Chlorophyll concentration in the Baltic Sea

Innovative Approaches for Marine Biodiversity Monitoring and Assessment of Conservation Status of Nature Values in the Baltic Sea (Acronym - MARMONI)

LIFE09 NAT/LV/000238

Pollution, fishing, physical modifications, agriculture and other human activities exert pressure on marine species and their habitats. Thus, the countries bordering the Baltic Sea have legitimate concerns about its environmental status. Nutrient enrichment (eutrophication) is the greatest threat to the Baltic Sea ecosystem. It causes phytoplankton blooming which results in toxic secretions.  The pollution threats of the Baltic Sea are transnational; therefore a unified approach is necessary tackle this problem. Calculation of chlorophyll concentration in water bodies is the first step in developing a sustainable water management solution for the Baltic Sea.

Data collection in the Gulf of Riga – field study sampling (green points) and remote sensing aircraft flight lines.

The Aims

  1. To develop concepts for assessment of conservation status of marine biodiversity, including species and habitats and impacts of various human activities.
  2. To develop and test an innovative monitoring and assessment approach based on marine biodiversity indicators
  3. To apply a transnational approach for Baltic Sea biodiversity monitoring and assessment.

Our Role

Using the latest airborne remote sensing data we monitored phytoplankton concentration and mapped the shallow water environment and underwater habitats. The innovative method provides a more accurate and comprehensive assessment of the marine ecosystem. To assess phytoplankton concentration we applied airborne remote sensing data analysis. The data were acquired by a high resolution RGB camera and hyperspectral sensor technologies.

2.image. Hyperspectral data of chlorophyll distribution in one flight line: (a) real color image – what humans can see; (b) false color image (chlorophyll - green); (c) chlorophyll distribution map (chlorophyll - red).

3.image. Chlorophyll distribution in all remote sensing flight lines. The most concentrated chlorophyll highlighted in red, the least concentrated chlorophyll – in blue.

Project duration: 01.10.2010 – 31.03.2015

Project Manager: Gatis Eriņš, e-mail:, +371 26554613

The project is financed by: European Union LIFE+ Nature and Biodiversity Programme


Coordinating Beneficiary: Baltic Environmental Forum – Latvia

Associated Beneficiary: Latvian Institute of Aquatic Ecology, Latvian Fund of Nature, Nature Conservation Agency, Baltic Environmental Forum – Estonia, Estonian Marine Institute, Finnish Environment Institute, Finnish Game and Fisheries Research Institute, Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management, Aqua Biota Water Research, Swedish Environmental Protection Agency.

More about the project