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ArKoBi: Investigation of the contribution of Arctica islandica to the carbon storage and biodiversity in the Baltic Sea

01.12.2023 - 30.09.2026
Project manager:
Dr. Michael L. Zettler
BfN - Bundesamt für Naturschutz

The aim of the project is to investigate the extent to which the ocean quahog Arctica islandica and its associated biotopes play a role as a carbon sink and how climate change and anthropogenic uses affect their biodiversity, reproduction and population structure and the associated carbon storage capacity. This is not only relevant in terms of species and biotope conservation, but is also intended to contribute to the federal policy goals of biodiversity conservation and climate protection. ArKoBi is working on three main topics: 1) The ecological function of A. islandica and its associated communities as a carbon sink or possibly also source at organism and community level, 2) The population and reproduction dynamics of A. islandica in the Baltic Sea, especially in the nature reserve (NSG) "Fehmarnbelt", their development with increasing environmental changes and anthropogenic uses as well as the consequences on the carbon storage capacity of the habitats, 3) The question whether A. islandica from the North Sea and the Baltic Sea represent genetically different populations and whether the Baltic Sea population reproduces independently. This project combines basic research with marine nature conservation and determines the potential for a further blue carbon ecosystem in the Baltic Sea. The findings can be used to derive possible conservation measures to protect the A. islandica-associated biotopes for both climate and environmental protection.