More about the project
The Baltic Sea is one of the world’s largest bodies of brackish water. It has a large catchment area with high anthropogenic impact and is characterized by shallow water and a long retention time. Due to these conditions the ecosystem of the Baltic Sea is sensitive. Nutrient loads can cause dramatic increases in phytoplankton biomass which may be beneficial to some species but harmful to others. Studying phytoplankton dynamics and response to changing climate conditions is of high interest for protecting the Baltic Sea environment.
At the K-station, we measure temperature, salinity and phytoplankton biomass. We also collect samples to study bacterioplankton and phytoplankton abundances, community composition and diversity. We do in-depths studies with a focus on the smallest phytoplankton species, the picoplankton (<2 µm in diameter). Despite of their small size, picoplankton are present in high abundances (up to 100 000 cells per ml) and are highly efficient in taking up nutrients. Despite of this, it is not yet understood what regulates the abundance and activity of picoplankton in the Baltic Sea. Understanding the seasonal dynamics of picoplankton and their interactions with other phytoplankton species such as the filamentous nitrogen fixing cyanobacteria, which cause massive blooms during summer, is of high importance for understanding the nutrient cycles of the Baltic Sea and understanding the future challenges of the ecosystem.
The sampling station is situated opposite of the Kalmar Castle in close proximity to the Linnaeus University Campus in Kalmar. The sampling station is part of the Swedish governmental strategic research programme EcoChange which focuses on the effects of climate change on marine ecosystems.
The project is part of the research in the research group Marine phytoplankton ecology and applications and in Linnaeus University Centre for Ecology and Evolution in Microbial model Systems (EEMiS)