Bonus Projects

The view of a data scientist - BONUS BIO-C3 & BONUS INSPIRE

I share here my lessons while working in BONUS BIO-C3 and INSPIRE as a "data scientist". I call myself a “marine biologist”, but my career was decided in the first day of my PhD studies, when I opened “R” instead of the lab door. I can never be thankful enough for my supervisor for showing me that door. This path of data scientist placed me on the rollercoaster of co-operations with many research groups. And on the way, I hope, I learned something of the plankton and the sea too.
01.07.2016 21:27

New plans for the Baltic zooplankton – read it, especially if you are a PhD student, and need inspiration, and data!

Riina Klais

-Baltic Sea zooplankton network unites researchers from 9 (and growing) institutes around the Baltic Sea; and has compiled much of the available zooplankton monitoring data.

-Dataset now consists of > 25000 samples, and describes distribution of ca 300 species

-Group is very open, with a transparent data policy; and both, ideas and new data – especially from SW Baltic Sea – are needed!

- Visit the website for further information.


A group of scientists gathered in the end of June in Tallinn, to discuss the future of Baltic Sea zooplankton dataset and network.

Dataset has grown to include now species composition of >25 000 communities, although spatially, majority of the data is coming from the south-east side of the Baltic Sea. Full list of members in the end of this post.

I’ve said this before, and I keep saying it in the future – with observational data, the bottleneck is not the data, but the ideas, and bright minds, the dedication, and enthusiasm. There’s no fear that someone will take the data, and then it’s published – it’s your ideas, that are actually the valuable things, and your conclusions, from studying the data.

We outlined several ideas to study, but all of them require lot of work. Hence, if you are somehow in trouble deciding, what to study, consider writing me an email, and maybe taking up some of the following ideas:

  • vertical distribution of the organisms. There are thousands of samples that collected  in several vertical sections, providing a good potential to study the vertical distribution of zooplankton groups
  • long term changes in the community size structure
  • spatial gradients in species composition and diveristy, especially in relation to salinity
  • functional diversity

The key motivation to put this dataset together was to open up new level of research in zooplankton ecology without substantial additional costs – because the data was already there, it only needed to be worked up into proper condition.

We have now lot of data, and more is coming, since the return value has skyrocketed with the size of the dataset.

Many of the ideas have potential, but I am limited in time, so someone with data skills (or eager wish to obtain them – I can help in the beginning) is badly needed, to exploit the fruits of the hard work already done!

Soon, I will include more information in our website, starting with the metadata of the samples and full list of taxa. Until then – please, please, get in touch!

Zooplankton network -- data providers:

  1. Estonian Marine Institute, Tartu University (Riina Klais)
  2. Marine Research Centre, Finnish Environment Institute (Maiju Lehtiniemi)
  3. Institute of Food Safety, Animal Health and Ecology (BIOR) (Gunta Rubene)
  4. National Marine Fisheries Research Institute (NMFRI)(Piotr Margonski)
  5. Latvian Institute of Aquatic Ecology (LHEI)(Anda Ikauniece)
  6. Atlantic Research Institute of Marine Sciences & Oceanography (AtlantNIRO)(Anna Semenova)
  7. Archipelago Research Institute (Katja Mäkinen)
  8. Open Access Centre for Marine Research, Klaipeda University (Evelina Griniene)
  9. SHARKweb of Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (Patrik Strömberg)

Zooplankton network meeting in Tallinn, the list of participants:

Riina Klais (Tartu University)

Maiju Lehtiniemi (Finnish Environment Institute)

Katja Mäkinen (Archipelago Research Institute)

Gunta Rubene (BIOR)

Jurate Lesutiene (Klaipeda University)

Evelina Griniene (Klaipeda University)

Arno Põllumäe (Tartu University)

Monika Winder (Stockholm University)

Jens-Peter Herrmann (University of Hamburg)


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