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The first stage of the BONUS BLUEWEBS project was completed

Institute of Food Safety, Animal Health and Environment “BIOR” in consortium with the main project coordinator Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE) and 7 partners from Finland, Germany, Poland and Sweden implemented the first stage of the BONUS BLUEWEBS project (Blue growth boundaries in novel Baltic food webs).


The main tasks achieved in the first stage (01.04.2017.-31.03.2018.) of the project:

  • Data on long-term changes in Baltic Sea phytoplankton, zooplankton, zoobenthos abundance and biomass as well as the number of waterbirds of the Gulf of Riga were prepared. Data were included and used in project work packages.
  • In cooperation with project partners from Finland (Åbo Akademi University), the analysis of the prepared datasets was started to evaluate the structural and functional changes in the Gulf of Riga food web.
  • The construction of the ECOPATH/ECOSIM food web model was started using the datasets on changes in the Gulf of Riga food web. Literature analysis has been performed to characterise the feeding ecology of food web objects. The collection of stomach samples has been started to characterise the feeding ecology of the round goby in the Gulf of Riga.
  • Ivars Putnis and Janis Gruduls participated in two project working group meetings held in Stockholm on 23-27 October (2017) and 5-8 March (2018). During these meetings project participants discussed food web modelling issues in various parts of the Baltic Sea. BIOR researchers presented information on the Gulf of Riga ecosystem, available datasets, and other issues related to food web modelling. After input data collection, the food web model basic structure (ECOPATH) was developed, including 25 functional groups. Steady-state food web model was parametrised and prepared for ECOSIM simulations started for the period 2004-2014. It is planned to analyse food web structural and functional changes under different scenarios (novel climates, invasive species, fisheries dynamics) using the mass-balanced food web model.
  • Preparation of cod otolith material was started for stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analyses.
  • Information was provided for a stakeholder database.
  • The BONUS BLUEWEBS project partner meeting took place at Institute BIOR on May 29-31. In the meeting 17 participants from Finland, Sweden, Germany, Poland and Latvia discussed questions related to project implementation and partner’s responsibilities.
  • Ivars Putnis and Georgs Kornilovs participated in project meeting which took place in Stockholm on 14-16 November (2017). During the meeting project coordinators and work package leaders discussed project implementation and planned further works. Special attention was paid to the connection between work packages and the development of a training plan.
  • Ivars Putnis, Janis Gruduls and Solvita Strake participated in the 76th Scientific Conference of the University of Latvia with the presentation: “Gulf of Riga food web analysis: challenges and potential”.
  • Co-authorship in the publication:

Uusitalo, L., Tomczak, M.T., Müller-Karulis, B., Putnis, I., Trifonova, N., Tucker, A. 2018. Hidden variables in a Dynamic Bayesian Network identify ecosystem level change. Ecological Informatics. 45, 9-15.



The total costs of the project are 2,8 million EUR, the Institute’s BIOR share is EUR 148 430,40, where 50% financed by the European Commission and 50% by the Latvian state budget.


The project will be implemented in three stages from 01.04.2017 to 31.03.2020.


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