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Project description


Project description

 
Aim of research project

The research project study the biodiversity in shallow sea areas and offshore banks south and east of Gotland, along the Swedish east coast and in southern Finland. The overall aim of the project is to link high quality data on seabed structure, bottom fauna and seaduck populations in the Baltic Sea and to identify the most important factors that affect the food availability and reproductive success of sea ducks. In addition, the factors and interactions that make certain local and regional sites especially valuable for seaducks during wintering and migration are also analysed.

The selected study areas are globally important for several species of seaducks and other waterbirds as well as important for fishery and shipping. The areas harbour, among other species, a large part of the European long-tailed duck population in winter. Seaducks like the long-tailed duck depend on abundant benthic food in coastal waters and offshore banks and may therefore serve as a model organisms for the study of interactions between sea ducks and bottom fauna.

Presentation of research results

The scientific results of the project will be published in the form of research papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals. The results of the project will be made available for nature conservation agencies or others who have an interest in conservation of marine biodiversity and spatial planning of sea areas. The results of the project will also be presented in the best way possible to create public awareness of the ecology and conservation of seaducks and other waterbirds in the Baltic Sea.


Activities

The project will link research on seabed conditions, benthic fauna, avian ecology in the Baltic Sea . It will therefore use a variety of approaches such as:

* Sampling of benthic fauna in selected study plots

* Analyses of blue mussel quality in different areas of the Baltic Sea

* High-resolution seaduck winter surveys (ship- and aircraft-based)

* Estimation of sex ratios and juvenile production of Long-tailed ducks

* Estimation of antropogenic mortality of Long-tailed ducks

* Modelling of demographic parameters of seaducks (e.g. reproduction, mortality and population growth)

* Analyses of hazardous substances in mussel eating seaducks
 

Co-ordination with other projects

The project will co-ordinate its activities with other research projects, i.e. with the Swedish offshore bank survey organised by SEPA and the SOWBAS marine bird surveys.