Modelling Biodiversity for Sustainable Use of Baltic Sea Living Resources

General information

The diversity of life is key to the provision of key ecosystem goods and services which are used by society and for maintaining the foodwebs which provide and support these goods and services. However this diversity is increasingly challenged and threatened by continuing socio-economic activities and development, including direct exploitation, eutrophication, climate change, and the introduction of non-native species. Presently, our knowledge of how biodiversity is impacted by such perturbations is limited and often not reliable enough to provide strong guidance for marine policy makers, resource managers and spatial planners. Both new understanding of biodiversity and new approaches for quantifying its variations are needed to help apply biodiversity knowledge in policies that can support long-term sustainable use of ecosystems and their goods and services.

This course will use the Baltic Sea as a case study system to learn how biodiversity affects the functioning of ecosystems and foodwebs, and how they provide goods and services to society. The Baltic Sea has relatively few marine species compared to other marine areas due especially to its low salinity. Yet it provides many of the same services and goods as other systems. Why is this possible, will this situation continue in the future and is the Baltic Sea more vulnerable to human impacts than other systems? This course will provide new biodiversity understanding and quantitative tools that can help students address such questions.

The course will have an emphasis on quantitative and functional approaches to biodiversity. The course is jointly planned and organised by the four BONUS projects BIO-C3, INSPIRE, COCOA and BAMBI. Questions about course content can be sent to Prof. Dr. Brian MacKenzie, DTU Aqua,

Tentative Programme:
The course will consist of lectures, statistical analyses/ modelling exercises and discussions addressing both functional and taxonomic aspects of marine biodiversity, with emphasis on estuarine systems, using the Baltic Sea as a case study.
Students will learn how to estimate and quantify temporal-spatial variations in biodiversity at different major taxonomic levels in the foodweb (e. g., benthos, plankton, fish), and will learn how such variations affect the functioning of foodwebs, including the potential for sustainable utilisation of resources.

Learning outcome:

Improved skills for quantifying spatial-temporal variations in marine biodiversity, and consequences of variations for foodwebs and sustainable utilisation of living resources
Estimate and analyse functionally-based indicators of biodiversity
Stronger knowledge of biodiveristy and foodweb functioning in the Baltic Sea
Estimate how indicators of marine biodiversity could be impacted by perturbations such as fishing, eutrophication, climate change and invasive species.


Students can expect to:
-learn ways to model variations in biodiversity due to both natural and anthropogenic drivers;
-demonstrate how variations in biodiversity affect species interactions in foodwebs and the provision of ecosystem services and products, and
-quantify how such natural and man-made perturbations affect both taxonomic and functional descriptors of biodiversity for major taxonomic groups in the Baltic Sea (e. g., fish, benthos, plankton).

Contact Person: Brian R. MacKenzie (


The highlighted icons, represent the fields of education (in compliance with ISCED Classification) engaged during this course/programme.


Venue: Søminestation
Holbæk, Denmark

The course will be held in a teaching Facility owned by a Danish university and located at the seaside in a protected forest.
Sleeping accomodiations and meals will be onsite in dormitory-style facilities (3-4 beds/room).
Additional information at (text in Danish, but many photos). The location is approximately 90 minutes outside of Copenhagen, Denmark.



Accommodations and food during the summer school, and local transport from Copenhagen to Søminestation will be covered by the BONUS projects; participants/projects will have to pay their travel to and from Copenhagen.


-Undergraduate and/or graduate courses in marine ecology, biodiversity, biological/fisheries oceanography, applied statistics
-experience with Excel, Word, Powerpoint

Experience conducting statistical analyses, such as time series and spatial analyses; linear and nonlinear regression, GAM
Computer programming experience in R, Matlab or similar

Application Procedure:

Applications (deadline June 5, 2016)
Send applications by e-mail to Heidi Andreasen ( Applications should include the following documents assembled into 1 pdf file:
• A short (max. half page) summary of your research interests/project.
• A paragraph on what you hope to learn and take away from the summer school.
• Your current CV (2 pages max.), including statement of your programming, modelling and data analytical skills and which programming languages you know (e. g., R, Excel, Matlab, Python). This will help us design group work.
• For applicants outside of BIO-C3/INSPIRE/COCOA/BAMBI: a half page motivation letter detailing why you are interested to participate in relation to your research goals.
• Everybody will have to prepare an A0 poster on their research projects, for an evening poster session discussing own research and possible interactions/collaborations between the participating young scientists (due at time of summer school only).
• BONUS BIO-C3, INSPIRE, COCOA, BAMBI: PhDs and postdocs will be accepted to the summer school after registering with the above information. MSc students can also apply, participation will be confirmed based on availability of spaces by June 15, 2016.
• External participants: we will decide on your application based on the motivation letter and the fit of your research interests with the summer school topics, and will confirm participation by June 15, 2015.


Academic level: PhD


Individual and group-based exercises involving statistical analyses and modelling
Presentations of results
Participation in discussions

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