2016 Teacher training workshop:

Bringing Science to the Classroom - The 2016 BONUS BIO-C3 high-school teacher training workshop

"Biodiversity in the Baltic realm - function, services, and anthropogenic threats"

took take place from September 9-10 at Schloss Noer, Eckernförde Fjord, Germany! Here is a summary of this event.

9 Sept 2016/Kiel. New scientific results on biodiversity in the Baltic Sea and its role for ecoystems facing climate change and human uses were the focus of a 2-day workshop attended by German highschool teachers in September. The organizers were scientists from the EU BONUS project BIO-C3, as well as the team of the school outreach group at the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel.

Biodiversity is a word with positive connotations for many people, even if they may not be able to exactly define why. During this workshop, 25 teachers from different schools across Northern Germany participated in a training event at Schloss Noer on Eckernfoerde fjord. Here, scientists from the EU BONUS project BIO-C3 and the Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel informed about the topic “Biodiversity in the Baltic realm – function, services, and anthropogenic threats”. “As biology teacher I do know quite a bit about the fauna and ecological connections on land. But this is not true at all for the underwater systems even a few meters from the beach”, said Heidi Mergemann, biology teacher from the high-school Probstei in Schoenberg.

During the training event, the organizer answered this and many other questions, and brought the marine systems into focus. “Knowing which species are present is a first step, but genetic and functional diversity is also of large importance for ecosystems, and a main focus in our BONUS BIO-C3 project”, stressed Dr. Jan Dierking, scientific coordinator of BIO-C3. “Moreover, environmental changes, overfishing or species invasions increasingly affect Baltic and global ecosystems and require species to adapt, and lead to changes in ecosystem structure and functioning.”

In order to pass on this knowledge not just via scientific presentations, the training workshop included a strong hands-on aspect, with a half day excursion into the coastal habitats of Eckernfoerde Fjord. Here, the teachers sampled eelgrass meadows, sediment bottoms, and the macroalgae zone with different methods, compiled species lists, and discussed foodwebs and anthropenic impacts in these systems: for example, in which state are the local eelgrass meadows? Are leafs strongly overgrown by algae, which could point to an overabundance of nutrients (“eutrophication”) in the water? And how abundant are grazers such as snails on the leafs, which are partly regulated by the abundance of fish predators through the foodchain?

„This is the opposite of dry classroom work”, smiled Katja Bolte from the Helene-Lange-Gymnasium in Rendsburg while chasing some small fish with a push net in hip-high water. “I will definitely try something similar with my class during the next project days at my school.” The workshop approach, from taxonomic knowledge to understanding of functions and evolutionary adaptations, to threats and services, found a lot of acclaim. “In order to show students that biodiversity, ecology, genetics and evolution are not isolated fields but all interconnected, we need topics and examples that show the connections in an easy to grasp way”, explains Olav Binder from the Klaus-Harms-Schule Kappeln.

These positive impressions were shared by the BIO-C3 organizers and lectures. Particularly rewarding was the enormous interest of the participants to learn and to pass on this scientific knowledge to their classrooms, revealing the need for teacher – scientist interactions. “Based on my impressions here, the multiplicator concept is not just an academic concept but is certain to work in real life”, concluded organizer Jan Dierking from BIO-C3.


2016 Summer school information:

The 2016 BONUS BIO-C3/INSPIRE/COCOA/BAMBI summer school

"Modeling Biodiversity for Sustainable Use of Baltic Sea Living Resources"

took take place from August 22-26 2016 at the Søminnestationen, Holbæk, Denmark! Here is a summary of this event.


Setting and conditions for this year's summer school were near-perfect: a former naval research station converted to a modern dormitory-style teaching facility located on the shore of a quiet Danish estuary with sunny, warm weather most of the week. 

One of the main purposes of the summer school was to educate and train a new generation of young scientists on the challenges and opportunities that face biodiversity in the Baltic Sea and provide them with new knowledge and quantitative tools on how to model its variations and their consequences. 

The course consisted of a mix of lectures, hands-on statistical analyses/ modelling exercises and discussions addressing both functional and taxonomic aspects of marine biodiversity, with emphasis on estuarine systems, using the Baltic Sea as a case study.  Students learned new modelling approaches and softwares which they could take home and apply to their own research projects.  And thanks to the participation of 23 students (16 women, 7 men) and 10 lecturers (4 women, 6 men), they now have expanded and developed a network of colleagues that they can interact and collaborate with in future.  The students came from both Baltic and non-Baltic countries, were mostly Ph.d. students (18), with some postdoctoral scientists (4) and Masters graduates (1).

Topics covered in the course included time-space variation of biodiversity, including both functional and taxonomic perspectives at different levels of biological organisation (populations, species, communities).  The course also reviewed and identified how different drivers (e. g., fishing, eutrophication, climate change, invasive species) affect biodiversity and how biodiversity levels and variations feed back to the drivers and ecosystem management policy developments.   Students then had the opportunity to synthesize their new knowledge on interactions and feedbacks between biodiversity and management by working in small groups to make a short (1000 words) report and 10 minute oral presentation on this topic on the final day – a task which demanded their attention during evenings and the last day!

The students did a great job with the task, especially given the time constraints and the challenge to form cohesive work groups with people having different  backgrounds and that they had not met before.  Aside from the work tasks, there was  time for socialising, networking, running in the nearby forest or swimming in the fjord.

For more information about the course, contact Prof. Dr. Brian MacKenzie, DTU Aqua, Charlottenlund, Denmark.


2015 Summer school information:

The first EU BONUS BIO-C3/BAMBI/INSPIRE Summer school

"The Baltic Sea: a model for the global future ocean?"

took place from July 5-11 2015 in Glücksburg, Germany!


Here is a summary of this event:

For one week in early July 2015, 32 PhD students and postdocs representing 8 nations around the Baltic, and 13 lecturers from 4 countries gathered at the artefact guest house in Glücksburg. The program: integrative lectures and practicals on Baltic physical-chemical parameters, climate projections, physiology, ecology and evolutionary biology of Baltic species, and management approaches for this region, or in short: a multi-disciplinary crash course on the Baltic Sea!

Also included were two student poster sessions (congratulations Melanie Heckwolf on the best poster price, and Marie Järnstrom, Felix Mittermayer and Pierre de Wit as runner-ups!), a paper writing exercise, and two excursions.

Thanks again to all participants for your enthusiasm and motivation, and to the lecturers for your great contributions! Thanks also to BONUS and the national funding agencies for the financial support that made the summer school possible, and to the Cluster of Excellence "The Future Ocean" for co-funding during the preparation of the event.

The entire week was a big success, and we already look forward to the 2016 summer school!


- Summer school program (short and long version)!

- Summer school lectures (pdfs)!

- Background literature!

- Photos (download or view gallery)!


Group picture at Glücksburg water castle. Photo: Margonski






2016 Teacher training workshop impressions

A half day beach excursion...

... a mix of lectures, discussions, group projects & games...

... to learn more about Baltic coastal ecosystems.

Photos: J. Dengg (top 3), J. Dierking (bottom)



2016 Summer school impressions

Course lectures...

... presentations of group work results...

... and much more, in a fabulous setting.

Photos: MacKenzie



2015 Summer school impressions

How to devise a brilliant ecoystem based management plan: group work.

The first of the two evening poster sessions.

Practical demonstration on buoyancy columns.

Excursion to the Geltinger Birk nature reserve.

Photos: Dierking (top 3) and Margonski (bottom).


More impressions of the Summer schools? View the gallery!