Soft-bottom macrofauna is a subprogramme in the national environmental monitoring programme. The purpose is to investigate whether, and in what way, the structure of the bottom-living macrofauna changes. It gives a signal of long-term changes due to, for example, eutrophication and oxygen deficiency.
The subprogramme is carried out along all Sweden's coasts and is funded by the county administrative boards and the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management. Umeå Marine Sciences Centre (UMF) has an assignment for the entire Gulf of Bothnia.
Many stations in a short period of time
The actual sampling is carried out once a year, and takes about three weeks to complete with UMF research vessel R/V Botnica. 201 sampling stations will be visited along the coast of the Gulf of Bothnia, from Öregrund in the south to Rånefjärden in the north. The stations are grouped in seven open sea areas and eight coastal areas. In each open sea area there are 10 stations while the coastal areas have 20 stations each. The Holmö area has nine stations. Once the sampling has been carried out, a diligent work remains to determine and weigh the collected animals.