Baltic Sea Genetic Biodiversity

BALTGENE final report
BALTGENE briefing on key results
Year 2 progress report
Year 1 progress report

For more relevant publications, visit (category BONUS+ reports)

Begin date 1.1.2009

End date 31.12.2011

Grant: 1565 419€

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. Fisheries-induced 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.


Baltic Sea genetic resources, ecosystem function and resilience, fisheries-induced selection, governance systems, management strategies

List of Participants and Principal Scientists

University of Gothenburg, Sweden

Kerstin Johannesson (Coordinator)

Department of Zoology, Stockholm University, Sweden

Nils Ryman 

Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Helsinki, Finland

Juha Merilä

Luleå University of Technology, Sweden

Carl Rova

Institute of Cytology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Russia

Natalia Mikhailova

Institute of Oceanology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Poland

Roman Wenne 

University of Turku, Finland

Craig Primmer

University of Gothenburg, Sweden

Carl André

Please visit the BaltGene webpage and the BaltGene wiki for more information!