Hypoxia in the Baltic Sea has become more frequent and widespread over the last century due to increased nutrient inputs from land and atmosphere. Sediments and the benthic faunal community play an important role for recycling nutrients, and the development of hypoxia may occur as cascading regime shifts leading to further deterioration of ecosystem health.
Our present knowledge on processes leading to hypoxia is fragmented and discipline-specific, with strong repercussions for accurately computing nutrient reductions needed to restore the Baltic Sea.
The overall objective of HYPER is to establish a sound scientific basis for nutrient management on both a local and regional scale to reduce hypoxia and re-establish desired ecosystem services. It is important to understand the past in order to predict for the future. HYPER strives to synthesize this knowledge at an ecosystem scale and establish a holistic scientific understanding of the mechanisms leading to hypoxia and associated effects on benthic fauna.
- quantify nutrient feedback rates from the sediments over gradients of salinity, temperature and benthic community structure.
- describe the temporal and spatial variability of these processes within the entire Baltic Sea and use this information for improving existing models describing the hydrodynamics and biogeochemistry. Required nutrient reductions to maintain a healthy ecosystem will be estimated taking future climate changes into account.
- combine field and experimental work into a modelling framework for nutrient management via the Baltic Nest Institute.
The project is carried out at 11 institutes covering 6 countries around the Baltic Sea.
More information is available at the official HYPER home page (pdf, 629 kB)
A new brochure (published October 2011) about the HYPER project and its main findings can be downloaded here. (pdf, 629 kB)