MULTIDOM: Multidisciplinary Assessment of the role of Dissolved Organic Matter in the
environmental status of the Baltic Sea

multiMultidom is a multidisciplinary research group that has expertise on soil ecology, hydrobiology, environmental economics, environmental history and politics. The close collaborators of the project are Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE) and MTT Agrifood Reseach Finland.

Organic matter load to the Baltic Sea has been identified as the second greatest environmental pressure both in the Bothnian Bay and in the Gulf of Finland by the HELCOM Holistic Assessment. In this program a sound and fully integrated assessment of the vulnerability of the Baltic Sea ecosystem to organic inputs in its northern sub-basins is created. Furthermore, the feasibility of management, and ultimately mitigation strategies, for the control of dissolved organic matter (DOM) loading from various major land use types is evaluated.

The methods will include the assessment of the drivers and pressures in the catchment areas, the detailed evaluation of effects by organic inputs on the various ecosystem levels and a formal analysis of the use of controlling instruments. There are three research workpackages and one artpackage in the project: (i) DOM loading from soil, (ii) DOM loads in rivers and into Baltic Sea, and (iii) the environmental history.

WP1: DOM loading from soil. The current researchon DOM loadings into Baltic Sea will be reviewed. The effect of land-use and agricultural practises on DOM quantity and quality in soil and on the quantity and quality on DOM load from soil will be studied in MTT’s leaching fields located in different soil types. The SWAT model will be generated on dynamics of DOM in Vantaa river catchment area. Researchers: Dr. Laura Hoikkala, Dr. Helena Soinne and doctoral student Janne Helin.

WP2: DOM loads in rivers and into Baltic Sea. In this activity hierarchical Bayesian models are utilized in modelling the water quality in rivers providing DOM input to the Gulf of Bothnia and probabilistic models to describe the possible changes in the Gulf of Bothnia ecosystem are created. Researcher Dr. Mika Rahikainen

WP3: Environmental history. This activity will concentrate on the environmental history around the Baltic Sea region. The research approach includes the international comparative approaches and local level case studies. The main focus here is on the history of environmental policy in the Baltic Sea Region and on the comparative environmental history of the catchment areas in the Baltic Sea Region. Dr. Paula Schönach and Dr. Simo Laakkonen will start on 2013.

WP4: Visual Investigation of Dissolved Organic Matter. In a project entitled The Art of Cooking Down the Baltic Sea artist Tuula Närhinen demonstrates how the dissolved organic matter manifests itself in our daily life. She has put together a dinner table consisting of "soups de jour" and stock cubes made of reduced seawater collected during the summer 2012. The organic matter in the water is further investigated trough a series of evaporated watercolour/salt paintings and a photographic split imaging technique she devised for the study of the provenience of seawater.


The research program is led by Adjunct Professor Ilmo Massa, Department of Environmental Sciences. He is also in charge of the environmental history analysis. The water quality WP 1 will be led by leading researcher Harri Kuosa, SYKE and Eila Turtola, MTT. The probabilistic analysis (WP 2) is be led by Professor Sakari Kuikka, Department of Environmental Sciences.