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Baltic Sea shores and climate change
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Ecology, Environment and Plant Sciences.
2014 (English)In: Plants and Ecology, ISSN 1651-9248Article, review/survey (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.)) Published
Abstract [en]

The Baltic Sea is a brackish semi-enclosed water volume with a pronounced latitudinal gradient in salinity and temperature. Climate change projections for the Baltic Sea ecosystem include; increased water temperatures, increased eutrophication, increased occurrence of cyanobacteria blooms and a probable change in salinity. Higher water temperature will increase the metabolic rate of plants and animals which, together with eutrophication, will benefit fast growing, filamentous algae and thereby cause a reduction in the population of the important species bladderwrack (Fucus vesiculosus).

The coast around the Baltic Sea is heavily exploited by humans, especially the sheltered, shallow areas where shore meadows are usually found. Since human structures and buildings will also be affected by a sea level rise, there might be an intensified conflict between human interests and conservation of coastal habitats in the future. Terrestrial shoreline habitats in the Baltic Sea show large geographic differences but species rich shore meadows are present everywhere along the coastline. The Baltic Sea region is under the influence of the last ice age with isostatic rebound still causing land uplift in the northern and central parts of the area. Climate change is constantly moving the equilibrium line between isostatic rebound and sea level rise northwards. Since many species in shoreline ecosystems depend on that new land continuously rise from the sea the composition of species will likely change radically due to rising sea levels. Further, a decrease in sea ice cover together with increased wind speeds during winter might enhance the ice scouring and disturbance in coastal habitats in the northern Baltic Sea. At the same time the management (grazing and hey making) of shore meadows along the Baltic shoreline has almost stopped which has decreased the diversity of plants and insects. The lack of management together with climate change and further fragmentation of valuable habitats will probably produce ecosystems that in the future will be dominated by relatively few generalist species.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm, 2014.
Keyword [en]
climate change, sea shores, energy flows, sea levels
National Category
Research subject
Ecological Botany
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-103522OAI: diva2:718430
Available from: 2014-05-21 Created: 2014-05-21 Last updated: 2014-05-22Bibliographically approved

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