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Trackers

If you visit this page you may have stumbled upon one of our drifting trackers. Here is a short description why the trackers are out drifting and what we are going to use them for. The trackers belong to a research project named BAMBI; Baltic Sea Marine Biodiversity that studies the capacities of marine species to deal with the current challenge of a rapidly changing Baltic Sea environment. To read more about the BAMBI project you can follow the links in the text.

A part of the BAMBI project is to model how three Baltic species; bladder wrack, isopod and stickleback spread during reproduction, and how the habitats of the species are connected to each other through individuals swimming or drifting with the ocean currents. If we know what environmental factors that affect this dispersal then we can predict what might happen if some of these factors change in the future.

The bladder wrack and narrow wrack are found in shallow waters. They mostly reproduce and spread locally, but drifting wrack has been sighted far out at sea, and both small parts and whole plants can settle again after drifting if they strand in a suitable area. However, how this happen, and how far they can drift is largely unknown. One of the purposes of the trackers is to test how something drifting in the surface, like a wreck plant, behaves close to the shoreline. How long time does it keep drifting before it gets stuck, and how far can it go?
Furthermore, to investigate how different parts of the Baltic Sea are connected to each other through currents we use computer models. In these the Baltic is divided into a number of grid cells for which we solve mathematical equations that describe the path of something that drifts with the currents. The model used in this project has a resolution of about 3.7 km. This is considered high resolution for a model that covers all of the Baltic Sea, but is still coarse compared to the small wreck plants that are being modeled. To check that the model gives accurate results we compare it against measured data. This is what the satellite trackers are for. Right now there are 10 trackers in use all around the Baltic, but if the experiment is successful it might be more coming.

If you happen to come by one of our trackers, and it is no longer drifting, we would greatly appreciate if you could return it to us.

Hanna Corell
Dept Biological and Environmental Sciences - Tjärnö
University of Gothenburg
SE-452 96 Strömstad
Sweden

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