The Baltic Sea offers a complex mix of environmental gradients in climate, productivity, diversity, anthropogenic stress, and currently also clime change-driven processes. For the past century the Baltic Sea ecosystem has undergone significant changes primarily attributed to human mis-use of the marine and maritime resources. The main anthropogenically driven impacts stem from eutrophication, hypoxia/anoxia, overfishing, habitat destruction, artificially impacted diversity (invasive non-native species), harmful substances, traffic and construction, noise, micro-particles etc. In short, the system is directly impacted by a cocktail of stressors, some with synergistic, antagonistic, or unpredictable effects on the biota (ecosystem structure, function and adaptation). In this presentation Bonsdorff will briefly present the Baltic Sea and its physical, chemical and biological gradients, and illustrate a number of the ecological changes that require a detailed scientific understanding in order for society to be able to manage or eliminate the negative impacts. Examples will range from system-wide processes over specific ecological functions (food webs, biological traits) to species-specific adaptations in a rapidly changing reality.
Erik Bonsdorff is a professor of marine biology at the Faculty of Science and Engineering (Environmental and Marine Biology), Åbo Akademi University in Finland. He is also the Subject Chair of Environmental and Marine Biology, Coordinator of the doctoral network FunMarBio and Academic Coordinator of the strategic university profile The Sea.
His main interests: functional biodiversity, zoobenthos, eutrophication, hypoxia, climate change, environmental governance, Baltic Sea, Arctic marine food webs.