Dissertation: Marine biodiversity, its state and ecosystem services

News 2023-11-13 at 12:57

A new PhD study examines the state of marine biodiversity and ecosystems, and their connections to the capacity of marine systems to produce ecosystem services, such as fishing and recreational opportunities. The dissertation also analyzes the performance of ecological indicators in marine systems. In the Baltic Sea, ecological indicators comprise, for example, the mean size and abundance of zooplankton. The results of the dissertation can be applied, for example, in developing ecological indicators, maritime spatial planning and ecosystem accounting. Syke’s researcher Susanna Jernberg defends her thesis at the University of Helsinki on Friday the 17th of November.

Ecosystems and biodiversity are rapidly deteriorating as result of human activities. Therefore, both the natural environment and the services and benefits it provides to society are under threat. Ecosystem approach has been suggested as one of the solutions to the problem.

The ecosystem approach requires knowledge about ecosystems and biodiversity and their state, and how these all affect the production of ecosystem services. Ecosystem services depend both on the state of ecosystems, and their structures, processes and functions.

More understanding is also needed about ecological indicators, their development, and how they are used to define the state of ecosystems. Considerable knowledge gaps exist especially regarding marine ecosystems, and the dissertation focuses on fulfilling these gaps.

Long-term monitoring data from the northern Baltic Sea was used in the study. Data was also collected from the literature and leading experts in the field.

The results can be applied in the management of ecosystems both nationally and internationally

In the study, assessment of the state of marine biodiversity was developed utilizing existing biodiversity indicators, such as the zooplankton indicator and an index describing benthic communities of coastal waters.

The results of the study show that the number of available indicators, and their spatial coverage and scale impact the assessment of state of marine biodiversity. In addition, the results emphasize the importance of different habitats and mobile species (seals and fish) for the production of ecosystem services in the northern Baltic Sea.

The study also sheds light on how a probability-based calculation method, Bayesian networks, can be used to determine the interconnections between ecosystem functions and services.

The dissertation clarifies how ecological data can be utilized in ecosystem service research. The results can be applied in the management of ecosystems both nationally and internationally.

More information

FM Susanna Jernberg, Finnish Environment Institute (Syke)
firstname.lastname@syke.fi, phone +358 40 041 5455

Susanna Jernberg defends her thesis on Friday 17.11.2023 at 12 in University of Helsinki. The event is in English.

Address: Main Building of the University of Helsinki, Auditorium Tekla Hultin (F3003), Fabianinkatu 33, Helsinki.

You can also follow the defence on Live stream

Defense: Marine biodiversity, its state and ecosystem services 

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