one the head Marine Biologist at the park.
I have been working as a marine biologist since 1991. In 1992 I started at the Lovén Centre Tjärnö, which is close to the Kosterhavet Marine National Park, inaugurated in 2009.
Can you describe the sea life around the park?
In the Kosterhavet Marine National Park there are about 6000 marine species. More than 200 of those have not been found elsewhere in Sweden, but can be found further west in the Atlantic Ocean. There are, for instance, large brown macroalgae (kelp), sponge animals, polychaete worms, crabs, starfish, sea cucumbers and fish. The most spectacular species is the eye coral (Lophelia pertusa), forming coral reefs at a depth of 85 meters.
Motor vehicles are only allowed on roads, but since there practically are no roads, we can say that the park doesn’t allow cars. But the park allow for motorboats, and there is no regulation of what kind of fuel the motorboats can use.
What are some of the most unique creatures you have come across?
There are several species which have been discovered by science in the area close to the Lovén Centre. One is a 9 mm long polychaete worm without mouth or gut.
What do you think about the oil spills off the coast of the US? How traumatic is that for sea life?
Considering the very large volume of oil that have been spilled, I think it is traumatic. Long-term effects of toxic compound of the oil accumulated in the food web, is believed to be more detrimental than the more easily seen short-term surface and shore effects.
What does the park offer for visitors?
Firstly, it offers a great landscape, mainly under water but also on land. The park administration will offer free entrance to a visitor center, but this building is not yet in place. In the meanwhile the administration offers a few guided tours, boat trips and lectures. The Lovén Centre Tjärnö is collaborating with the national park administration, offering admission to our aquarium (most species-rich aquarium in Sweden), research ship excursions, beach excursions and popular science lectures. Private entrepreneurs will continue to offer boat trips and other packages to visitors, also within the borders of the national park.
What is the image above of?
That is a picture of a Henricia starfish, which is a carmosin-colored species found in the Kosterhavet Marine National Park.