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HELCOM releases new report on phytoplankton in the Baltic Sea

Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission (HELCOM) For immediate release Helsinki, 17 May (HELCOM) – The Helsinki Commission today released a report on biovolumes and size-classes of phytoplankton in the Baltic Sea. The use of a standardised species list with fixed size-classes and biovolumes contained in this report will be a decisive measure for improving the quality of the phytoplankton counting method and the comparability of results. Phytoplankton constitutes an elementary component in aquatic ecosystems. Representing the base of the pyramid of productivity, the understanding and modelling of the aquatic ecosystem is not possible without knowledge of the species composition, productivity and biomass of phytoplankton. This report has been produced by the HELCOM Phytoplankton Expert Group (PEG). Most national laboratories from the coastal countries involved in the HELCOM Baltic Monitoring Programme (COMBINE) have contributed to the work using regional phytoplankton data. Distinct size-classes and biovolumes were agreed upon and established for most Baltic species which are possible to identify using a light microscope and the Utermöhl counting technique. The need for a comprehensive compilation was recognised already at the beginning of the phytoplankton studies in the framework of the Baltic Monitoring Programme launched in 1979. Since quality assurance of data is an important component of the HELCOM monitoring programme, measures were taken to evaluate and improve the recommended methods through intercalibrations between the different partners. In 1991, HELCOM PEG was established, with the main aim to unify methods of collection, counting and identification of phytoplankton species. Since accurate biomass estimates are important in phytoplankton monitoring, PEG also made considerable efforts to standardise size-classes and biovolumes of phytoplankton species found in the Baltic Sea. It is recommended that the present list with biovolumes and fixed size-classes be used for the calculation of phytoplankton biomass in routine monitoring of Baltic Sea phytoplankton. This list is meant to be an integral component of HELCOM’s phytoplankton counting programme (PhytoWin). The list will be updated as new information is obtained. To download the Biovolumes and Size-Classes of Phytoplankton in the Baltic Sea report in PDF format, click here. http://www.helcom.fi/stc/files/Publications/Proceedings/bsep106.pdf To view the Annex 1 of the report in MS Excel format, click here. Note to Editors: The Helsinki Commission, or HELCOM, works to protect the marine environment of the Baltic Sea from all sources of pollution through intergovernmental co-operation between the countries bordering the sea - Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, Sweden, and also the European Community. HELCOM is the governing body of the "Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area," more usually known as the Helsinki Convention. For more information, please contact: Mr Juha-Markku Leppänen Professional Secretary HELCOM Tel: +358 (0)207 412 627 Fax: +358 (0)207 412 639 E-mail: juha-markku.leppanen@helcom.fi Mr Nikolay Vlasov Information Secretary HELCOM Tel.: + 358 (0)207 412 635 Fax: +358 (0)207 412 639 E-mail: nikolay.vlasov@helcom.fi Med vänlig hälsning Anneli Nivrén, presschef Naturvårdsverket Swedish Environmental Protection Agency Tfn. 08-698 13 12, 070-206 37 27 anneli.nivren@naturvardsverket.se

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