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BaltVib: Collaborative project BiodivERsA: Pathogenic Vibrio bacteria in the current and future Baltic Sea waters. Subproject 1: coordination, data management, problem-solving concepts

Duration:
01.04.2021 - 31.03.2024
Project manager:
Prof. Dr. Matthias Labrenz
Funding:
BMBF - Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung
Researchfocus:
Associated Institutions:
Estonian University of Life Sciences
Royal Institute of Technology Stockholm
Abo Academi University

Vibrio – microbes that are part of the natural bacterioplankton in temperate marine waters – have in recent years flourished in the Baltic Sea, probably stimulated by elevated surface water temperatures. Several Vibrio species are human pathogens. It is hence of great concern that Vibrio-related wound infections and fatalities have increased dramatically along the Baltic coasts. Future climate change is predicted to escalate this problem, posing a significant threat to human health and the Baltic tourism industry. However, the projections do not yet take into account the influence of ‘ecosystem engineers’ such as mussels and macrophytes on Vibrio diversity and abundance. Recent data indicate that in some of the ‘ecosystem engineers’ habitats the abundance of pathogenic Vibrio spp. is reduced. This opens up the option for nature-based solution (NbS) strategies to control pathogenic vibrios in the nearshore habitat where humans interact with the sea. However, climate change will also affect the structure and functioning of the ecosystem engineers, with as yet unknown consequences for the Vibrio populations in the Baltic Sea. BaltVib aims to delineate the current and future Vibrio status, determine biotic and abiotic key factors regulating Vibrio prevalence, and identify NbSs to mitigate the problem. This will be accomplished through interdisciplinary integration of marine, microbiological, molecular and socio-ecological expertise carried by partners from seven Baltic nations.