Climate adjusted tools for a sustainable blue economy in Kattegat-Skagerrak (BlueBioClimate) (112533)

Project Details


Climate change adaptation and mitigation is receiving increased attention due to the recognition that we need immediate action to avoid catastrophic societal consequences. This concerns for example coastal protection from increased water levels and frequencies of extreme weather events. At the same time, there is a critical need for climate change adaptation of our nature and biodiversity protection to avoid collapse of ecosystems and their societal services. These two considerations may be difficult to reconcile, however they are in fact interdependent.

The biodiversity in aquatic environments (blue biodiversity, diversity on ecosystem, species, population, gene and functional levels) in the Kattegat-Skagerrak-region is under severe threat from combinations of climate change and factors such as pollution, nutrient load and fishing. We therefore urgently need an improved understanding of the role of biodiversity for ecosystem climate change resilience, and to develop the tools that can secure sustainable solutions to the biodiversity crisis under climate change.

For example, heat waves have increased mortality in eelgrass beds and kelp forests, which have important functions for biodiversity, coastal protection and carbon sequestration. Coastal fish populations are under dramatic decrease in some areas, and both stream dry up following extended period of drought and their brownification due to run-off of fresh water following heavy rain puts biodiversity under pressure, just as oxygen depletion has a critical negative influence on marine ecosystems.

There is increased focus on combining habitat restoration and supplementation of local populations, with both biodiversity and coastal protection purposes. The restoration of eelgrass beds and shellfish banks as natural habitats, but also physical structures such as stone reefs, dikes and locks for land and coastal protection, can have both positive and negative impacts on biodiversity. The restoration of streams and releases of fish and shellfish can affect natural ecosystems differently, depending on applied procedures.

Climate change also results in ecosystem changes due to the introduction of invasive, alien and new species. Examples of this are the Pacific oyster, which is now the dominating species of shellfish in some parts of the Kattegat-Skagerrak, and the zebra mussel, which has caused significant ecosystem changes in some fresh water systems. Invasive species often pose challenges to management, but potentially also opportunities for exploiting new resources locally.

In the Kattegat-Skagerrak-region, there are two main challenges for achieving climate adapted biodiversity protection. We need new tools for our work with biodiversity protection and exploitation because the existing methods rarely focus on ecosystem response and resilience to climate change. In addition, there is an urgent need for increased collaboration, knowledge sharing and coordination across national borders, as the challenges are shared across borders, while management and implementation often take place in isolation at national or even local levels.

In BlueBioClimate, we will create the foundation for a novel climate-adapted nature management of blue biodiversity by developing new tools that can be applied to adapt our biodiversity protection to climate change. We work in close cooperation with national and regional nature management authorities. We focus mainly on three areas of relevance to green transition: 1: Prioritization and spatial planning, 2: Restoration, land and coastal protection, and 3: Invasive, alien and new species. Along with the new tools, we will also develop a strategy for anchoring cooperation between management authorities on climate-adapted biodiversity protection across borders to secure its implementation in future nature monitoring and management.

DTU Aqua. National Institute of Aquatic Resources (coordinator)
Aarhus University, Denmark
University of Gothenburg, Sweden
Institute of Marine Research, Norway
University of Agder, Norway

The project is funded by Interreg Öresund-Kattegat-Skagerrak.

Research area: Population Genetics
Research area: Freshwater Fisheries and Ecology
Research area: Coastal Ecology
Effective start/end date01/10/202330/09/2026


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