Baltic Sea monitoring cruise warns of impending algal blooms

By on March 2, 2015

Recent cruise monitoring of the Baltic Sea returned a wealth of data, including the likelihood of significant algal blooms to come, according to a press release from the Finnish Environment Institute.

The cruise ship Aranda gathered data on salinity, dissolved oxygen, hydrogen sulphide and critical nutrients nitrogen and phosphorus. Nitrogen and phosphorus are especially important to algal growth.

Aranda was gathering information as part of its monitoring of the large inflow of water into the Baltic Sea, which has already moved 200 kilometers inward in the southern region and has positively impacted some basins of the Baltic, such as Arkona and Bornholm. It is also moving through Gdansk and other deep areas.

The large water inflow improves the oxygen content of the deep sea bed, which is otherwise oxygen-poor and nutrient-rich. The inflow also brings in salt water to replace anoxic deep water.

The phosphorus levels are expected to be high across the Baltic this summer due to the inflow and the movement of high levels of phosphorus off the sea bed and up to the surface, where algae are expected to bloom if warm and calm conditions persist, combined with higher oxygen levels and high phosphorus, crucial for algae growth.

Top image: A monitoring cruise looks at the inflow in the Baltic Sea. (Courtesy of Finnish Environment Institute SKYE)

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