Samples of phytoplankton are collected mainly by the regional environmental administration at the Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment for monitoring purposes from certain Finnish lakes, rivers and coastal areas, but occasionally samples are also collected as a part of other studies with different sampling intervals or sampling times. Samples are analyzed quantitatively and qualitatively with an inverted microscope.
Phytoplankton sampling of monitored lakes was initiated in 1963 and in the early 1970's in coastal areas. In addition, phytoplankton data may be received from researchers outside of the environmental administration. Data on phytoplankton going back to 1921 have also been added to the database. Annually, about 300 analyses are entered into the database. In July 2007 the database contained 14 000 records of phytoplankton analyses.
Sampling under the national monitoring system will take place every three years in August (annually at about 40-70 sites). A total of ca. 170 lakes are included in the monitoring network. Furthermore, 22 lakes are monitored intensively six times per year from May to August, and from these a total of 15 lakes are extensively monitored (i.e. several biological variables included). Samples for physico-chemical analyses are taken simultaneously.
Six sampling sites in coastal areas are monitored intensively for phytoplankton from March to December. Samples for physico-chemical analyses are taken simultaneously.
Phytoplankton is known to react quickly to changes in water quality, so experience in analyzing phytoplankton samples is necessary to produce high quality data. Thus, it is important that only phytoplankton records based on qualified sampling and analyses are included in the database, as only high quality data will give clear information on phytoplankton and long-term trends of phytoplankton assemblages. Environmental authorities are the main users of the database, but universities occasionally use it as well.
For more information
Senior Researcher Marko Järvinen, Finnish Environment Institute, e-mail email@example.com [marko jarvinen]