Project image Kalmar baltic tracking network

Project: Kalmar Baltic Tracking Network: Spatial ecology of the coastal fish community

In this project we will study the movement ecology and habitat choice of the coastal Baltic Sea fish community using acoustic telemetry. The aim is to advance our understanding of central ecological and evolutionary research questions concerning variation within- and among species in traits relating to movement patterns and habitat choice and whether and how these are impacted by global warming, fisheries and fisheries management.

Project information

Project manager
Petter Tibblin
Other project members
Oscar Nordahl, Henrik Flink, Kristofer Bergström, Per Koch-Schmidt, Linnaeus University; Gustav Hellström och Niklas Sjöberg, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Participating organizations
Linnaeus University; Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Kalmar County Administrative Board, Blekinge County Administrative Board
Crafoordska Stiftelsen, FORMAS Ecochange, BalticWaters2030, Kalmar County Administrative Board, Blekinge County Administrative Board
1 januari 2020– 31 december 2025
Fish Ecology (Department of Biology and Environment, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences)

More about the project

Many aquatic ecosystems around the world are severely impacted by anthropogenic activities as global warming, fisheries and habitat exploitation. This has resulted in dramatic negative consequences with changed food-web dynamics and ecosystem functioning which, in turn, have impacted socioeconomical values. To mitigate and remediate these effects it is of outmost importance to understand the causes and consequences of variation in movement patterns, habitat choice and interactions among and within fish species.

Such studies have previously largely been limited to laboratory studies or controlled aquatic habitats like ponds due to logistic and technical constrains of studying the movement, habitat choice and fitness consequences thereof for fish across time in open aquatic habitats. This have hampered studies of these processes in the natural habitats of many fish species which have impeded our ability to predict and manage the effects of anthropogenic impacts on fish populations and aquatic ecosystems. Fortunately, the development and progress of acoustic telemetry, a method that resembles GPS-tracking above water, now allows to study these aspects across large spatiotemporal scales also in aquatic habitats.

In this project, we have established large-scale and high-resolution networks of acoustic receivers in three areas of Kalmarsund, the southwest Baltic Sea, including important recruitment habitats in streams that discharge into the areas. These receivers can detect and decode signals from acoustic transmitters that are located within the receiver networks.

By tagging fish (e.g. pike, perch, ide, white bream, whitefish, eel and trout) with acoustic transmitters we will gain detailed knowledge about habitat choice and movement patterns for each species and whether and how variation among and within species relates to temperature, fishing pressure and fisheries management.

Moreover, for some of our study species (e.g. pike and perch) we can recapture tagged individuals in population specific spawning habitats. We will use this opportunity to conduct manipulation experiments and longitudinal studies of phenology, thermal plasticity, growth and morphology to study whether and how variation in these traits relates to survival, habitat choice and movement patterns in the coastal habitat.


The project is part of the research in the Fish Ecology research group and Linnaeus Knowledge Environment: Water.