In May we started our bottom fauna sampling from sand and soft bottoms, which is done from the boat with a sediment grab sampler designed for the purpose. The sampling is going to be conducted for the whole Botnia-Atlantica coastal areas in Finland and Sweden during the summer 2019. Bottom fauna or benthos is a community of invertebrate organisms living in or near sedimentary environments. Bottom fauna sampling is commonly used to evaluate the ecological state of the water systems, since different water bodies have their unique benthic animal community.
The aim of the project ECOnnect is to investigate the effects of climate change on the underwater marine environment. The project is not solely based on computer generated climate models, but also on concrete data collection at sea. Bottom fauna sampling as a research method demonstrates well the impact of environmental variables on the diversity and distribution of the species. Changes in the occurrence or number of individuals in the benthos indicate changes for example in dissolved oxygen level or in nutrient loads. The data collected from the field not only completes the information gaps in the present models, but also enables more accurate future mapping.