Training course on Baltic Sea zooplankton identification

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General information

The course builds upon the more than 50 years of experience of the Archipelago Research Institute (ARI) has in conducting multidisciplinary research of the Baltic Sea, with a special focus on the Archipelago Sea. The Institute provides long-term monitoring data e.g. on hydrography, zooplankton and Baltic herring (Clupea harengus membras), and strong scientific expertise on long-term environmental monitoring and modeling decadal datasets. Additionally, the Institute offers facilities and services for field courses, individual researchers and research groups. Accommodation and restaurant services will be provided by Skärgårdskompaniet Oy Ab.

The course includes expert lectures on zooplankton ecology and processes important for understanding the Baltic Sea ecosystem, and hands-on training on zooplankton sample analysis and species identification.  The course starts with 2-days of lectures introducing various groups of zooplankton with reference to their morphology, ecology, diversity, research methodology, and interaction with hydrography and food-web. The lectures are then followed by practical experiences that will include zooplankton sampling and exercises in the laboratory on zooplankton sample processing and species identification for the major groups of zooplankton in the Baltic Sea: copepods, cladocerans, and rotifers. The participants are separated into groups for practices with person-to-person instruction, such as dissection techniques of copepod appendages. The last day is reserved for group presentations and discussion on the results from laboratory practice by each participant-group.

Course topics include:
•  Zooplankton ecology with reference to oceanographic and ecological interactions thatdetermine the species’ spatial and temporal abundance patterns
•  Food-web interactions in the Baltic Sea coastal and pelagic zone
•  Zooplankton communities’ impact on the ecosystem
•  Impact of climate change and human activities on zooplankton community patterns
•  Sampling cruise to the Archipelago Research Institute’s monitoring buoy and Airisto basin
•  Common zooplankton sampling practises with reference to monitoring and statistics
•  Processing of zooplankton samples
•  Light microscopy and ZooImage identification
•  Taxonomy and identification of marine, brackish-water and freshwater zooplankton in the Baltic Sea

The participant should have at least a Bachelor’s degree or diploma in science. MSc-students, PhD-students, post-docs, early career researchers and monitoring personnel in the Baltic Sea countries interested in learning more about Baltic Sea zooplankton taxonomy and ecology are invited to apply for this course. Criteria for selection will be motivation and usefulness of the training for ones career.

Learning outcome:

The aim of the course is to transfer knowledge between current and future generations of researchers by providing high quality education on the biology, ecology, and taxonomy of Baltic Sea  zooplankton and methods dealing with these subjects, with emphasis on the practical aspects of sample analysis and species identification. Other objectives of the course are to encourage mobility  and to promote networking with other researchers.

Upon completing the course, the participant will:
•  Have up-to-date knowledge of the ecology of common zooplankton species and taxa found in the Baltic Sea.
•  Be capable of operating common sampling equipment for zooplankton and processing the collectedzooplankton samples.
•  Have knowledge and skills on methods and techniques used in species identification.
•  Be able to identify the main taxonomic characteristics, sort the zooplankton samples into major groups.
•  Be able to count species abundance and biomass from a sample, and understand the statistics behind the counting methods.

Contact Person: Katja Mäkinen (


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

0511 - Biology", "0521 - Ecology", "0522 - Conservation and environmental management


Venue: Archipelago Research Institute's field station, Island of Seili
Själö, Finland


Open from
16 Nov 2016 to 30 Jun 2017



The course fee for a participant is Eur.550, covering 5-day accommodation, meals, course delivery materials, all bench fees, use of field station facilities, participation in the social program, organized as part of the course. Students will be responsible for making their own travel arrangements and for the costs involved in travelling to the Seili field station.


The course fee should be paid by not later than June (an exact date TBC), following acceptance of the applicant. A fee of up to Eur. 500 will be charged if a participant cancels within 30 days of the start date of the course without a valid reason. Full course fees will be charged in cases of non-attendance.


Participants will be accommodated in a dormitory with 2-person rooms. Linen and towels are included in the course fee.


The course is all-inclusive, meaning all meals will be included in the course fee (breakfast, lunch, dinner and a self-service evening snack). Coffee breaks with snacks are also included. The apartments where participants are accommodated offer also self-catering facilities.


The course includes a social program, including a traditional Finnish wood-burning sauna, 3-hour field and sampling/excursion trip to the Archipelago Sea with the research vessel R/V Aurelia and a banquet dinner.

Application Procedure:

The applicants should send a short motivation letter and CV. More information on the application procedure and exact dates will be confirmed in the near future.

For more information please contact: course coordinator, Katja Mäkinen, e-mail:


Academic level: Master, PhD, Lifelong Learning

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