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01.09.2018: New RD project on development of methods for monitoring of non-indigenous species

Phase 5 of the MONIS project has started today. NIVA Denmark will, together with University of Copenhagen, DTU Aqua and NIRAS develop test methods for monitoring of nob-indigenous species i freshwater and marine water, analyse potential sources of uncertainty in relation to eDNA-based methodologies used in a monitoring context, and analyse the sampling done under the NOVANA programme in 2017 and 2018. MONIS 5 is funded by the Danish Environmental Protection Agency and end ultimo 2020. Products will include scientific reports, updated guidelines for monitoring, and submission of data sets. Dr. Steen W. Knudsen has now been employed in NIVA Denmark – we are very happy to welcome him and are looking forward to this collaboration as research and development in relation to eDNA methods is not only of scientific importance but also of strategic importance to us in a longer perspective.

Further information can be obtained from chief scientist  Jesper H. Andersen.

06.11.2017: Fieldwork for “monitoring of non-indigenous species in selected Danish harbours” (MONIS 4) is successfully completed

The final samples for the project “monitoring of non-indigenous species in selected Danish harbours” have been successfully collected, in cooperation with Amphi Consult ApS, DTU Aqua and the Natural History Museum of Denmark (KU). Water samples for eDNA testing, plankton samples, samples of bottom living organisms on soft and hard substrates and fish were collected.
The extensive collection of samples is already being processed and analysed for the presence of non-indigenous species. There are already signs that we will see some exciting results. The report is expected to be published medio 2018.

Further information can be obtained from chief scientist  Jesper H. Andersen.

01.11.2017: We have moved to KUA3!

After three good years at Winghouse in Ørestad, we have moved into our new offices at Univate,  Copehagen University’s office collective at KUA3. We are looking forward to spending time here.

Our new address:

NIVA Denmark
Njalsgade 76, 4. floor
2300 Copenhagen S

Telephone: +45 39 17 97 33

20.10.2017: Reef structure deployed next to the old ferry harbour in Korsør

With help from NIVA Denmark, Slagelse municipality has completed the deployment of a reef structure. The reef has been placed beside the old ferry harbour, and will function as a recreational reef.

Chief scientist Jesper H. Andersen and scientist Ciarán Murray both participated in the deployment of the reef. NIVA Denmark is looking forward to following the colonisation of the reef the next couple of years, and we are excited to see what it will mean to the life under the sea surface. Bachelor student Mathias Brink from University of Copenhagen will undertake a project on colonisation of the reef by fish.

TV2 East reported the deployment of the reef. Watch the feature (in Danish) here.

8.9.2017: First national mapping of cumulative effects in Danish waters

In a new report from NIVA Denmark, researchers report which human stressors has the highest impact on the aquatic environment, where the overall load is greatest and how the individual loads vary from coast to sea. This is important knowledge for sustainable management of the marine areas

The overall effect of multiple stressors in a single environment has been calculated in previous studies. In this study, we have expanded the scope and, in addition, calculated how the effect of each stressor gradually changes from coast to sea, and how much each stressor affects each other, explains Jesper H. Andersen, Research Director of NIVA Denmark.

The conclusions of the report are: (1) Nutrients are still the biggest stressor, approx. 35-40% nationally, approx. 50% in coastal waters and, of course, higher in the fjords, (2) climate change and non-resident species are significant and neglected stressor, and (3) contaminants and fisheries, primarily trawling, are also important stressors, especially offshore.

As an EU member, Denmark is bound by the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD). The objective of the directive is to achieve good environmental status and to protect the resources, which an ocean-based economy is dependent on by 2020. This implies, among other things, the loss of marine biodiversity must be stopped. According to the criteria of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, environmental status in Danish marine areas is poor, and the same applies the ecological status in coastal areas, according to the criteria in the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD). The new NIVA Denmark report is provides important knowledge for further work on reducing human loads and increasing the use of ecosystem-based management in Danish waters – in particular, it can contribute to coordination between WFD and MSFD

The study was carried out by NIVA Denmark in collaboration with researchers from GEUS and Stanford University and financed by Danish Agriculture and Food Council.

Link to Report: RALAHA report

Further information can be obtained from chief scientist Jesper H. Andersen.

04.09.2017: New project on marine spatial planning in Øresund!

Based on an ecosystem-based approach, the project ‘Havplan Øresund’ will develop a marine spatial plan for sustainable development of the marine environment in Øresund, which includes both environment, business, economics, commercial interests, recreation and welfare.

Havplan Øresund is a collaboration between researchers from Aarhus University (lead), University of Copenhagen, GEUS, DTU Aqua and NIVA Denmark.

The marine spatial plan is being developed in cooperation with authorities and other managers of the sea areas, commercial stakeholder and NGOs and incorporates knowledge and data from existing sources that highlight the economic and social conditions and consequences of the utilization of the coastal and marine areas of Øresund.

The many data layers and knowledge on the area have not previously been collected and analyzed in order to assess synergies, conflicts and scenarios for future development in the region. The project will thus be the first example of a marine spatial plan in Danish marine areas.

NIVA Denmark plays a central role in mapping cumulative impacts in Øresund, and we will include data that has not previously been used.

Further information can be obtained from chief scientist  Jesper H. Andersen.

14.08.2017: New project on assessment of cumulative impacts in Danish marine waters

NIVA Denmark will carry out a science-based analysis of the impacts of multiple human pressures in Danish marine water: Client is the Danish Environmental Protection Agency. The analysis will in a processed form be included in the upcoming Danish Initial Assessment on the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive. The analyses and mapping of cumulative impacts in Danish marine waters will be based on a combination of 35 stressors and 47 ecosystem components. The project will be completed in 2017.

Further information can be obtained from Research Director Jesper H. Andersen.

13.07.2017: Successful monitoring of non-indigenous species in selected Danish harbours!

In cooperation with Amphi Consult ApS, DTU Aqua and the National History Museum of Denmark, NIVA Denmark has completed the 1st round of sampling regarding non-indigenous species in 16 selected Danish ports, cf. the sampling protocol for monitoring of non-indigenous species. The sampling has been completed successfully, and interesting results have already been achieved. We look forward to working on the remaining samples. The next round of sampling will take place in August and September.
Further information can be obtained from research assistant Emilie Kallenbach.

15.03.2017: NIVA Denmark concludes a cooperation agreement with the University of Copenhagen

NIVA Denmark and the Biological Institute, University of Copenhagen have entered into an agreement on strategic cooperation on research, knowledge development and dissemination and project applications.

The agreement will stimulate research and development cooperation projects (R & D) for strategically important areas of expertise and competence both for NIVA Denmark and the Biological Institute.

The cooperation agreement covers specific areas such as teaching, supervision of master- and PhD-students, joint laboratory facilities, sharing of competences and initiation of joint projects, focusing on applied research and science-based advice and solutions.

Further information can be obtained from Research Director Nikolai Friberg.

09.03.2017: Monitoring of non-resident species in selected Danish ports

In cooperation with Amphi Consult ApS, DTU Aqua, Litehauz ApS and the National Museum of Natural History (KU), NIVA Denmark has won the project ‘Monitoring of non-indigenous species in Danish ports’, financed by the Danish Agriculture and Fisheries Agency.

The project aims at mapping the presence of non-indigenous species in 16 selected ports. The sampling takes place in 2017 and the final report is expected to be published in mid-2018.

Further information can be obtained from chief scientist  Jesper H. Andersen.

07.02.2017: First national broker event took place in Helsingør

On 7th February 2017, the first national broker event was held in Helsingør. There was a high attendance and the participants represented a wide range of players in aquatic restoration. The presentations from the event can be found here. Currently, we are following up on the event, the discussions and the conclusions. Participants in the event will hear from us in May.

Further information can be obtained from research assistant Emilie Kallenbach.

01.11.2016: Mapping of ‘chemical state’ in Danish waters

NIVA Denmark, in collaboration with researchers from Aarhus University, has prepared and published a classification of ‘chemical state’ in the Danish marine areas using the multimetric indicator-based assessment tool CHASE.

The analyses were based on a nationwide data set from the NOVANA program with concentrations of environmentally hazardous substances in sediment and biota, as well as biological effects. The preliminary results showed that 129 out of 147 assessed areas could be classified as ‘problem areas’. The report demonstrates the potential of combining existing data into a data product that can support management of the Danish marine environment. The report from NIVA Denmark can be read here.

In addition to using the CHASE tool in a Danish context, NIVA Denmark participates in a number of Research and development projects funded by HELCOM and the European Environmental Agency (EEA) to make an updated thematic assessment of environmental hazardous substances for the Baltic Sea and to provide a first pan-European overview of ‘problem areas’ and ‘non-problem areas’.

04.08.2016: Most of the Danish parts of the North Sea, Skagerrak and Kattegat are ’eutrophication problem areas’ but improvements have been documented

In a study funded by the Danish Agency for Water and Nature Management (SVANA) NIVA Denmark Water Research has assessed eutrophication status in the Danish parts of the North Sea, Skagerrak and Kattegat as well as the northern and central parts of the Sound. This recently published assessment is entitled ”The Danish OSPAR COMP assessment” and has been based on the WFD Initial Assessment of ecological status in coastal waters, the MSFD Initial Assessment and a comprehensive analysis of satellite-based observation of chlorophyll a in order to separate coastal Problem Areas from offshore Non-Problem Areas. In the Danish WFD Initial Assessment from 2015, ecological status in coastal waters has been assessed using the following intercalibrated indicators: chlorophyll a, depth limit of Eelgrass (Zostera marina), and DKI (Dansk KvalitetsIndeks – a benthic macroinvertebrate sensitivity index). A multi-metric indicator-based assessment tool has not been applied due to the limited number of both indicators and biological quality elements. In the Danish MSFD Initial Assessment from 2012, eutrophication status was assessed using multiple indicators in combination with the HEAT 2.0 tool. The average chlorophyll a concentration was calculated for nearly 10 years of MERIS (MEdium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer) observations. The MERIS chlorophyll a concentration was corrected by comparison with in-situ observations of chlorophyll a. The results were used to determine the extent of the Problem Area, defined as the area where the 10-year average chlorophyll a concentration exceeds 3.5 µg L-1. The overall conclusions with regard to COMP3 are the same as found in both COMP2 and COMP1. All coastal waters as well as the open parts of the Kattegat are classified as Problem Areas, while most of the open parts of the North Sea and Skagerrak are classified as Non-Problem Areas. A marked improvement compared to COMP2 and COMP1 is shown in the open parts of the North Sea. The extent of the Problem Area has decreased due to two factors. There have been reduced nutrient inputs to the south-eastern North Sea, especially to the German Bight but improvement in assessment methodology, i.e. the use of satellite-based observations has allowed a more reliable delineation of the boundary between the coastal Problem Area along the west coast of the Jutland peninsula and the Non-Problem Area in the offshore parts of the North Sea and Skagerrak.

The report can be downloaded from here.

02.03.2016 NEAT new software has been developed by European researchers to assess the environmental status of marine ecosystems

The new tool is called NEAT, which stands for Nested Environmental status Assessment Tool.

NEAT allows us to assess the environmental status of European seas in an integrative way, says Dr Borja of AZTI in Spain, an expert on marine biodiversity and coordinator of the European research project DEVOTES.

This is the result of collaborative effort of 23 partners, distributed across 14 countries, after four years of research in the Baltic, Atlantic, Mediterranean and Black Seas, Dr Borja adds.

– Our research is important for improving the understanding of the effects of human activities on marine biodiversity, as well as variations due to climate change.

NEAT is designed to support the assessment of marine areas by the environmental authorities of EU Member States, but also by the Regional Seas Conventions and for the Marine Strategy Framework Directive. It integrates a previous released tool that includes over 500 indicators used or being developed by European Member States.

– Marine health assessments are complex, but this tool makes the task much easier, Dr Borja says.

Torsten Berg from MariLim in Germany, who is one of the authors of the software, explanins:

– Some of these tools can be difficult to use, so we worked hard to make a user-friendly interface.

Using NEAT is simple, first select the regional sea in which you want to assess the status, and then just choose the appropriate indicators, habitats and ecosystem components for a specific area within your regional sea.

NEAT determines the uncertainty of indicator values, so you can evaluate the confidence of your assessment. The more indicators and data you use, the better the assessment will be, highlights Jacob Carstensen from Aarhus University, an environmental statistician who worked on the development of the tool. But the very best of NEAT is its flexibility.

Users can customize each step of the assessment, and the assessment better reflects the reality of the area, says Jesper Andersen, from NIVA Denmark Water Research, who is one of the designers of the idea.

NEAT is so versatile that it can also be used for other types of environmental assessment, not just marine biodiversity.

So, it could also be used by firms and consultancies that carry out all types of environmental assessment.

NEAT and its guidelines are already freely available from the DEVOTES website. In the coming months, NEAT will be enhanced with even more features and possibilities to perform a tailor-made biodiversity assessment. Updates will be released regularly.

Project members are now disseminating the tool and organizing training workshops in member states and for regional seas conventions.

We have already demonstrated the tool to authorities in Portugal and Spain, says Alice Newton, from NILU in Norway and the University of Algarve in Portugal.

It has been well received by the Regional Seas Conventions.

The DEVOTES project will be featured by the Euronews TV channel in June and will hold a conference in Brussels in October for key stakeholders and leading scientists. The theme of the conference is “Marine Biodiversity, the key to healthy and productive seas”.

28.10.2015: Despite dead zones and algal blooms – the Baltic Sea is recovering

The improvements are according to a study carried out by Danish, Swedish and Finnish scientists a direct result of reduced inputs of nutrients.

Thirty-five years ago swimming was prohibited in many areas around the Baltic Sea. Today there is an outdoor so-called ‘harbour bath’ in the inner harbour of the city of Copenhagen, Denmark because of reductions in pollution loadings. The open waters of the Baltic Sea are also cleaner today as shown in a new unique study by Danish, Swedish and Finnish scientists.

We can document improvements in most open parts of the Baltic Sea, says Jesper Andersen, chief scientist (PhD) at NIVA Denmark Water Research.

The article ”Long-term temporal and spatial trends in the eutrophication status of the Baltic Sea”, which has been published recently in the scientific journal Biological Reviews, reveals a unique overview of how the effects of nutrient enrichment has developed in different parts of the Baltic Sea over a 112 year period, from 1901 to 2012.

Our study documents the very first sign of recovery in the Baltic Sea. It is a relief to see that long-term efforts to reduce inputs of nutrients – especially nitrogen and phosphorus, now are having large-scale effects.

Significant improvements are seen in the Kattegat. The same positive signals are found on other areas, even in an area like the southern Baltic Proper.

Nutrient enrichment of the Baltic Sea – also known as eutrophication – is often debated in more negative terms, not at least in the media. The coverage of areas depleted of oxygen, so-called dead zones is record high and algal blooms are a significant problem in many areas.

Is it really true that the negative trend of eutrophication in the Baltic Sea has been reversed?

Yes! Based on available data, Jesper Andersen answers.

Indicators representing environmental conditions in upper water masses have improved significantly, while the situation nearer the bottom of the sea has worsened. But in total, we see that improvements outweigh setbacks.

The study also evaluates monitoring activities and the access to data used for assessing the eutrophication status.

During 1970ies and 1980ies, all Baltic Sea countries started harmonized and coordinated monitoring activities. But since then, especially during the recent 10 years, data availability has declined.

This decline, especially if it is accelerated, could potentially have profound implications in regard to our capabilities to document temporal trends in the environmental status of the Baltic Sea and to our ability to understand changes in the ecology of the Baltic Sea.

Billions are being spent on reducing inputs of nutrient to the Baltic Sea in order to reduce the effects of eutrophication. It could seem illogical, that adequate resources are not allocated to document the positive effects of huge investments.

Facts: This is how we did it

The scientists have collated huge data sets consisting of historical environmental data from national marine monitoring activities. An important source was the BED database, hosted by the Baltic Nest Institute at Stockholm University’s Baltic Sea Centre. Based on internationally agreed environmental assessment criteria in combination with a multi-metric indicator-based eutrophication assessment tool (HEAT 3.0), long-term trends in nutrient enrichment and eutrophication has been mapped in the different parts of the Baltic Sea over a 122 year long period.

Facts: Nutrient enrichment and eutrophication in a 100 year perspective

For hundred year ago, the open parts of the Baltic Sea were classified as ’unaffected by eutrophication’. Eutrophication became a significant and large-scale problem during the 1950ies as inputs from land increased. A culmination in regard to eutrophication was reached in the beginning of the 1980’ies. Since then, external nutrient loads have declined gradually due to improved waste water treatment and to reduction of emission, discharges and losses from the agricultural sector.

The article in Biological Reviews can be downloaded via this link:

15.10.2015: Analysis on long-term temporal (1901-2012) and spatial trends in eutrophication status in the open parts of the Baltic Sea

NIVA Denmark Water Research has together with collaborators from Aarhus University (Denmark), Stockholm University (Sweden), Helsinki University (Finland), the Marine Research Centre at the Finnish Environment Institute, as well as HELCOM, carried out and published an analysis on long-term temporal (1901-2012) and spatial trends in eutrophication status in the open parts of the Baltic Sea. This comprehensive study reveals when eutrophication began in the different parts of the Baltic Sea, when it peaked, when recovery began as well as how reductions of nutrient inputs have reversed the trends and led to significant large-scale improvement in eutrophication status. The study clearly documents that reduction of inputs of both nitrogen and phosphorus is a cure that works as prescribed. However, additional reductions are needed before the Baltic Sea can be classified as unaffected by eutrophication. Click here to read the article, which has been published in Biological Reviews.

08.09.2015: NIVA Denmark to support the development of methods for implementation of a monitoring network for non-indigenous species in Danish marine waters

NIVA Denmark Water Research has together with Amphi Consult, DTU Aqua and the Natural History Museum of Denmark earned a contract with the Danish Nature Agency. The task is about improving the basis for monitoring of non-indigenous species in Danish marine waters, i.e. (1) the development of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) in regard to sampling, storage and analyses, (2) compilation of a List of national Target Species, and (3) development and in silico testing of DNA-primers for as many of the species on the Target Species List as possible. The project, named MONIS-2, ends in December 2015.

11.05.2015: Baltic Sea biodiversity vs. multiple human stressors: We have a breakthrough

NIVA Denmark Water Research has together with collaborators from the Finnish Marine Research Centre (MRC-SYKE), Aarhus University (Denmark), European Environment Agency (EEA) and UCSB in USA carried out and published an analysis on linkages between biodiversity status and cumulative human pressures. The study has been funded by the STAGES project via the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES). The work is based on two existing Baltic Sea-wide data sets, one related to an integrated assessment of biodiversity status and one related to mapping of cumulative human pressures and impacts. “The biodiversity status in open parts of the Baltic Sea is correlated to cumulative human pressures and impacts – the relations have been sought for decades, now it is ground-truthed” says Jesper H. Andersen, chief scientist at NIVA Denmark Water Research and continues “I am proud that NIVA Denmark Water Research only eight months after our start can contribute to nothing less than a scientific breakthrough. The results should be seen as a stepping stone leading to the development of operational Decision Support Tools in regard to ecosystem-based management of biodiversity in the Baltic Sea”. Click here to read the Short Communication, which is under publication in ‘Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science’.

27.01.2015: NIVA Denmark develops strategy and network for monitoring of non-indigenous species in Danish marine waters

NIVA Denmark Water Research has together with Litehauz Aps and Akvaplan developed a proposal for a monitoring strategy as well as a monitoring network in regard to non-indigenous species in Danish marine waters. The proposals will support the Danish implementation of the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive and are funded by the Danish Nature Agency. The strategy encompasses 6 themes and the proposed monitoring network is designed according to the strategy and based on conventional sampling methods as well as molecular techniques (barcoding/eDNA). The proposed monitoring activities are both cost-effective and nation-wide. Click here to read the report on the Danish Nature Agency’s web site.

08.12.2014: Integration is a hot topic

Assessments of environmental status based on tools which integrates multiple indicators into a classification of status are becoming more widely used, mostly because of the EU Water Framework Directive and the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive. However, integration principles and methods might influence the final result. NIVA Denmark has recently contributed, via work in the WATERS and DEVOTES projects, to a comprehensive review of integration principles and methods. The review is now published in Frontiers in Marine Science. Click here to read the review. And please check back on a later date and read more about NIVA Denmark’s development of indicator-based assessment tools – it is worth it.

19.11.2014: Reducing nutrient inputs to marine waters improves eutrophication status

At the meeting of the Danish Society for Marine Biology (DSFMB) on the 3rd of September 2014, Dr. Jesper Andersen, chief scientist at NIVA Denmark, presented the results of a Baltic Sea-wide study focusing on temporal and spatial trends in eutrophication status (1901-2012). Several positive results were presented and discussed. Firstly, the study documents the very first sign of recovery, e.g. in the open parts of the Kattegat, where eutrophication status was classified as ‘good’ in 2010 and 2011. Secondly, the study documents significant progress on a Baltic Sea-wide scale, first of all as a consequence of reduced inputs of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P). The study will be published in a peer reviewed scientific journal early 2015. Click here to read the presentation.

30.10.2014: Biodiversity in Danish marine waters is impaired

NIVA Denmark Water Research has together with Aarhus University, DTU Aqua and DHI classified biodiversity status of Danish marine waters. The work is based on a data set from the Danish Initial Assessment under the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive and includes a wide range of biodiversity indicators, e.g. phytoplankton, zooplankton, submerged aquatic vegetation, benthic invertebrates, fish, seabirds, and marine mammals. Conclusions are unambiguous – nowhere can a good biodiversity status be found. Root causes are eutrophication, fisheries, and physical modification. Click here to read the article in Frontiers in Marine Science.

23.10.2014: Managing multiple human pressures

NIVA Denmark Water Research has contributed to a Baltic Sea-wide study on management of multiple human pressures. Within STAGES, an EU project supporting implementation of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, and together with SYKE (Finland), Stockholm University (Sweden), and the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES), we have analysed relationships between multiple human pressures and environmental status, key focus has been on the effects of eutrophication and fishing on biodiversity. Click here to read the press release from ICES.

19.09.2014: Two steps forward and one step backward?

NIVA Denmark Water Research has contributed to an updated assessment of eutrophication in the Baltic Sea for the period 2007-2011. The assessment follows up on a previous covering the period 2001-2006. Despite some improvements in eutrophication status, the study reveals an expanding eutrophication problem area – now the Bothnian Bay is classified as ‘affected by eutrophication’. The new findings are based on an average for the period – in two out of five years, Bothnian Bay eutrophication status is in fact good. Click here to access the article in Ecological Indicators, an international scientific journal aiming to integrate the monitoring and assessment of ecological and environmental indicators with management practices.

03.09.2014: NIVA Denmark hosts DSFMB meeting

On 3 September, NIVA Denmark Water Research hosts an interesting DSFMB meeting on the Danish Action Plans on the Aquatic Environment. Some of the results are presented and discussed at Ingeniøren’s website. We do, despite huge reductions in nutrient loads, face a major challenge before we can attain a good eutrophication status in coastal and open marine waters of the Baltic Sea. Click here to read more (Danish only).

01.09.2014: NIVA Denmark Water Research opens

On 1 September, NIVA Denmark Water Research, a subsidiary of the Nor­­wegian Institute of Water Research (NIVA), opened in Copenhagen.

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