Baltic Diversity Notes - BONUS BIO-C3
Digging into the data
Finally time to start focusing on my key study in BIO-C3!
Although I´ve been a bit slow in this forum lately, its been a busy spring with a lot of joggling with possible project directions, data searching and discussions about collaborations etc. As a new postdoc it’s been a blast but also a first proper try at the life as a “real” researcher.
At the same time I´ve been longing for the chance to dig into the data that my colleagues and I have been putting together and discussing.
So what are we going to do? The aim is to determine how e.g. the functional diversity of fish and bottom-living animals in the Baltic Sea have changed over time and if this is related to environmental changes in for example salinity or temperature. By using various characteristics or traits of the species as a measure of the functional diversity, we can say something more about the changes in the ecosystem, instead of trying to deduce this information from looking at the changes in species names over time.
There are two really exciting things about this study. First, we have managed to put together a data series that goes way back, to early 1970s, before the so called regime shift happened in the Baltic Sea when the whole ecosystem changed into a new state of more nutrients and consequently changed animal communities. I am therefore excited to see if this shift also induced a functional change in the system. The second cool thing is that we are using data for both fish and benthic living organisms. There is an interesting link between these two animal groups, as the bottom-living mussels, worms and snails constitute an important food source for many fish species.
I am so happy we could pull together this data, and a huge thanks goes already at this stage to my collaborators in Finland (Erik Bonsdorff), Sweden (Anna Gårdmark, Jens Olsson and Mats Blomqvist) and here in Denmark (Laurène Pécuchet and Martin Lindegren). I was hoping we could also include some other organism groups in this study, such as plankton (the tiny animal and plant organisms in the water column), but unfortunately these have not been sampled at the same time or place as the other organism groups, an issue that concerns the entire Baltic Sea. If I could wish something for the future monitoring and sampling of our shared sea it would be just that. Luckily, our project, the BIO-C3, is aimed at bringing these things to light and with a couple of cruises also add to the lack of data from some areas.
Stay tuned for more continuous updates now that I have something to chew on!
As a second teaser I can mention that I´m on my way to Stockholm in about a week for a workshop discussing the linkage between the seafloor and the pelagic environment (very relevant for this study), but more about that next time!