Marine biologist Linnea Bergdahl

I work at the County Administrative Board of Norrbotten in the coastal town of Luleå. The main focus of my job is marine protected areas in Bottenviken. My collegues and I oversee the the whole process of creating protected areas. From the start with inventories of the marine environment to the actual implementation of the protected areas.

Within the SEAmBOTH project I participate in marine surveys of coastal shallow areas. We want to find out what species of plants grows where on the bottom, where you have different types of habitats and the overall condition of the underwater area. This knowledge is crucial in order to make wise decisions regarding the marine environment. The data we collect, together with the data from the Finnish side, will be used to produce the habitat maps of Bottenviken.

Linnea Bergdahl snorkling.
In order to get to know what lives in the sea we have to take a look beneath the surface. One way to do it is to snorkel. Sometimes cold but always exciting! (Photo by Aimi Hamberg, County Administrative Board of Norrbotten)

During the field season, which for us runs between July and September, my colleagues and I are out at sea. We collect information about the underwater vegetation by snorkeling and using a drop-video camera from the boat. It’s not always the easiest places to get to those that we visit. It can be very shallow, muddy, far from nearest harbour etc. This requires specific equipment and a large part of our days is dedicated to preparation before going out as well as gear maintenance at the end of the day.

Linnea Bergdahl sitting in a boat and taking notes.
Having correct data is important. We note our observations into a protocol, which we bring with us in the water. The paper is a special underwater paper which you can write on with a pencil, even when it’s wet. (Photo by Aimi Hamberg, County Administrative Board of Norrbotten)

I’m educated as a marine biologist and environmental scientist. Before I used to teach scuba diving in tropical waters, so coming to Bottenviken was a bit cold for me in the beginning. However I find that every day here is a possibility of discovering something new. There’s so little we know of this place, there are fantastic places under water where no one’s been before. Sharing and spreading that new knowledge to others becomes crucial for keeping a sustainable sea in the future.

Sunny picture of sheltered bay with a forest in background.
A favourite place of mine to snorkel; a shallow, sheltered bay with a high diversity of underwater plants. This photo is taken in Rånefjärden, one of the SEAmBOTH pilot areas on the Swedish side of Bottenviken. (Photo by Linnea Bergdahl, County Administrative Board of Norrbotten)

Written by Linnea Bergdahl, County Administrative Board of Norrbotten

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