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Blog Posts by: Carlos Minguell

After an early-morning visit by a team of reporters from TV4 Sweden, we conducted two dives around the island of Holmön. The first dive was rather unexciting: a flat seafloor that stretched almost to the shore and only a few species to document. The second dive, on the other hand, was far different: abundant marine plants—some, up to two meters tall—as well as a number of invertebrates that are often associated to the plants, like snails.

Today, we got to be out and film with the drop-video camera for several hours, since we now have two boats in addition to our floating home and office. The drop-video camera is an inventory tool that is widely used in both Sweden and Finland for marine inventories in the Baltic Sea. It allows you to efficiently cover a large area, although you usually cannot determine all the species you see on the video. It does however give you an idea of the type of substrate and vegetation and conditions that prevail at each filmed point.

Today we stayed at port (Holmsund), on one hand, this was due to bureaucratic problems with the boat and, on the other hand, because we were running out of water. So, we took advantage of the day to fill the tanks, fix several things, stock up on food, etc.

This “resting” time also allowed us to finish identifying the organisms from our samples and photos (more algae, snails, fish, crustaceans, etc.), do some homework and answer e-mails.

During the night and early in the morning, there were clouds of mosquitos, moths, flies, etc. all around us. Iit made me realize how important insects are for ecosystem.

Normally we do not pay much attention to small animals: insects, worms, leeches, amphipods… they are sometimes thousands of these individuals in any small area. Obviously, they are there for a reason. . They are food. They control insect overpopulation and the structure of the sediments, and they also create microhabitats.

This is my third expedition is this peculiar sea. This time around I’m the Logistics Coordinator, which makes it a bit more exciting and interesting to be here once again.

I love the Scandinavian countries;  their landscapes, their quiet streets… and, what a difference in weather from my home in Valencia, Spain. Here, I’m saying goodbye to the summer, or at least the summer as we know it in Southern Europe.

Without a doubt, the Baltic Sea is different.

As an enclosed sea, its salinity is much lower than usual, and this salinity decreases as the latitude increases—which also makes for lower water temperatures when compared to other seas. The sea is also shallow, which tends to make it favorable for sunlight to reach the seafloor.

We’re sailing towards one of our research zones on the second to last day of the expedition. Even though we’re here to document the seafloor, we make sure nothing escapes our eyes, binoculars or cameras: seabirds, dolphins, turtles, tunas, swordfish…we’re documenting everything we see on the water’s surface.

We’re in the Mediterranean and we’re waiting to spot swordfish jumping above the water, dolphins and seabirds feeding of fish and dozing turtles on the surface. That’s the Mediterranean.

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