FINMARI is creating the future of marine research

Finnish marine research is developed and coordinated by the FINMARI consortium, which ensures that the methods, vessels, and equipment of marine research are in joint use by all members.

FINMARI is a Finnish consortium of marine research, which was founded in 2013. It covers the entire field of marine research, from physical marine research to geology, marine biology, climate change and eutrophication of the Baltic Sea.

FINMARI brings together the Finnish marine research infrastructure and develops it through national and international cooperation. Here, research infrastructure means the research equipment needed for marine research, as well as the skills associated with its use.

Such collaboration brings not only resources and efficiency, but it also produces insights and new perspectives. When the boundaries between administrations and disciplines are crossed, the Baltic Sea and the opportunities it offers will unfold for the research community in an unprecedented way.

The resources of marine research will be made available to all

The activities of the FINMARI consortium are coordinated by the Maritime Centre of the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE). The consortium includes universities and research institutes, e.g. the Universities of Helsinki and Turku, Åbo Akademi University, the Finnish Environment Institute, the Finnish Meteorological Institute, the Geological Survey of Finland (GTK), and the Natural Resources Centre Finland (LUKE), as well as the state-owned shipping company Arctia Shipping Oy.

Through FINMARI, each of the different parties has research tools and other resources that are made available to everyone. The most important resources are the Finnish marine research vessels Aranda and Geomari, as well as many automated measuring stations and measuring instruments. Moreover, the university-owned field stations and the marine research laboratory of the Finnish Environment Institute also belong to the resources of FINMARI.

One particularly innovative insight is Algaline, i.e. the use of merchant ships for maritime monitoring. Automatic measurement systems have been installed on vessels engaged in regular services, the results of which are utilised by the FINMARI consortium.

FINMARI produces results

One of the first achievements of FINMARI has been the construction of a new generation automated field station on the island of Utö, in the Archipelago Sea. The project was implemented in collaboration with several research institutes. The station takes comprehensive measurements of the physical, chemical, and biological properties of the sea from the entire water column, i.e. from the surface to the bottom. Real-time results are freely available here Data from Utö station.

The Utö station will also run the latest measurement methods under development in collaboration with top international researchers. The particular focus has been on sea-atmosphere interactions, as well as processes that are important for climate change. Another priority involves automatic imaging methods and their application to marine microorganism research.

In cooperation with FINMARI, a mobile observation station with automatic measuring equipment that will be anchored to the seabed will be acquired. Such a station enables the enhanced and more comprehensive measurement of the properties of the seabed and the surrounding water mass. Such measurements can also be obtained from open sea areas, which has not been possible before. This measuring station will help to study and understand the changes in the chemical composition of water that occur when climate change, salt pulses, and other currents cause water masses to move.

More vitality from international networking

FINMARI connects Finnish marine research to various European networks, such as the Joint European Research Infrastructure network for Coastal Observatory (JERICO), the Mesocosm Network for Experimental Research (AQUACOSM), the European Marine Biology Resource Centre (EMBRC), and the Research Vessel Network (Eurofleets).

The aim of such European research cooperation is to better learn about the coastal seas of Europe, which includes the Baltic Sea. Once the state of the seas and the factors affecting them are known, research resources can be used effectively and precise information about the importance of marine conservation measures can be obtained. This increased knowledge will also make it possible to assess how the marine ecosystem responds to climate change and other pressures.

The pan-European network for marine research is also developing common methods and tools for observing and measuring the state and functioning of coastal seas. The work focuses in particular on automated measuring devices and the tools that serve them, i.e. robotics, digitalisation, and artificial intelligence.

More information on the research methods used and developed by FINMARI can be found on the English-language pages of the consortium and its European contact networks.