BaltGene - Baltic Sea Genetic Biodiversity

Project leader


Funding source

Formas - The Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning

Project Details

Start date: 01/01/2009
End date: 31/12/2012
Funding: 3935793 SEK


Biodiversity is indispensable to ecosystem production of goods and services and provides the basis for marine fisheries, recreation and tourism. Biodiversity management has thus far mostly focused on species-level biodiversity, but new research suggests genetic biodiversity is equally important. This seems particularly likely for the species-poor Baltic Sea in which populations of key ecosystem species are known to be genetically unique in many cases. The BaltGene project will identify and map Baltic Sea genetic biodiversity and experimentally test its importance to the functioning and the resilience of the ecosystem. BaltGene will also assess the potential threats to the unique diversity from fisheries, climate changes, aquaculture activities and habitat loss. Fisheriesinduced selection is a serious threat that might lead to lower fish production if management does not take the demographic and genetic structure of fish populations into account. Genetic biodiversity is directly proportional to the capacity of organisms to evolve and adapt to new environmental conditions, and critical issues are how, and if, Baltic organisms will respond to scenarios of decreased salinity and changed oceanic currents. BaltGene will also assess how current governance structure, policies and laws affect key genetic biodiversity, and following this, investigate possible new ways to incorporate genetic biodiversity information into an ecosystem-based management of the Baltic Sea.

Last updated on 2017-24-03 at 13:00