Photo: Martin Almqvist/Azote
The ICES/HELCOM Working Group on Integrated Assessments of the Baltic Sea (WGIAB) was setup in 2007 as a forum for developing and combining ecosystem-based management efforts for the Baltic Sea. The general approach of WGIAB is to assess the state and development of the different Baltic Sea sub-ecosystems considering all trophic levels and the impact of climate, fisheries and eutrophication.
An important goal of WGIAB is to support other ICES Baltic expert groups with input especially with respect to environmental information, i.e. with the state as well as the historic and future development of the different Baltic sub-ecosystems. WGIAB therefore is intended to serve as a counterpart and support for the ICES Baltic Fisheries Assessment Working Group (WGBFAS), but also to support related HELCOM assessment efforts such as HELCOM BIO and HELCOM FISH.
WGIAB has 3 main tasks:
- To conduct holistic ecosystem assessments based on large multivariate data-sets;
- To consider the use of ecosystem modelling in the assessment framework; and
- To develop adaptive management strategies for the different Baltic Sea eco-systems.
The collection and analysis of multivariate datasets has resulted in ecosystem assessments for 8 subsystems of the Baltic Sea, demonstrating dramatic shifts (i.e. regime shifts) in ecosystem structure and functioning during the last 3 decades on all trophic levels of the ecosystems related to climate variability and human exploitation.
Through development of ensemble modelling (of e.g. single species-, multispecies- and foodweb models under different scenarios of fishing and climate changes), the group work to broaden the understanding of Integrated Ecosystem Assessments (IAEAs), by including indicator systems. The aim is to give sound scientifically based advice for long-term management.
BNI and WGIAB
Researchers at the Baltic Nest Institute have been heavily involved in the work of WGIAB since its start in 2007 and also co-chaired the group through Thorsten Blenckner, who was co-chair between 2010-2011, and Maciej Tomczak, who started as co-chair in 2012.
Additional members from BNI are Risto Lignell, Bärbel Müller-Karulis, Susa Niiranen and Saskia Otto.
Publications of the WGIAB can be found and downloaded here.
Find more information about the group on the ICES/HELCOM WGIAB official web site.