Project BloomSail

In the coming year, during the summer months from the beginning of June to the end of August, Jens Müller, on his sailboat Tina V, will be voyaging back and forth daily between Östergarnsholm and measuring station BY15 (see map) in order to study the blue-green algal blooms. With the help of this new, expansive information, he can improve and better understand surface water data already collected through automated measurements on the voluntary observing ship Finnmaid (red line) and satellites.

The benefits of a sailboat become clear when the algal blooms really get going: Jens is flexible time-wise and directly on site. Using a big research vessel would require month-long planning ahead of time, and the time aboard ship is too precious, so waiting for the sudden spurts in algal bloom growth is out of the question.

He will require patience, in order to capture the blue-green algal blooms within his three-month time frame. But Jens Müller can combine his passion for sailing with the routine of science and research. Besides, he can already run the necessary measuring instruments perfectly. In the last 4 years, Jens has gone on numerous expeditions on research vessels for the IOW, and measured the CO2 partial pressure in all types of weather.

The Research Program

The blue-green algal bloom is best studied with regular CO2 measurements. During blue-green algal growth, CO2 is taken out of the water to produce biomass, a process known as photosynthesis. As a result, the concentration of leftover dissolved CO2 decreases. Through monitoring the changes in CO2 concentration, one can draw precise conclusions about the growing biomass. The core of the BloomSail expedition is the regular and repeated CO2 partial pressure measurements at varying water depths. At the same time, algae will be filtered out of discrete water samples in order to identify the organic material and its composition. In order to understand what conditions control the blue-green algal bloom development, temperature, salinity, and nutrient concentration will also be analyzed.