models. The whole-core N-15 isotope pairing technique (IPT) is one of the most widely used methods to determine rates of benthic nitrate-reducing processes and has provided valuable information on processes and factors controlling N removal and retention in aquatic systems. While the whole core IPT has been employed in a range of environments, a number of methodological and environmental factors may lead to the generation of inaccurate data and are important to acknowledge for those applying the method. In this review, we summarize the current state of the whole core IPT and highlight some of the important steps and considerations when employing the technique. We discuss environmental parameters which can pose issues to the application of the IPT and may lead to experimental artifacts, several of which are of particular importance in environments heavily impacted by eutrophication. Finally, we highlight the advances in the use of the whole-core IPT in combination with other methods, discuss new potential areas of consideration and encourage careful and considered use of the whole-core IPT. With the recognition of potential issues and proper use, the whole-core IPT will undoubtedly continue to develop, improve our understanding of benthic N cycling and allow more reliable budgets and predictions to be made.
  • Haavisto, Noora; Tuomi, Laura; Roiha, Petra; Siiria, Simo-Matti; Alenius, Pekka; Purokoski, Tero (2018)
    We made an assessment of the hydrography in the Bothnian Sea based on data collected by the Argo floats during the first 6 years of operation in the Bothnian Sea (2012-2017). We evaluated the added value of Argo data related to the pre-existing monitoring data. The optimal usage and profiling frequency of Argo floats was also evaluated and the horizontal and vertical coverage of the profiles were assessed. For now we lose 4 m of data from the surface due to sensor design and some meters from the bottom because of the low resolution of available bathymetry data that is used to avoid bottom collisions. Mean monthly temperature and salinity close to surface and below halocline from the float data were within the boundaries given in literature, although some variation was lost due to scarcity of winter profiles. The temporal coverage of the Argo data is much better than that of ship monitoring, but some spatial variability is lost since the floats are confined in the over 100 m deep area of the Bothnian Sea. The possibility to adjust the float profiling frequency according to weather forecasts was successfully demonstrated and found a feasible way to get measurements from storms and other short term phenomena unreachable with research vessels. First 6 years of operation have shown that Argo floats can be successfully operated in the challenging conditions of the Bothnian Sea and they are shown to be an excellent addition to the monitoring network there. With multiple floats spread in the basin we can increase our general knowledge of the hydrographic conditions and occasionally get interesting data related to intrusions and mixing during high wind events and other synoptic scale events.
  • Voss, Rudi; Quaas, Martin F.; Schmidt, Joern O.; Tahvonen, Olli; Lindegren, Martin; Moellmann, Christian (2014)
  • Vuorinen, Pekka J.; Saulamo, Kari; Lecklin, Tiina; Rahikainen, Mika; Koivisto, Pertti; Keinänen, Marja (2017)
    Female perch (Perca fluviatilis) were sampled annually in late summer from 2006 to 2009 from the open sea of the eastern Gulf of Finland off Haapasaari island to monitor baseline biliary PAH metabolite concentrations. In addition, two coastal locations were sampled in 2008. PAH metabolite concentrations were compared between the open sea and coastal samples and between the sampling years and examined in relation to the body characteristics of perch. Of the PAH metabolites, only 1-hydroxypyrene (1 -OH pyrene) was detected at quantifiable levels in the bile of nearly all perch individuals. There were some annual differences but no temporal trend in the concentration of biliary 1-OH pyrene in perch from Haapasaari. At the coastal locations, 1-OH pyrene concentrations in the bile of perch were significantly higher than in the open sea Haapasaari area, probably due to greater contamination of the coastal sites and differences in feeding behaviour. No correlations between the body characteristics of perch and 1 -OH pyrene concentrations were detected. It is concluded that PAH metabolites in the bile of fish could be measured in the Gulf of Finland to detect oil spills in the open sea, and the cost-effective total fluorescence method could be used in such monitoring programmes. (C) 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
  • Schumacher, Johanna; Bergqvist, Lisa; van Beest, Floris M.; Carstensen, Jacob; Gustafsson, Bo; Hasler, Berit; Fleming, Vivi; Nygard, Henrik; Pakalniete, Kristine; Sokolov, Alexander; Zandersen, Marianne; Schernewski, Gerald (2020)
    Decision support tools (DSTs), like models, GIS-based planning tools and assessment tools, play an important role in incorporating scientific information into decision-making and facilitating policy implementation. In an interdisciplinary Baltic research group, we compiled 43 DSTs developed to support ecosystem-based management of the Baltic Sea and conducted a thorough review. Analyzed DSTs cover a wide variety of policy issues (e.g., eutrophication, biodiversity, human uses) and address environmental as well as socio-economic aspects. In this study, we aim to identify gaps between existing DSTs and end-user needs for DSTs for supporting coastal and marine policy implementation, and to provide recommendations for future DST development. In two online surveys, we assess the awareness and use of DSTs in general, as well as policy implementation challenges and DST needs of representatives of public authorities from all Baltic countries, in particular. Through a policy review we identify major policy issues, policies, and general implementation steps and requirements and develop the synthesis-matrix, which is used to compare DST demand and supply. Our results show that DSTs are predominantly used by researchers. End-users from public authorities use DSTs mostly as background information. Major obstacles for DST use are lacking awareness and experiences. DST demand is strongest for the policy issue eutrophication. Furthermore, DSTs that support the development of plans or programs of measures and assess their impacts and effectiveness are needed. DST supply is low for recently emerging topics, such as non-indigenous species, marine litter, and underwater noise. To overcome existing obstacles, a common database for DSTs available in the BSR is needed. Furthermore, end-users need guidance and training, and cooperation between DST developers and end-users needs to be enhanced to ensure the practical relevance of DSTs for supporting coastal and marine policy implementation. To fill existing gaps, DSTs that address impacts on human welfare and link environmental and socio-economic aspects should be developed. The Baltic Sea Region serves as a best practice case for studying DSTs and their practical use. Hence, our results can provide insights for DST development in other marine regions. Furthermore, our methodological approach is transferable to other areas.
  • Suominen, Saara; Brauer, Verena S.; Rantala-Ylinen, Anne; Sivonen, Kaarina; Hiltunen, Teppo (2017)
    The toxicity of a harmful algal bloom is strongly determined by the relative abundance of non-toxic and toxic genotypes and might therefore be regulated by competition for growth-limiting resources. Here, we studied how the toxic Microcystis aeruginosa strain PCC 7806 and a non-toxic mutant compete for nitrogen and phosphorus under constant and pulsed nutrient supply. Our monoculture and competition experiments show that these closely related genotypes have distinct nutrient physiologies and that they differ in their ability to compete for nitrogen and phosphorus. The toxic wild type won the competition under nitrogen limitation, while the non-toxic mutant dominated under phosphorus limitation. Pulses of both nitrogen and phosphorus increased the dominance of the toxic genotype, which lead to an even faster competitive exclusion of the non-toxic genotype under nitrogen pulses and to coexistence of both genotypes under phosphorus pulses. Our findings indicate that the genotype level dynamics driven by resource competition can be an important factor in determining cyanobacterial bloom toxicity.
  • Valanko, Sebastian; Heino, Jani; Westerbom, Mats; Viitasalo, Markku; Norkko, Alf (2015)
    The majority of studies in metacommunity ecology have focused on systems other than marine benthic ecosystems, thereby providing an impetus to broaden the focus of metacommunity research to comprise marine systems. These systems are more open than many other systems and may thus exhibit relatively less discrete patterns in community structure across space. Metacommunity structure of soft-sediment benthic invertebrates was examined using a fine-grained (285 sites) data set collected during one summer across a large spatial extent (1700km(2)). We applied the elements of metacommunity structure (EMS) approach, allowing multiple hypothesis of variation in community structure to be tested. We demonstrated several patterns associated with environmental variation and associated processes that could simultaneously assemble species to occur at the sites. A quasi-Clementsian pattern was observed frequently, suggesting interdependent ecological relationships among species or similar response to an underlying environmental gradient across sites. A quasi-nested clumped species loss pattern was also observed, which suggests nested habitat specialization. Species richness declined with depth (from 0.5 to 44.8m). We argue that sensitive species may survive in shallower water, which are more stable with regard to oxygen conditions and present greater habitat complexity, in contrast to deeper waters, which may experience periodic disturbance due to hypoxia. Future studies should better integrate disturbance in terms of temporal dynamics and dispersal rates in the EMS approach. We highlight that shallow water sites may act as sources of recruitment to deeper water sites that are relatively more prone to periodic disturbances due to hypoxia. However, these shallow sites are not currently monitored and should be better prioritized in future conservation strategies in marine systems.
  • Oinonen, Soile; Hyytiäinen, Kari; Ahlvik, Lassi; Laamanen, Maria; Lehtoranta, Virpi; Salojarvi, Joona; Virtanen, Jarno (2016)
    This paper puts forward a framework for probabilistic and holistic cost-effectiveness analysis to provide support in selecting the least-cost set of measures to reach a multidimensional environmental objective. Following the principles of ecosystem-based management, the framework includes a flexible methodology for deriving and populating criteria for effectiveness and costs and analyzing complex ecological-economic trade-offs under uncertainty. The framework is applied in the development of the Finnish Programme of Measures (PoM) for reaching the targets of the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD). The numerical results demonstrate that substantial cost savings can be realized from careful consideration of the costs and multiple effects of management measures. If adopted, the proposed PoM would yield improvements in the state of the Baltic Sea, but the overall objective of the MSFD would not be reached by the target year of 2020; for various environmental and administrative reasons, it would take longer for most measures to take full effect.
  • Momigliano, Paolo; Jokinen, Henri; Calboli, Federico; Aro, Eero; Merilä, Juha (2019)
    Unobserved diversity, such as undetected genetic structure or the presence of cryptic species, is of concern for the conservation and management of global biodiversity in the face of threatening anthropogenic processes. For instance, unobserved diversity can lead to overestimation of maximum sustainable yields and therefore to overharvesting of the more vulnerable stock components within unrecognized mixed-stock fisheries. We used DNA from archival (otolith) samples to reconstruct the temporal (1976-2011) genetic makeup of two mixed-stock flounder fisheries in the angstrom land Sea (AS) and the Gulf of Finland (GoF). Both fisheries have hitherto been managed as a single stock of European flounders (Platichthys flesus), but were recently revealed to target two closely related species: the pelagic-spawning P. flesus and the newly described, demersal-spawning P. solemdali. While the AS and GoF fisheries were assumed to consist exclusively of P. solemdali, P. flesus dominated the GoF flounder assemblage (87% of total) in 1983, had disappeared (0%) by 1993, and remained in low proportions (10%-11%) thereafter. In the AS, P. solemdali dominated throughout the sampling period (>70%), and P. flesus remained in very low proportions after 1983. The disappearance of P. flesus from the GoF coincides in time with a dramatic (similar to 60%) decline in commercial landings and worsening environmental conditions in P. flesus' northernmost spawning ground, the Eastern Gotland Basin, in the preceding 4-6 years. These results are compatible with the hypothesis that P. flesus in the GoF is a sink population relying on larval subsidies from southern spawning grounds and the cause of their disappearance is a cessation of larval supply. Our results highlight the importance of uncovering unobserved genetic diversity and studying spatiotemporal changes in the relative contribution of different stock components, as well as the underlying environmental causes, to manage marine resources in the age of rapid anthropogenic change.
  • Hellemann, Dana; Tallberg, Petra Astrid Sofia; Bartl, Ines; Voss, Maren; Hietanen, Siru Susanna (2017)
    Estuaries are often seen as natural filters of riverine nitrate, but knowledge of this nitrogen sink in oligotrophic systems is limited. We measured spring and summer dinitrogen production (denitrification, anammox) in muddy and non-permeable sandy sediments of an oligotrophic estuary in the northern Baltic Sea, to estimate its function in mitigating the riverine nitrate load. Both sediment types had similar denitrification rates, and no anammox was detected. In spring at high nitrate loading, denitrification was limited by likely low availability of labile organic carbon. In summer, the average denitrification rate was similar to 138 mu mol N m(-2) d(-1). The corresponding estuarine nitrogen removal for August was similar to 1.2 t, of which similar to 93% was removed by coupled nitrification-denitrification. Particulate matter in the estuary was mainly phytoplankton derived (> 70% in surface waters) and likely based on the riverine nitrate which was not removed by direct denitrification due to water column stratification. Subsequently settling particles served as a link be tween the otherwise uncoupled nitrate in surface waters and benthic nitrogen removal. We suggest that the riverine nitrate brought into the oligotrophic estuary during the spring flood is gradually, and with a time delay, removed by benthic denitrification after being temporarily ` trapped' in phytoplankton particulate matter. The oligotrophic system is not likely to face eutrophication from increasing nitrogen loading due to phosphorus limitation. In response, coupled nitrification-denitrification rates are likely to stay constant, which might increase the future export of nitrate to the open sea and decrease the estuary's function as a nitrogen sink relative to the load.
  • Yan, Lijuan; Yu, Dan; Hui, Nan; Naanuri, Eve; Viggor, Signe; Gafarov, Arslan; Sokolov, Sergei L; Heinaru, Ain; Romantschuk, Martin L. (2018)
    The Baltic Sea is vulnerable to environmental changes. With the increasing shipping activities, the risk of oil spills remains high. Archaea are widely distributed in many environments. However, the distribution and the response of archaeal communities to oil contamination have rarely been investigated in brackish habitats. Hence, we conducted a survey to investigate the distribution, diversity, composition, and species interactions of indigenous archaeal communities at oil-contaminated sites along the coast of the Gulf of Finland (GoF) using high-throughput sequencing. Surface water and littoral sediment samples were collected at presumably oil-contaminated (oil distribution facilities) and clean sites along the coastline of the GoF in the winter 2015 and the summer 2016. Another three samples of open sea surface water were taken as offshore references. Of Archaea, Euryarchaeota dominated in the surface water and the littoral sediment of the coast of the GoF, followed by Crenarchaeota (including Thaumarchaeota, Thermoprotei, and Korarchaeota based on the Greengenes database used). The unclassified sequences accounted for 5.62% of the total archaeal sequences. Our study revealed a strong dependence of the archaeal community composition on environmental variables (e.g., salinity, pH, oil concentration, TOM, electrical conductivity, and total DNA concentration) in both littoral sediment and coastal water in the GoF. The composition of archaeal communities was season and ecosystem dependent. Archaea was highly diverse in the three ecosystems (littoral sediment, coastal water, and open sea water). Littoral sediment harbored the highest diversity of archaea. Oil was often detected in the littoral sediment but rarely detected in water at those presumably contaminated sites. Although the composition of archaeal community in the littoral sediment was sensitive to low-input oil contamination, the unchanged putative functional profiles and increased interconnectivity of the archaeal core species network plausibly revealed resilience and the potential for oil degradation. Halobacteriaceae and putative cytochrome P450 pathways were significantly enriched in the oil-contaminated littoral sediment.The archaeal taxa formed highly interconnected and interactive networks, in which Halobacteriaceae, Thermococcus, and methanogens were the main components, implying a potential relevant trophic connection between hydrocarbon degradation, methanogenesis, sulfate reduction, and/or fermentative growth.
  • Virta, Leena; Soininen, Janne; Norkko, Alf (2020)
    Aim Global biodiversity loss has raised interest in understanding variation in diversity at different scales. In particular, studies conducted across large spatial gradients are crucial, because they can increase perspectives on how ecological patterns change relative to environmental factors and facilitate predictions of possible responses to environmental change. We explored the full extent of a brackish sea to test the hypotheses that: (a) benthic communities are defined by the limited ranges of species, controlled by varying drivers along a large environmental gradient; (b) the responses of taxonomic and functional community composition and turnover to the environmental gradient are different, thus highlighting the need to include both measures in ecological studies; and (c) diversity reaches the minimum at intermediate salinities (Remane curve) owing to the low adaptation of freshwater and marine species. Location A large environmental and spatial gradient spanning the entire Swedish coastline (c. 2,300 km; salinity 1.2-27.6), the Baltic Sea. Time period August 2018. Major taxa studied Benthic diatoms. Methods We assessed environmental drivers for the communities and calculated the taxonomic and functional alpha and beta diversity along the gradient. We also compared the taxonomic and functional composition and diversity of communities among areas with different salinity. Results We found support for the hypothesis of limited species ranges, because taxonomic beta diversity, mainly induced by changes in salinity and climate, was high, whereas functional beta diversity remained considerably lower, and the composition and diversity of communities, in addition to environmental drivers controlling the communities, differed between regions with different salinity. The lowest taxonomic diversity was found at intermediate salinities of 5-6. Main conclusions These findings advance understanding of large-scale patterns of benthic diversity, emphasize the importance of large gradient studies for a better understanding of general ecological patterns and highlight the vulnerability of brackish water ecosystems as ecologically important tipping-point realms.
  • Paczkowska, Joanna; Rowe, O.F.; Figueroa, Daniela; Andersson, Agneta (2019)
    The influence of nutrient availability and light conditions on phytoplankton size-structure, nutritional strategy and production were studied in a phosphorus-poor estuary in the northern Baltic Sea receiving humic-rich river water. The relative biomass of mixotrophic nanophytoplankton peaked in spring when heterotrophic bacterial production was high, while autotrophic microphytoplankton had their maximum in summer when primary production displayed highest values. Limiting substance only showed small changes over time, and the day light was at saturating levels all through the study period. We also investigated if the phytoplankton taxonomic richness influences the production. Structured equation modelling indicated that an increase of the taxonomic richness during the warm summer combined with slightly higher phosphorus concentration lead to increased resource use efficiency, which in turn caused higher phytoplankton biomass and primary production. Our results suggest that climate warming would lead to higher primary production in northerly shallow coastal areas, which are influenced by humic-rich river run-off from un-disturbed terrestrial systems.