Contributors and references

This indicator and its threshold values are yet to be commonly agreed in HELCOM. 
The indictor is included as a test indicator for the purposes of the 'State of the Baltic Sea' report, and the results are to be considered as intermediate.


Andres Jaanus 1, Helena Höglander2, Marie Johansen3, Iveta Jurgensone 4, Janina Kownacka 5, Irina Olenina6, Mario von Weber7, Norbert Wasmund8


1) Estonian Marine Institute, University of Tartu, Estonia

2) Department of Ecology, Environment and Plant Sciences, Stockholm University, Sweden

3) Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute, Gothenburg, Sweden

4) Latvian Institute of Aquatic Ecology, Riga, Latvia

5) National Marine Fisheries Research Institute, Gdynia, Poland

6) Department of Marine Research, Environmental Protection Agency, Lithuania

7) Landesamt für Umwelt, Naturschutz und Geologie (LUNG), Mecklenburg, Germany

8) Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research, Warnemünde, Germany



This version of the HELCOM core indicator report was published in July 2018:

Seasonal succession of dominating phytoplankton groups HELCOM core indicator 2018 (pdf)

No previous versions of this indicator are currently available.



Andersen, J. H., Carstensen, J., Conley, D. J., Dromph, C., Fleming-Lehtinen, V., Gustafsson, B. G.,  Josefson, A. B., Norkko, A., Villnäs, A. & Murray, C. 2015. Long-term temporal and spatial trends in eutrophication status of the Baltic Sea. Biological Reviews. doi:10.1111/brv.12221

Devlin, M., Best, M., Coates, D., Bresnan, E., O'Boyle, S., Park, R., Silke, J., Cusack, C. & Skeats, J. 2007. Establishing boundary classes for the classification of UK marine waters using phytoplankton communities. Marine Pollution Bulletin 55: 91–103.

HELCOM, 2014. Manual for Marine Monitoring in the COMBINE Programme of HELCOM. Part C, Programme for monitoring of eutrophication and its effects. Annex C-6, Guidelines concerning phytoplankton species composition, abundance and biomass; pp. 285–300. Last updated: 17.1.2014. Available at

Jaanus A., Andersson, A., Olenina, I., Toming, K. and Kaljurand, K. 2011. Changes in phytoplankton communities along a north-south gradient in the Baltic Sea between 1990 and 2008. Boreal Environment Research 16 (Suppl. A), 191-208.

Jaanus A., I. Kuprijanov, S. Lehtinen, K. Kaljurand and A. Enke, 2017. Optimization of phytoplankton monitoring in the Baltic Sea. Journal of Marine Systems 171, 65-72.

Olenina, I., Hajdu, S., Edler, L., Andersson, A., Wasmund, N., Busch, S., Göbel, J., Gromisz, S., Huseby, S., Huttunen, M., Jaanus, A., Kokkonen, P., Ledaine, I. and Niemkiewicz, E. 2006. Biovolumes and size-classes of phytoplankton in the Baltic Sea. HELCOM Balt.Sea Environ. Proc. 106, 144 pp.


Additional relevant publications

Eilola, K., H. E. Markus Meier & E. Almroth, 2009. On the dynamics of oxygen, phosphorus and cyanobacteria in the Baltic Sea: A model study. Journal of Marine Systems 75: 163–184.

Gowen, R. J., McQuatters-Gollop, A:, Tett, P., Best, M., Bresnan, E., Castellani, C. Cook, K., Forster, R. Scherer, C. and A. Mckinney, 2011. The Development of UK Pelagic (Plankton) Indicators and Targets for the MSFD.  A Report of a workshop held at AFBI, Belfast 2-3rd June 2011.

Griffiths, J. R., Hajdu, S., Downing, A. S., Hjerne, O., Larsson, U., Winder, M., 2015. Phytoplankton community interactions and environmental sensitivity in coastal and offshore habitats. Oikos, doi: 10.1111/oik.02405

Heiskanen, A.-S.,Berg, T.,Uusitalo, L.,Teixeira, H.,Bruhn, A., Krause-Jensen, D., Lynam, C.P., Rossberg, A.G., Korpinen, S., Uyarra, M. C. & and Borja, A. (2016). Biodiversity in Marine Ecosystems — European

Developments toward Robust Assessments. Frontiers in Marine Science 3:184. doi: 10.3389/fmars.2016.00184.

Irigoien, X., J. Huisman & R. P. Harris, 2004. Global biodiversity patterns of marine phytoplankton and zooplankton. Nature 429: 863–867.

Padisák, J., É. Hajnal, L. Naselli-Flores, M. T. Dokulil, P. Nõges & T. Zohary, 2010. Convergence and divergence in organization of phytoplankton communities under various regimes of physical and biological control. Hydrobiologia 639: 205–220.

Sagert, S., Selig, U. and H. Schubert, 2008. Phytoplanktonindikatoren zur ökologischen Klassifizierung

der deutschen Küstengewässer der Ostsee. Rostock. Meeresbiolog. Beitr. 20: 45–69.

Tett, P., Carreira, C., Mills, D.K., van Leeuwen, S., Foden, J., Bresnan, E. and Gowen, R.J. (2008). Use of a Phytoplankton Community Index to assess the health of coastal waters. ICES Journal of Marine Science 161: 1475-1482.


HELCOM core indicator report,

ISSN 2343-2543