The biodiversity of the Baltic Sea: insights from the past and perspectives for the future:
The present chapter will introduce the reader to the biodiversity of the Baltic Sea, paying special attention to the trends currently described and the environmental and human stressors that affect marine life.
An intensive revision of the available scientific bibliography showed a general agreement on the detrimental effects that global warming, eutrophication, biological invasions, habitat destruction and overexploitation have on the biodiversity in this region.
The interactions between these human pressures, highly variable environmental conditions at regional and local scales, and the heterogeneous tolerances of resident species prevent the prediction of the potential consequences that the loss of biodiversity could have on marine ecosystems.
Knowledge gaps on the current state of biodiversity increase the uncertainty. In this context, the present chapter will give a critical look towards missing information and its causes, highlighting what the priorities of ecological research should be, in order to generate effective conservation strategies for the biodiversity of the Baltic Sea in a century of dramatic changes.