Ferryboxes assist in monitoring the state of the Baltic Sea

taken by research vessels from time to time. The sampling was so rarely done that the samples did not provide a comprehensive understanding of the fast-occurring changes in the state of the Baltic Sea. In 1993, the Alg@line project was set up to address this lacuna in data and to improve the monitoring of the open sea ecosystem.

Measurements taken by the ferryboxes have an important role in monitoring the Baltic Sea’s state

Cruise ships collecting scientific data: Alg@line-network

The open sea areas of the Baltic Sea are extensive and the environmental conditions in its different regions vary considerably. The data gathered by research vessels alone is insufficient to give us an adequate picture of the regional and temporal variations of the ecosystems of the high seas.

The Alg@line-network combines commercial maritime transport with the collection of up-to-date scientific data. This network is coordinated by the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE).

The Alg@line project installs flow-through measuring systems called ferryboxes on commercial vessels, which is a cost-efficient way to increase sampling rate. These merchant ships sail from Helsinki to Stockholm, Kemi and even as far as Lübeck, producing marine measurement data as they travel.

Several measurements are taken from the water that flows through the ferryboxes, including salinity, temperature, concentration of chlorophyll-a in phytoplankton, turbidity and amount of dissolved organic material. The ferryboxes also gather water samples that are used to determine the different species of phytoplankton in the water and the amount of dissolved nutrients.

Commercial ships are always on the move, which makes them an ideal platform for automatic measuring. SYKE currently operates ferryboxes installed on two commercial ships, M/S Finnmaid and M/S Silja Serenade.

Routes of the commercial ships with SYKE operated Alg@line equipment.