Autumn preparations at Askö Laboratory

Last Monday it was time to put the seaweed out in the sea for overwintering. After some different trials of overwintering indoors in the Experiment Hall at the Askö Laboratory, with extra lights and air pumps, we have found that it is still difficult to get good enough water circulation and movement for the seaweed to be happy. It becomes brittle and falls apart come spring. But tying plants on to net cages and placing them on the sea floor at some meters depth works just fine!
The weather was amazing. Calm and brilliant sun. But the water level was too high, so now they are places too shallow to remain in the bay all winter. We will have to come back later and move them to a deeper waters. That will be a dry suit -job.

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In this year’s seaweed plantation is material from Gotland that we have collected in order to try and solve the question of if there is a third ecotype of bladderwrack. We know from before that in the Baltic Sea we find both summer reproducing (end of May-June) and autumn reproducing (end July-October) bladderwrack. But now it seems that we have found a third type, that reproduces more or less constantly throughout the entire season (May-October).

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The Sea Environment Seminar of 2013, was held at Vår Gård located in Saltsjöbaden outside Stockholm. In the morning Lena went for a walk alongthe beach and found plenty of free-floating bladderwrack balls, both in the wrack wall on the beach and also floating in the shallow water, rolling around.

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According to litterature, these do not reproduce sexually, and we have never seen any reproductive tips on this form of bladderwrack. Naturally, she collected several wrackballs. Since Lena had forgotten to bring a plastic bag (wich is something a true marine biologist always should keep on her/him), she had to go back to the hotel reception and ask for one. Imagine their surprised looks. The day after, Lena went out to ASkö and tied the wrackballs to little ceramic tiles. What we are looking for is if these freee floating forms will become sexual in spring if they have a fixed up and down. Now they are placed in the sea for the winter, and all we can do is wait for the return of sunlight and warmth in spring, when we can dive down and check if there are any reproductive tips on them.

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Gold medal to professor Lena Kautsky

Vice-chancellor of the University of Stockholm has decided to distribute the Stockholm University gold medal of the 8th size in ribbon to three persons who in various ways have promoted the University’s activities.

One of these is the BalticSeaWeed blog’s very own Professor Lena Kautsky.

The motivation reads as follows:
“Lena Kautsky, professor of marine ecological botany, is awarded Stockholm University gold medal of size 8 in ribbon for her deep involvement in marine research and education at Stockholm University, in national collaboration on marine environmental issues and sharing of knowledge to the public and decision makers. Her leadership of the Stockholm Marine Research Centre and Asko Laboratory has been a decisive part in the fundamental work resulting in Stockholm University’s new Baltic Sea Centre. ”

The medals will be awarded at the installation ceremony held at City Hall on September 27th.

The BalticSeaWeed blog, swelling with pride, will of course post pictures from the ceremony.

See also university’s website (in Swedish only).

World Water Day dip

On Thursday 21st, we sneak started the International World Water Day with a dive outside the water museum Aquaria located on Djurgården, in central Stockholm.

The sun was shining from a clear blue sky and the water was almost three degrees Celsius. Ideal for a dive.

The audience was a primary school class of around thirty VERY interested young children. In order for them to experience what I do, I had kitted up my full-face mask with both a wireless talk communication (Buddy Phone) up to the surface, and an underwater filmcamera, connected by hose to a large TV-screen. The camera was kindly lent to us by SVENTAB. Thank you!

Aquaria

P4 Radio Stockholm was on location and broadcasted live from shore (in Swedish).

A lot of people seemed to think it was madness getting into the water at this time of year. But with a good dry suit (I dive with Ursuit Red-Q and SiTech ring system for dry gloves) and a full face mask, I don’t get as much as a drop of water on me. I was probably the warmest one of all that day. Underneath my drysuit, I wear a thin wool underwear and then a Fourth Element fleec underwear over. Very toasty!

Lena Kautsky managed the surface end of the Buddy Phone and passed on questions from the children. She also told them about how seaweed function like forrests of the sea.

During the dive, I found a lot of beer cans an bottles, seaweed and a treasure chest full of candy!!

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