BONUS PROJECTS' BLOGS
Below are the most recent entries in the BONUS projects' blogs. To read the entries of your favorite project, select it from the list on the left.
05.01.2019 13:59BLUEWEBS meeting, 3-5 December 2018, University of Hamburg, Germany (BONUS BLUEWEBS- NOVELTY & THE BALTIC SEA)
The project is moving forward in a nice group dynamic, sharing ideas and collaborations between different work packages. As a first experience in a big project, I was impressed by how things are advancing and coming along to reach the project goals.
04.12.2018 15:45What does the science say? Q & A on Systematic Reviews and Systematic Maps (BONUS RETURN)
Read the Q&A and watch an interview with Neal Haddaway here
21.11.2018 19:51New COCOA publication! (Sources & Sinks: A Tale of Coastal Biogeochemistry - BONUS COCOA)
Lenstra (Utrecht University) and co-workers wanted to know, which mechanisms
control the burial of phosphorus in coastal sediments, as phosphorus is known
to enhance growth of phytoplankton and burial is the only long-term sink in
They found that phosphorus burial in the northern Baltic Öre Estuary was high compared to other areas in the Baltic Sea and that burial was strongly enhanced by the formation of iron(II)- phosphorus minerals within the sediment. Additionally, they showed that iron input from the Öre River was strongly linked to variations in river discharge: Iron fluxes from the river were highest after dry periods on land, which strongly impacted the phosphorus burial in the Öre Estuary.
Read the full story here:
12.09.2018 12:19New COCOA publication! (Sources & Sinks: A Tale of Coastal Biogeochemistry - BONUS COCOA)
Irma Vybernaite-Lubiene (Marine Research Institute, Klaipeda University, Lithuania) and co-workers intensively sampled the Nemunas River just before the Curonian Lagoon, in order to calculate monthly loads of nutrients generated by one of the main point pollution sources of the Baltic Sea. During 2012–2016, they patiently created an extensive data set, including all forms of nitrogen (N), silicate (Si) and phosphorous (P), to investigate seasonal and annual nutrient variations with respect to discharge, climatic features, and historical trends.
Results show that nutrient loads varied yearly by up to 50% and their concentrations underwent strong seasonality, with N and Si limitation during summer. Changes in agricultural practices resulted in similar N export from the river watershed compared to historical data (1986–2002), while improvements in sewage treatment led to a ~60% decrease of P loads.
Irma concludes that further P reductions are needed to avoid unbalanced dissolved inorganic nitrogen and phosphorus (DIN:DIP~10) ecological stoichiometry in summer, which may stimulate undesired cyanobacterial blooms.
These data are an important contribution to the scattered available information on the largest nutrient source to the Curonian Lagoon and add another piece to the puzzle explaining the links among watersheds and downstream transitional aquatic ecosystems suffering non-linear responses and frequent collapse events (…and furthermore, they allow Irma to dance her PhD in a couple of months, well done and fingers crossed!).
You can read the full story here:
Vybernaite-Lubiene I, Zilius M, Saltyte-Vaisiauske L, Bartoli M (2018) Recent Trends (2012–2016) of N, Si, and P Export from the Nemunas River Watershed: Loads, Unbalanced Stoichiometry, and Threats for Downstream Aquatic Ecosystems. Water10(9),1178. www.mdpi.com/2073-4441/10/9/1178
11.06.2018 21:38New COCOA publication! (Sources & Sinks: A Tale of Coastal Biogeochemistry - BONUS COCOA)
A new study from BONUS COCOA is out:
(Institute for Baltic Sea Research Warnemuende) and co-workers wanted to know whether river plume and bottom boundary layer in
the coastal zone are potential hotspots for
nitrification, due to their favorable characteristics. Nitrification is a key process in the coastal nitrogen cycle:
the produced nitrate can either be substrate for primary production whereby
nitrogen stays in the coastal system, or for denitrification whereby nitrogen
is removed from the coastal system.
They found that neither river
plume nor BBL of the Vistula Estuary in the southern Baltic Sea are hotspots for
nitrification. Instead, short term changes such as sediment re-suspension during
a storm event or oxygenation of anoxic water can significantly enhance nitrification.
the full story here:
Bartl I, Liskow I, Schulz K, Umlauf L, Voss M (2018) River plume and bottom boundary layer – Hotspots for nitrification in a coastal bay? Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 208:70-82. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecss.2018.04.023
06.06.2018 12:15Hej Hej ! (BONUS BLUEWEBS- NOVELTY & THE BALTIC SEA)
This is the first of many publications that will follow the evolution of my PhD work under the exciting BONUS project “Blue Growth boundaries in novel Baltic food webs” (BLUEWEBS, https://www.bonusportal.org/projects/blue_baltic_2017-2020/bluewebs). BLUEWEBS aims to define and assess the consequences of novelty for good environmental status and a blue growth of the Baltic Sea, and its capacity to produce goods and services.
My name is Yosr Ammar, I am a PhD student at the Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University. My background is engineering focusing on fisheries and the environment in the Mediterranean Sea. Today, I am very happy to discover a new ecosystem, the impressive brackish water ecosystem of the Baltic Sea. In fact, differences exist in the components of both ecosystems, but the phenomenon they endure are very similar.
The Baltic Sea is one of the most affected marine ecosystems by the global warming, overexploitation of fish resources and eutrophication. Many changes in the food webs due to changes in the abiotic conditions have been identified. These changes over time may have created novelty in the past and the present Baltic Sea ecosystem and there is a high chance that the novelty may increase in the future.
Understanding the development and evolution of novel ecosystems is very important for conservation and management purposes. In this context, the focus of my project will be on “Novelty”, in different perspective:
- Novelty in the past of the Baltic Sea ecosystem
- Novelty and the future of the Baltic Sea ecosystem
- Novelty and ecosystem services
To know more about novelty in the Baltic Sea, follow my blog!
22.02.2018 19:22Time to say goodbye and thanks (Sources & Sinks: A Tale of Coastal Biogeochemistry - BONUS COCOA)
A big thank you to the project leaders Jacob Carstensen and Daniel Conley, all work package leaders and all other participants for super exciting 4 years!
09.01.2018 08:12It’s not a time to be picky, and sprat knows it better (The view of a data scientist - BONUS BIO-C3 & BONUS INSPIRE)
Sprat and herring eat the same food, but should they compete, then the sprat will more likely win. That is because sprat is less picky about what it eats, and also more successful in finding its meal than herring. And the competition is tough, since food is limiting for both species these days in the Baltic Sea.
These were very shortly the main findings of the BONUS INSPIRE clupeid feeding survey in the summer of 2015, where >1500 fish were caught and cut open, to have a close look at what they had eaten.
09.01.2018 00:02EU competition seeks eco-tech innovations for a cleaner Baltic Sea! (BONUS RETURN)
29.11.2017 15:05Theoretical vs. empirical/applied approach (BONUS BALTICAPP - Race Against Eutrophication Blog)
It has become apparent for me recently that there is a great dividing between theoretical and empirical/applied approaches in science. Particularly in economics this dividing seems to be very strict. This was made clear to me when I started an Advanced Econometrics course in PhD program for Economics this fall. We were told that this course is purely theoretical and if there are anyone interested more in applied side of things they may consider hard if the course is too difficult for them. We were told that particularly PhD students in so called applied sciences should probably dismiss. I decided to not to dismiss and it was a good call since so far studies have been going well, although I’m definitely an applied researcher and as such not a “real” researcher, as it was made clear to us.
Ever since I’ve been thinking about this division and classification of the researchers. In my opinion theoretical and applied sides are both rather important. It is clear that there has to be solid theory behind an applied work. But it appears equally clear that good theory is worth of nothing if there is no empirical evidence to support the theory or if there is no application for the theory. In addition, new ideas for theory development may originate form surprising empirical findings. Also, applied work may show that the theory does not hold in practice. Therefore, it seems that there is justification for both sides and those can actually benefit from each other.
Thus, it seems rather counterintuitive that theoretical researchers don’t give much appreciation for applied researchers. In econometrics and statistics this might have something to do with the fact that the methods are often applied in a bad manner and important theoretical aspects are ignored. If theoretical researcher reads such empirical paper that is published in a journal, it is understandable that the theoretical researcher becomes upset and feels that his/hers work is not understood.
In many cases and in many papers statistics are done wrong. The problem might be that statistical and econometrics courses are typically either strictly theoretical or strictly applied. Then we learn advanced theoretical things in one course and some examples and some coding on another course. The problem is that the connection between theory and the empirical application might be left incomplete, to say at least. For example, in our Advanced Econometrics course we struggle mostly with the proofs of the theorems. We have learned how to derive distributions of the test statistics and to show the asymptotic consistency of the parameter. But how to apply these learnings with the real data? In the other hand, I took another course that was purely applied. There we were given some data and some codes and examples, but the theory behind the examples was not discussed at all. A good course would really combine these two worlds, because clearly those are not separate.
I don’t how is the situation in other fields, but at least in Economics I see an opportunity for improvement in how theoretical and applied sides of science should be thought. This would narrow the gap between the field work and work that is done in theory labs. It would probably decrease the hatred between the deputies of the sides. Also the books should entertain the theoretical justifications and empirical applications to really show the students/researchers how the theory is applied correctly to real data.Best regards, Matti Sihvonen
27.11.2017 11:07New COCOA publication (Sources & Sinks: A Tale of Coastal Biogeochemistry - BONUS COCOA)
Myself and co-workers measured the removal of riverine nitrate via the processes denitrification and anammox in the sandy and muddy sediments of the oligotrophic Öre Estuary at the Swedish coast of the Quark Strait, Northern Baltic Sea. Estuaries are generally assumed to be sinks of the land-derived, riverine load of nutrients and organic matter and thus hotspots of the "coastal filter". We found that the Öre Estuary gradually removes most of the riverine nitrate long after peak loading, after temporary "trapping" in phytoplankton biomass. Read the full story here:
Hellemann D, Tallberg P, Bartl I, Voss M, Hietanen S (2017) Denitrification in an oligotrophic estuary: a delayed sink for riverine nitrate. Marine Ecology Progress Series 583:63-80. http://www.int-res.com/articles/meps_oa/m583p063.pdf
06.11.2017 20:55New Dr. in COCOA! (Sources & Sinks: A Tale of Coastal Biogeochemistry - BONUS COCOA)
....and hence is from now on Dr. Bartl!
During her PhD, supervised by Maren Voss, Ines sailed both stormy and calm waters of the southern and northern Baltic Sea and spent hours, days and nights in cold rooms, spiking water samples from the benthic boundary layer with nitrogen tracer, followed by filtering, filtering and...filtering.
21.09.2017 19:28New COCOA publications out! (Sources & Sinks: A Tale of Coastal Biogeochemistry - BONUS COCOA)
and co-authors investigated the erodibility potential of coastal sediments and identified
regulating key factors of sediment resuspension. The study took place at the South-Western
Finnish Archipelago coast, which offers a divers habitat of different sediment
types. Measurements were done with a core based erosion device (EROMES) at the
Tväminne Zoological Station. The full
study and all interesting outcomes can be found here:
Pilditch AC, Harris R, Hietanen S, Pettersson H, Norkko A (2017) Sediment
properties, biota, and local habitat structure explain variation in the
erodibility of coastal sediments. Limnology and Oceanography, doi:10.1002/lno.10622.
and co-authors estimated the filter function of Baltic Sea coastal sediments for
the elements nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P), i.e. they calculated how much N and
P is permanently removed from the coastal Baltic water column via benthic denitrification
and burial, respectively. For this, they compiled and analyzed published removal
rates of N and P from around the Baltic Sea coastline and could, for instance, identify
key environmental factors for the regulation of N and P in the coastal filter. For more on this and the main outcome (no spoiler here) please look at:
Asmala E, Carstensen J, Conley DJ, Slomp CP, Stadmark J, Voss M (2017) Efficiency of the coastal filter: Nitrogen and phosphorus removal in the Baltic Sea. Limnology and Oceanography.doi:10.1002/lno.10644
Excellent Baltic Sea must-reads for the long autumn evenings!
01.08.2017 22:23Equipment explained: part IV - the HAPS corer (Sources & Sinks: A Tale of Coastal Biogeochemistry - BONUS COCOA)
This post might as well be entitled “Ode to HAPS”. For one thing, the HAPS corer is by far my favorite sediment sampler, clearly deserving of being sung about. For another thing, it already has been (cruise internally) sung about, showing that not only I have a personal affection for it, but that it is popular among several COCOA people (aka the HAPS gang).
So what is this HAPS sampler and what is so special about it?
The HAPS is a sediment corer for coarse sediments, i.e. sands. The tricky parts with sand sediments are that they are quite hard and sturdy, and that they have big pores, which impose only weak cohesive forces onto the pore water. This can result in water actually flowing through the pore space of sand (advective pore water flow), which has everyone experienced who ever saw a wave washing up a beach…and then disappearing into the sand under the own feet.
Pore water flow has huge implications for organic matter turnover, sediment biogeochemistry, and general elemental cycling- however, in terms of sampling, it means particularly one thing: how not to lose the pore water during core retrieval, if it´s so mobile? (In more plain words: pore water flow in sand is scientifically and ecologically really cool stuff, but it does add a challenging element to undisturbed sampling of sand sediments).
Luckily, there is the HAPS!
We wondered for years, what its name stands for (maybe “happy and prosperous sampling”?!), until getting the answer from the inventors themselves (Kanneworff & Nicolaisen 1973): apparently, “haps” is a Danish exclamation used when something is grasped very quickly. And that´s exactly what the HAPS does: after coring, a tight top lid keeps the sediment in the core, and during core retrieval, a super sharp, quick and tight shovel cuts immediately under the sediment core, so that pore waters are kept where they belong- in the sediment. However, never forget to use the core lid, otherwise also the super quick shovel does not help in holding any sample (*learned from experience*).
This sounds like basic sediment coring theory. Yet, the difference of the HAPS to e.g. the GEMAX corer is its weight, its stability and the speed of its closing mechanism.
Like the GEMAX (Equipment explained: part II - the GEMAX / GEMINI corer), HAPS is basically a gravity corer, i.e. it cuts into the sediment based on its own weight. But even if GEMAX does feel heavy when loading it onto the ship, it is too light to be able to cut into sand sediment. Plus, sands are usually located in high energy environments (too turbulent for finer particles to settle), where samplers need to be heavy to go down the water column and onto the sediment surface without being drifted away. The net weight of a HAPS corer is ~ 100 kg, which can be added up by additional 60 kg of lead weights, and a square bottom frame supports high stability at the sea floor. It is made out of stainless steel, including the core barrel and the closing shovel, which are both sharpened for uncompromising sediment penetration. If the weight of a fully loaded sampler should still be too light to penetrate the sediment, it can be equipped with a powerful vibrator unit. Insider tip: don´t drive it for too long, you might anchor yourself in the seafloor.
Undisturbed samples are easily to be seen in the clear water phase on top of the sediment, which during our sampling at the Finnish coast sometimes also included Saduria sp., having been surprised by the quick sampling (Killing in the name of).
Well, HAPS got its name for a reason.
20.07.2017 12:00EAERE 2017 (BONUS BALTICAPP - Race Against Eutrophication Blog)
In this blog I will tell about the EAERE conference held in Athens. First I must emphasize that it was really hot out there. I have never experienced such a hot temperatures (35-45 degrees) in my life before. Luckily the air conditioning worked just well in the conference places and all the other facilities were also very well handled. Overall the conference was a good and learning experience. I witnessed some great presentations and speeches. I guess that the best presentations (among those I saw) focused on micro-econometric data analysis and intertemporal optimization. I guess that it was particularly beneficial to see the overall level and current trends in environmental economics. It appears that macro models and everything related to climate change is now cool. Also behavioral and network economics appear to be very hot fields right now. My subject of interest, namely empirical agricultural production analysis and agri-environmental modelling seems rather uninteresting subject currently, to say at least. But that’s ok, I keep calm and continue working with my PhD anyway. At least I am still excited about it (now that I’m working with the second paper)!
There was also one very good plenary speech, which handled multiple layers of uncertainty, including model selection uncertainty. I found this particularly interesting, of course, because I have been struggling with uncertainty (regarding particularly model selection) issues for so long time now. I actually started to loose my interest in structural uncertainty entirely. But now it seems that it might actually be the key to get my first paper published. I got this idea that perhaps I should reframe the problem so that the focus is, again, shifted to these structural uncertainty issues within the optimization problem. It would be absolutely perfect if I could find a way to formulate the profit maximization problem analytically so that the parametric and model selection uncertainty would be taken into account explicitly. This, however, might be very challenging and perhaps beyond my abilities, given the time limits at least. But in any case, I should stress the structural uncertainty, because it appears to be generally interesting topic after all; for a moment I thought I was the last person on earth interested in it.
My presentation in the conference went just fine. Needless to say I was very nervous about it. The audience wasn’t large, which was just fine. One reason for the lack of audience, among the fact that nobody is generally interest in empirically bio-economic modelling in the context of agriculture (or fertilizers (!)), might have been that it was a last parallel session before the dinner and the busses started to leave just after the session. I guess most of the people went to hotel to rest and get ready for the evening. Anyway, I got some comments for some Chinese senior researcher, which was very nice, although I couldn’t understand her comments at the moment, because of the very challenging accent. However, after reprocessing the echoes in my ears for a while I understood what she said. Anyway, the comments were very trivial and I’m a little bit upset that I couldn’t respond to those at the moment, but better luck next time perhaps. I also was a discussant for a one presentation in our session. I think it went well and the situation resolved rather nicely in the end. The dinner, by the way, was great and we had very good time. Even the head master of the Greek bank was there to give his speech, which was super funny (the speech I mean).
I must say that I didn’t seize the opportunity to network with foreign people at all, which was a little bit unfortunate. The thing is that there was such a huge amount of Finnish environmental economists there that most of the time we just chatted with each other in some isolated corner. And during the dinner we also had Finnish tables. Luckily some German researches shared a table with us in the end. Thus, some international communications did take place, but not much. Anyway, it was a very nice event and all. I really hope that I could participate the next one also (which will be held in Gothenburg), but it will be much more unlikely because it will be a world conference so the competition will be much tougher. I know for a fact that the second paper will be much more interesting in terms of environmental economics than the first one, but will it be enough, remains to be seen. It would be nice to see the Gothenburg because it is capital if Scandinavian Heavy Metal!
Thus, Rock on and see you next month!
Bets regards: Matti Sihvonen
05.07.2017 15:03How can Sweden bridge the gap between innovation and commercialisation in the Baltics? (BONUS RETURN)
04.07.2017 21:57An affair of the heart (Sources & Sinks: A Tale of Coastal Biogeochemistry - BONUS COCOA)
And here it comes: my drawing turned out to be dominated by hearts. Hearts around N2. In relationship with a gas? Well, that does solve the problem of “plus avec” invitations via “take a breath of air”, but of course there was also a deeper meaning in using the symbols. Take a look at the drawing / bar-scribble, for better understanding re-coloured:
The 30 sec explanatory
talk went somewhere along the lines of....
“The Baltic Sea in northern Europe has too
many nutrients, mostly nitrate, which leads to algae blooms (--> green scribble) and oxygen
deficiency, so the sea is in bad ecological condition (--> sad smiley). The only way to remove
nitrogen from an aquatic ecosystem is via denitrification and anammox, which
results in N2 that goes into the air (--> that´s good *at least in a
eutrophic system* --> HEARTS). Estuaries are recognized as potential
hot spots of nitrogen removal and these are the 3 estuaries I looked at.“ FULL
STOP and a deep breath.
Don´t put me down on scientific spotless accuracy, but nevertheless, my piece of art & speech was convincing enough to score second place. Now I am proud owner of a new coffee cup.
The conference was rounded up by a hike in the national park Bic at the St. Lawrence Stream on World Ocean Day, strengthening our attachment to the biggest estuary of the world.
Thanks UQAR for organizing such an interesting symposium!
29.06.2017 12:36Engaging cities and municipalities to clean up the Baltic Sea (BONUS RETURN)
26.06.2017 20:10Most of the Baltic zooplankton is specialized on small food (The view of a data scientist - BONUS BIO-C3 & BONUS INSPIRE)