Latvian Institute of Aquatic Ecology (LIAE) located in Riga, Latvia, is a research institute, an agency of Daugavpils University. Founded in 1995 to join forces of aquatic basic research and monitoring of the Baltic Sea for sustainable Latvian marine environment, LIAE now has amplified its activities and international cooperation. Since 2015 LIAE has a new building for offices and laboratories on the coast of the river Daugava with an inspiring view for aquatic researchers. Marine environment – its quality and processes – has always been a special point of focus for the LIAE. Marine environmental quality is followed via regular monitoring cruises, while future plans include wider use of remote observation methods – smart buoys and satellite measurements. Implementation of new approaches is possible due to cooperation with both local actors like ports and Latvian Maritime administration, and with international players, e.g., Joint Research Centre of European Commission. LIAE owns a long-term data base of marine observations and measurements in the Gulf of Riga (started at 1976) and the Latvian part of the Baltic Sea. The accumulated data and knowledge serves as a support to marine governance and management through production of assessments and advice on application of protection measures.
Sustainability of marine environment is directly linked with the use of marine space and resources. State of marine biodiversity is an indicator how the space and resources are used, therefore in the frame of monitoring and project activities closely followed by LIAE. Impact of the alien species, currently so typical for the Baltic Sea, on local biodiversity is also continuously in the research focus of LIAE. Since 2012 LIAE is actively involved in the national maritime spatial planning with work on marine habitats and ecosystem values. To be aware of the health of water environment LIAE surveys the concentrations of various pollutants in aquatic organisms, mostly molluscs and fish. Recently a new research direction on distribution and abundance of micro-plastic particles in marine and freshwater ambience has been started. Concept of “blue growth” has brought stakeholders also in Latvia to search for new opportunities in the sea. LIAE provides scientific support to measures of regional partners looking for use of coastal resources and chances to foster the local development and improve the state of marine environment. On 2017 LIAE established an experimental blue mussel farm at the open Baltic coast and together with Kurzeme Planning region explores the ways on future use of mussels and the farm site itself. Utilization of beached macroalgae - as a fertiliser or as a source of biologically active compounds – is investigated together with Riga Planning Region with intention to provide base for local business initiative.
Latvian Institute of Aquatic Ecology