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VACCIA Action 5: Development of a GIS-platform for the identification of changes in management criteria of coastal ecosystems


This action will focus on the coastal ecosystems in the Western Gulf of Finland. The region comprises a number of natural resources with conservation, recreation, or economic values, which are directly influenced by climate-induced pressures. These resources include a large Natura-2000 marine reserve (FI0100005, 52 000 ha) and the 52 sq km Ekenäs Archipelago National Park, with a diverse fauna (evertebrates, fish, birds, mammals) and a unique aquatic plant community. The climate-induced pressures that these resources face consist of changes in eutrophication levels (following increased winter-time runoff), decreased salinity, shifts in hydrological patterns in semienclosed bays and increased areas of oxygen-depleted sea-bottoms. These factors induce major challenges on biodiversity, ranging from population decreases due to desalinization in, for instance, key species such as blue mussels, to a reshuffling of migration and reproductive schedules in birds.

The aim of this action is to develop a GIS-platform, which compiles spatial information of environmental data on both biological parameters (e.g. species composition) and physical-chemical parameters (e.g. salinity, oxygen-concentration, nutrients), which are known to be sensitive to climate induced processes. The platform will include scientific as well as monitoring data, and it will allow rapid access to the newest available information, hence allowing for a contemporary synthesis of changes in management criteria. The data for the platform will be collected within the Western Gulf of Finland (WelFin) LTER-site, which encompasses all the major organizations that carry out monitoring and/or scientific data collection in the area. Within this action, information on both past and on-going data collection schemes will be included and information on these will be made available via an internet-based GIS-platform. The development-work will be carried out at Tvärminne Zoological Station in Hanko, Finland, in tight collaboration with regional stakeholders (data-producers, local authorities). The platform and its implementation at a user level will be introduced to local authorities and NGO:s (e.g. associations for fishermen, hunters and others) as well as to the general public.

Methods employed       

This action will collect information on available environmental data (scientific data, scientific publications, monitoring data) in the region. The information will be made available through an internet-based GIS-platform, i.e. the data will be given spatial coordinates. The GIS-platform will include searchable maps, where types of data are arranged in their respective layers. The information can be accessed either by reviewing all the information for a given region of interest, or by making key word searches for specific topics. Links will be made either to the data-producer, or directly to downloadable data-sets, depending on the conditions that are applied to the data in question.

The information will be used by the parties of the LTER-site to produce analyses (reports) on major changes in the area, focusing for instance on migration and reproductive schedules of birds, aquatic vegetation, shifts in hydrological patterns in semi-enclosed bays, and shifts in salinity and its consequences for e.g. fish and blue mussels.

Expected results

This action will produce the following results:

  • An internet-based GIS-platform with information on environmental data
  • Analyses and reports on major climate driven changes and pressures in the area
  • Workshops on the use of the GIS-platform and on the results and implications of the reports in terms of needs to adapt management to climate change
  • Communications to the general public on the use of the GIS-platform

Contact person

Marko Reinikainen, University of Helsinki, marko.j.reinikainen(at)

Published 2013-05-06 at 10:03, updated 2013-05-06 at 10:02