In order to manage the sea successfully all Baltic Sea scientists need to relate their work to possible variations and stressors, such as climate change. Updated understanding of how processes interplay in our complex Baltic ecosystem is also necessary.

The whole ecosystem 

Student and organizer group photo. Most of the 16 lecturers stayed at least 24 hours on Askö which ensured opportunities for networking and further discussions.

The Baltic Earth and BEAM programmes therefore arranged a one-week postdoctoral course at Askö Laboratory in August on how climate is connected to our commonly studied Baltic Sea research areas. To address stressors and ecosystem response, a holistic Earth System approach as well as key processes in meteorology, climatology, oceanography, marine and land chemistry and biology was presented.

- Our course provided the students with interdisciplinary scientific knowledge on climate variability and ecosystem dynamics in the Baltic Sea catchment area, says the course leader professor Markus Meier. This kind of course is presently lacking in most Universities in the Nordic and Baltic Sea region and no single lecturer would be able to provide the expertise in all required disciplines.

Knowledge from many experts

16 expert lecturers with different expertise accepted the invite to teach at Askö. Below are their themes and each lecturer in alphabetical order. The lectures are available on film, just klick on the title to watch or listen.

  1. Projected future climate change and ecosystem changes in the Gulf of Bothnia by Prof. Agneta Andersson, Umeå University, Sweden
  2. Regime shifts & Marine management and scenarios by Dr. Thorsten Blenckner, Stockholm University, Sweden
  3. Climate impacts on fish by Prof. Keith Brander, Technical University of Denmark, Charlottenlund, Denmark
  4. Hypoxia in the Baltic Sea, eutrophication and geoengineering methods & Communicating your science (inkl. message box) by Prof. Daniel Conley, Lund University, Sweden
  5. Biogeochemical cycles in the Baltic Sea by Dr. Kari Eilola, Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute, Västra Frölunda, Sweden
  6. Marine ecosystem in the Baltic proper by Prof. Ragnar Elmgren, Stockholm University, Sweden
  7. Sediment processes, sediment-water fluxes by Dr. Jana Friedrich, Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht, Germany
  8. Land surface processes, socio-economy by Prof. Christoph Humborg, Stockholm University, Sweden
  9. The climate system and global climate models & Regional climate simulations by Prof. Erik Kjellström, Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute, Norrköping, Sweden
  10. Past and future climate variations of the Baltic Sea and their impacts on biogeochemical cycles by Prof. Markus Meier, SMHI, Norrköping, and Stockholm University, Sweden
  11. Physics and Chemistry of the Baltic Sea by Prof. Anders Omstedt, University of Gothenberg, Sweden
  12. BALTEX, Baltic Earth and BACC & How to give a bad presentation by Dr. Marcus Reckermann, International Baltic Earth Secretariat, Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht, Germany
  13. Cimate variability and extremes by Prof. Anna Rutgersson, Uppsala University, Sweden
  14. Land sea interaction, dynamical vegetation modeling by Prof. Benjamin Smith, Lund University, Sweden
  15. Pollution in the Baltic Sea by Dr. Emma Undeman, Stockholm University, Sweden
  16. Success and limitations of current climate models & The climate over the past 2000 years by Dr. Eduardo Zorita, Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht, Germany

Communication is a key

Between the lectures the course participants used the resourses at the field station. Snorkeling became a daily activity.

The 20 participants on the course came from eight countries, and thus had diverse perspectives on acceptance and possible ways of promoting environmental management to the public and authorities in their respective countries. The discussions, group work and exercises therefore successfully reached a real-world atmosphere. The students debated solutions to issues such as eutrophication from many angles, as the participating countries in Helcom would.

- The students listened to and vividly discussed the experts presentations, and had course work dedicated to specific questions, course leader dr. Marcus Reckermann explains. Also, the students had a task to draft a "research proposal" to be submitted to a virtual funding institution which gave them the opportunity to interact and collaborate across disciplines.

All students presented their current work, both by giving speed talks and as one-minute-talks from their work with the 'message box'.

Science communication was another important component of the course. All students developed a personal message box, which is a tool to simplify and describe the importance of something complex. There is great usefulness of such training in order to better convey a message to stakeholders and media, but also fellow researchers and funding agencies.