Factors regulating the coastal nutrient filter in the Baltic Sea

Jacob Carstensen, Daniel J. Conley*, Elin Almroth-Rosell, Eero Asmala, Erik Bonsdorff, Vivi Fleming-Lehtinen, Bo G. Gustafsson, Camilla Gustafsson, Anna Stiina Heiskanen, Urzsula Janas, Alf Norkko, Caroline Slomp, Anna Villnäs, Maren Voss, Mindaugas Zilius

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The coastal zone of the Baltic Sea is diverse with strong regional differences in the physico-chemical setting. This diversity is also reflected in the importance of different biogeochemical processes altering nutrient and organic matter fluxes on the passage from land to sea. This review investigates the most important processes for removal of nutrients and organic matter, and the factors that regulate the efficiency of the coastal filter. Nitrogen removal through denitrification is high in lagoons receiving large inputs of nitrate and organic matter. Phosphorus burial is high in archipelagos with substantial sedimentation, but the stability of different burial forms varies across the Baltic Sea. Organic matter processes are tightly linked to the nitrogen and phosphorus cycles. Moreover, these processes are strongly modulated depending on composition of vegetation and fauna. Managing coastal ecosystems to improve the effectiveness of the coastal filter can reduce eutrophication in the open Baltic Sea.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1194-1210
Number of pages17
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Biogeochemistry
  • Climate change
  • Coastal filter
  • Eutrophication
  • Hypoxia
  • Nutrient management


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