Solutions to Baltic oxygen depletion to be evaluated

04/03/2010 Expertsvar

Lund University researcher Daniel Conley has received a prestigious award from the American Pew Charitable Trusts. With the help of the award money, Daniel Conley will evaluate a number of new technical solutions to help reduce oxygen depletion in the Baltic Sea.

Professor Daniel Conley has been awarded USD 150 000 from the Pew Charitable Trusts in the USA. The money will go to his research on oxygen depletion in the Baltic Sea. For a number of years, Professor Conley’s research has focused on how to tackle the problem of dead seabeds. Daniel Conley is a biogeochemist and conducts research on the flow of nutrients on land and in the sea. He works at the Department of Earth and Ecosystem Sciences at Lund University.

The reason for the oxygen depletion in the Baltic Sea is the large input of nutrients from the land to the sea, primarily from agriculture and fossil fuels. The nutrients cause eutrophication in the sea; algae grow rapidly when there is a greater supply of nutrients, but when the algae die and rot on the seabed, large amounts of oxygen are used in the rotting process, which leads to a lack of oxygen. When there is little oxygen, animals and plants cannot live there and problems of dead seabeds arise. The dead seabeds in the Baltic are the world’s most extensive example of oxygen depletion resulting from human emissions.

Now Daniel Conley will carry out a three-year scientific evaluation of a number of methods that aim to remedy the dead seabeds in the Baltic Sea. Daniel Conley will investigate the effectiveness and cost of the methods, as well as the impact on animals and plants. In addition, he will compare new technical solutions with more traditional methods.

In recent years a number of new technical solutions to the problem of oxygen depletion in the sea have been proposed and tested, in addition to the more traditional methods that are first and foremost about trying to reduce the transfer of nutrients from the land. One example of a new solution is to actively introduce oxygen gas into the water at depth in order to reduce oxygen depletion on the seabeds.