Bonus Projects

Sources & Sinks: A Tale of Coastal Biogeochemistry - BONUS COCOA

Insights into the biogeochemistry work of the COCOA project: from the water column to the sediment, from the field to the lab. Secrets of the coastal filter and a life in aquatic sciences.

21.11.2018 19:51New COCOA publication! Dana Hellemann

A new study from the BONUS COCOA project has just been published:

Wytze 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 marine systems.

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:

Lead author Wytze Lenstra (first on the left) and his co-workers during sample collection in the northern Baltic Öre Estuary, Quark Strait, Sweden.

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12.09.2018 12:19New COCOA publication!

A new study from the BONUS COCOA project has recently been published:

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.

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11.06.2018 21:38New COCOA publication! Dana Hellemann

A new study from BONUS COCOA is out:

Ines Bartl (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.


Read 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.

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22.02.2018 19:22Time to say goodbye and thanks Dana Hellemann

While much of the research that has been done in BONUS COCOA is still on its way to being published, the project itself finished at the end of last year.

Therefore, it is time to look back on all the cool things / interesting science we have done, the friendships / collaborations we have made, and the aims we have achieved over the past 4 years. Not to forget the time we spent on the water on our mission to better understand the biogeochemistry of the Baltic Sea coastal filter. 

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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!

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27.11.2017 11:07New COCOA publication Dana Hellemann

A new study from BONUS COCOA has lately been published:

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.

Happy sampling of the Öre Estuary with R/V Lotty from the Umeå Marine Science Centre, Norrbyn.

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06.11.2017 20:55New Dr. in COCOA!

COCOA PhD student Ines Bartl (Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research Warnemuende) successfully defended her doctoral thesis on

"Nitrogen transformation processes in coastal zones of the Baltic Sea - On the turnover, regulation and role of coastal nitrification"

....and hence is from now on Dr. Bartl!
Picture credit: Ines 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. 


All the hard work was totally worth it: big congratulations to your great achievement!!

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21.09.2017 19:28New COCOA publications out!

Two new studies from BONUS COCOA have lately been published:

Mari Joensuu 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:

Joensuu M, 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.

Mari and the EROMES device; during field work usually to be found in TZS´s climate controlled basement.

Eero Asmala 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

How efficient is the coastal filter for N and P? Eero and colleagues dug through a lot of published literature.

Excellent Baltic Sea must-reads for the long  autumn evenings!

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01.08.2017 22:23Equipment explained: part IV - the HAPS corer Dana Hellemann

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).

We do like our HAPS.

So what is this HAPS sampler and what is so special about it?

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HAPS it, Uwe, one more time. HAPS being winched down for another round of sampling, Bay of Gdansk, EMB 123 (picture: Franziska Thoms, IOW).

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.

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Sand sediment has much bigger pores than mud sediment.

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*).

Left: a fully equipped HAPS, including both lead weights and vibrator, coming up with a sample in its core barrel. Right: the steel core barrels.

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.

Left: Attaching the vibrator to our HAPS for sampling in the Finnish archipelago (picture: Mari Joensuu, Helsinki University). Right: HAPS & hug; alternative sample retrieval (picture: Ines Bartl, IOW).

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.

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04.07.2017 21:57An affair of the heart Dana Hellemann

Last month I went to Canada to attend the 14th International Estuarine Biogeochemistry Symposium (IEBS) in Rimouski, Québec, and unintentionally discovered my relationship status. More on this later- first the really interesting news, such as what did I learn at the symposium?

Exploring the Canadian east coast during the 14th IEBS.
In particular, I learned that the St. Lawrence Estuary is the biggest in the world, a detail that the local scientists and organizers did not miss to emphasize, extensively. Smaller estuaries were however also tolerated, which was good news for the in comparison rather small estuaries of the Baltic Sea that I presented. Particularly the northern Baltic Öre estuary (64 km2) must have received a cuteness bonus in many minds.

Rimouski and its university (UQAR) are directly situated at the St. Lawrence Stream and thus a perfect spot to discuss estuarine biogeochemistry.
The theme of the 14th IEBS was “Estuaries: biogeochemical reactors in the land-sea continuum” and sessions included the topics “eutrophication & nitrogen cycling”, “carbon” and “trace metals & technology-critical elements”. Excellent key note presentations were given by Alfonso Mucci, Markus Huettel, Sue Ziegler and Montserrat Filella. COCOA member Christophe Rabouille joined the meeting as well and had as French native speaker a clear language advantage over many of the international guests from as far as Brazil, Mexico, China or Finland. Nevertheless, no language barrier could stop the ~ 55 enthusiastic scientists of all levels from MSc students to professors to discuss and exchange about estuaries at large and the latest ongoing work. The organizing team of the Université du Québec à Rimouski (UQAR) did a great job in providing a snug atmosphere for talks, poster sessions and all evening mingle; having the local brewery as a sponsor was clearly a good move.

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The happy participants of the 14th International Estuarine Biogeochemistry Symposium in Rimouski, Canada (picture: UQAR).

And then one night, at a later hour, in a pub, I apparently decoded the feelings at the bottom of my heart. If your thoughts now went wild, please get a grip and reconsider- this is a decent platform. During a student night organized by UQAR we battled for the cup of the best PhD/MSc thesis presentation by drawing (3 min) and explaining (30 sec). Speed presentations with a touch of modern art.

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.

National Park Bic, Québec.

Thanks UQAR for organizing such an interesting symposium!

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06.05.2017 11:01Equipment explained- part III: the t-brush Dana Hellemann

Last time in EE II you learned all about soft sediment coring with a GEMINI/GEMAX corer. Muddy soft sediments are generally sticky, often stinky, and sampling them will most likely make you look like a little piglet that enjoyed a decent roll in its favorite pit. That´s why we wrap us in orange rubber and simply accept the mud stains on everything uncovered, such as… the face.


A bucket full of black mud from the seafloor. Everything not in the bucket can be found on Anni and me, though the picture shows a rather clean state of us (pictures: Ines Bartl, IOW).

 But what about the core sleeves that hold our samples, what degree of mud stain is acceptable there?

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Very simple: none.

One of the most crucial points in getting reliable data are undisturbed and uncontaminated samples. When working with sediment, a fast track to destroy your sample directly onboard is to get sediments from deeper layers onto the top surface and the water overlying the surface, mixing totally different element compositions and concentrations.

This points a big finger to constant cleaning: fingers, top lids, sub sampling gear and the core sleeves. And with a sleeve diameter of 8-9 cm which tool would be better suited for that job than a t(oilet) brush?

EMB123_FTClean core sleeves thanks to lots of water and a t(oilet) brush (picture: Franziska Thoms, IOW).


I am totally serious about this: a toilet brush is one of the essential key tools in sediment sampling.

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And so romantic in the sunset (picture: Franziska Thoms, IOW).

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01.04.2017 17:56Equipment explained: part II - the GEMAX / GEMINI corer Dana Hellemann

Sampling the sea floor is not a trivial task. Frequently, I get the same question: “How do you get your sediment samples, do you dive down there?” The bottom of the sea puzzles people. It is somewhere there, but you cannot see it. Thus, it is not unreasonable to assume diving as solution to the puzzle, as it lends an eye to the sampling process. This is how my colleagues from the benthosphere , who work on shallow coastal ecosystems, get their samples (see Sampling benthos).

Somewhere there, below the sea surface, is the sea floor. Even in the coastal zone, this "somewhere" might however mean many meters of water column.

Yet, with increasing water depth and subsequently decreasing light, sampling via diving becomes complicated. On the dark side of the sea floor we therefore use sediment corers operated from ships. As corers have no eyes, we work virtually blindfolded which can often feel like gambling (and thus holds a certain kick). Sediment maps are helpful for giving directions, especially in early planning phases; however, often they are extrapolated or outdated and when looking at the first sample coming on deck, you might find that the sediment type has changed over the years, e.g. due to a change of current regime or deposition environment.

Surprises for free, excitement guaranteed- that´s sediment coring!

Sediment coring is an exciting task, including joy & disappointment, puzzlement & frustration, and a decent amount of waiting (picture: Franziska Thoms, IOW).

The successful retrieval of a sediment sample from the sea floor depends largely on the right corer. Sediment types vary in sturdiness, resp. softness, e.g. comparing sturdy sand sediment with soft mud sediment; consequently, you have special corers for each type. If you have followed this blog for some time, you will have heard about MUC, HAPS, GEMAX, GEMINI, BOX – over the last 3 years, we have had them all.

Today you will meet the GEMAX/GEMINI corer, which is according to an essay by Boris Winterhalter the “ultimate corer for soft sediment”. Do I need to say more?

A GEMINI corer, ready to be launched.

The GEMAX / GEMINI corers are twin gravity corers for soft sediments. They base on the original Niemistö corer (Niemistö, 1974), which was highly successful with the only offset of a too small sample size. By doubling the core barrels a twin corer was born, self-evidently baptized GEMINI. Sample quality was further improved by increasing the diameter of the core barrels, which created the GEMAX.

Today, both GEMINI and GEMAX are standard corers all along the Baltic Sea coast. They consist of a stainless steel housing which is fitted by acryl core liners with sharpened steel cutters at their ends; those, as the name says, are capable to cut through the sediment. In the end, the core liners will hold the sediment sample. Both corers might look alike, but do not underestimate their difference: even 1 cm variation in core diameter makes a huge difference when trying to fit in a wrong inner core liner. From experience I can say: no, they don´t fit and no, they also cannot be squeezed in. Acryl is a quite solid material.

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A full GEMAX corer back at the sea surface. Its muddy condition is a true sign that it really was in the sediment.

The corer penetrates soft sediments vertically based on its own weight and the lowering speed of the winch. Upon upwards pull a closing mechanism is triggered that locks the sediment securely in the core liners, creating a nice sediment core of ~ 30-40 cm.

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And action: Laetitia, Wytze and Mathias while retrieving the full core liners. Requirements here: be quick, put the plug tight and don´t be afraid of getting muddy (left). My house, my car, my....sediment core: happy mood while subsampling a fresh core (right). (pictures: Ines Bartl, IOW) 


Some care needs to be taken for the core liners, which somehow have a tendency to roll over board. Your only solution if you want to have them back: diving- and the circle closes.

A dropped core liner being successfully brought back to the surface.

Next time in equipment explained: why a toilet brush is an essential tool in sediment coring.

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26.02.2017 14:11Equipment explained: part I – the scientific knitting needles Dana Hellemann

While writing up the materials & methods part of my work, I came to realize how often ordinary household items find a permanent place in the scientific tool box. So far, during field and lab work I have been using tooth picks, pressure cookers, flip-top beer bottles, knitting needles, toilet brushes and not to forget the number one all-purpose item, the bucket (water sampler, sample and waste container, water bath and chair all at once) – all for scientific purposes.


Yes, this is scientific equipment: flip-top beer bottles used for salinity sample storage (advantage: tight closing), a cup as support item, and two household pressure cookers used as autoclaves, e.g. for divers biogeochemical analysis.

In this new series you will get to know everything you ever wanted to know about our equipment – ALL our equipment.

Part 1: the scientific knitting needles

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When measuring sediment denitrification, I add isotopically labeled nitrate (15NO3-) to intact sediment cores. This nitrate will be reduced by the denitrifying bacteria to as well labeled N2, from which the genuine denitrification rate can be calculated (a very rough and simplified description of the isotope pairing technique, Nielsen 1992). To stop the process after a certain incubation time, I carefully mix the sediment, create a sediment-water slurry and thus stop the anaerobic reaction by introducing oxygen.

Mixing a soft, muddy sediment is easy:


Mixing a coarse sandy sediment is somewhat more challenging, as it is usually compact, sturdy and thus utterly unwilling to be mixed:


That´s how the knitting needles found their place in my sand work equipment: being similarly sturdy, sharpened and slim, they proved to be the perfect tool for creating a careful sand-water slurry. Beyond that, if you should have time off during your incubation waiting, kidding. There´s no time off. Never :-)

Next time in "equipment explained": the Gemini / Gemax twin corer!

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30.01.2017 11:264th annual BONUS COCOA meeting Dana Hellemann

Eventually, everything has to end. Also the BONUS COCOA project, which still has 11 months to go and thus it is not time to say goodbye YET.... however, last week´s 4th annual meeting was at the same time also already the last of our annual meetings.

Thus, the pressure to finish up is on, but luckily motivation and good mood as well. The necessity for synthesizing our work in mind, we used the 3 1/2 days of meeting very well with exchanging results from all involved disciplines and making plans on how to proceed in the time left. More details on the content and what magic has to do with science you can also read on the COCOA benthosphere blog: My great German adventure.
The happy participants of the 4th annual BONUS COCOA meeting at the Institute for Baltic Sea Research (IOW), Warnemuende. Missing on the picture: Alexander, Colin, Erik, Heather, Karen and Markus.

Thanks to the project coordinators Jacob and Daniel for the constructive meeting, and special thanks to Maren and her team for organizing and hosting it at the Institute for Baltic Sea Research (IOW) in Warnemuende. A direct view to the beach is always helpful when discussing matters on coastal ecosystems!

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18.12.2016 22:26An enthusiastic roar for marine science communication Dana Hellemann

While my Finnish colleagues celebrated the national Independence Day and everyone else St. Nikolaus Day, I flew to Bruges in Belgium, to attend the CommOcean 2016, the 2nd International Marine Science Communication Conference.

The CommOCEAN 2016 participants in front of the conference venue, Provincial Court Bruges. Picture: VLIZ (Els Verhaeghe).

Held in the Provincial Court on the Market Square right in the heart of medieval Bruges, the impressive venue arose slight considerations whether it might be appropriate to curtsy before a talk...

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..and thanks to the chair decorations, also a significant number of lions attended the talks, cheering and roaring for each speaker.

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An enthusiastic roar was well justified, thinking back to excellent talks and workshops, and overall passionate and motivated participants, discussing how to improve the communication of scientific results, which tools to use and why this is in general important. Picture right: VLIZ (Els Verhaeghe).

So why does science communication matter? Who should do it? And how?

It matters, because our scientific work will likely have only little impact on society and environment, if we do not tell about it- beyond the academic circles. This is particularly important in environmental sciences like ocean sciences, where our work is tightly linked to the effects of anthropogenic impacts such as climate change, eutrophication, acidification, over fishing. Explaining our aims and efforts to non-academics might lead to understanding, awareness and in the best case a change of behaviour towards the environment.

These communication efforts should not be seen disentangled from our pure scientific work as something that hopefully the public relations office can deal with, because there´s lab work to be done and a cruise to be prepared…

On the contrary, tell about your cruise preparation: what will you be doing, why the Arctic…and why in winter?! You can twitter, blog, produce videos, involve school children and have skype class room talks - there is a platform for everyone and equipment for everyone. It is totally fine to make a video with your mobile phone (Lisa D. Tossey: “Using the technology in your pocket for science storytelling in the digital age”). The main point is to get involved and spread your message, which may even increase your citation number (Line Reeh: "Boosting impact and citation- why talking to journalists might actually be a good idea").


Social media platforms (twitter, facebook, instagram) and the visual aspect (video, photo, picture) are key aspects in modern science outreach. Left: good mood and probably some #CommOCEAN memory pictures. Right: Christopher Malapitan, visualizing the plenary talks. Pictures: VLIZ (Els Verhaeghe).

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Some visualized talks of the first day, by Christopher Malapitan.

Encouraged and supported by BONUS, I had submitted an abstract about my experiences in running this science blog about the biogeochemistry work of the COCOA project, and therefore tried to convince the participants of my session “Dealing with the media” that blogging is a great tool for scientific outreach. Modern, fast, easy, cheap, visual and with a wide-spreading impact- perfect for getting your message out in today´s fast-running and internet-oriented world. My proposed way of catching and keeping the audience: authenticity, collegiality and passion.

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In the parallel session “A blue public- getting the message out to a wide audience” Maija Sirola from BONUS spoke about the engagement of scientist in communication and outreach, e.g. also via the BONUS blogs. Pictures below left: me, right: Maija. VLIZ (Els Verhaeghe).


Thanks BONUS for the support, it was an inspiring conference with perfect organization, great people and the best conference bag you could wish for on St. Nikolaus Day!
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Team BONUS Maija and me happy at CommOCEAN 2016 in Bruges, Belgium.

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04.12.2016 21:25Three cheers for a motivation penguine

About two weeks ago, THE big moment was there: after 3 years, I finally took the last field samples of my PhD. Oooh, wooow...ahm, well. As so often in life, you don´t notice big moments when they are there. So also here, as we decided first some days later that I actually would have enough data. Thus, except for a beautiful sampling scenery in early Finnish snow, the last official sampling was rather unspectacular.

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Early morning start, Gemax mud sampling, some light in the far distance and pore water sampling in ice and snow- sampling routine in winter conditions at the Finnish coast.

No more digging in mud and sand, hu, and now? Luckily, as PhD student you are hardly ever bored :-)

After all the fun on the water there remains the task of making sense of your data. And that´s exactly, what all of the BONUS COCOA PhD students are doing right now: writing manuscripts. Also the 3rd year of the COCOA project seemed to have passed on the fly, which means that us PhD students come closer and closer to the finish line (which has different time length still though, from several months to a year). The pre-christmas time is nearly famous for dedicated working towards manuscript submission- everyone wants to have them done before the holidays to not get distracted by excel, sigmaplot and ocean data view from drinking glöggi.

Thus, you won´t be surprised to find most of us these days hidden behind paper-piles and computer screens- no matter whether in Helsinki or Warnemuende:

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Ines und Franziska (Institute for Baltic Sea Research, Warnemuende), fighting with nutrient dynamics in the rather dynamic Vistula estuary, Polish coast.

But is the prospect of drinking glöggi with a data unoccupied brain really the only motivation carrying us through the writing process? No, it´s not. Luckily there´s the motivation penguin (Ines), motivation cards (Franzi) and motivation t-shirts (me).

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Fingers crossed for high motivation on the pre-christmas manuscript submission finish line!

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