University of Gothenburg
Late afternoon by the Koster fjord
Photo: Martin Larsvik


Tjärnö Marine Laboratory is located close to the Koster fjord. Just fifteen minutes away by boat is the only true oceanic environment in Sweden.

Tjärnö Laboratory is located close to the Koster fjord, just fifteen minutes away by boat is the only true oceanic environment in Sweden. The fissure fault in the Kosterfjord is 247 metres deep and reaches all the way out to the Atlantic Ocean. The deep fjord provides oceanic salinity (35‰) in the bottom water, and constant deep-water circulation.

In the depths of the Koster fjord there are animals typical for the oceanic continental slopes and the deep fjords of the Norwegian west coast. For example, different species of sponges and sea-pens, as well as lima mussels and reefs of Lophelia coral.

Other diverse habitats close-by include exposed rocky shores, narrow sounds with strong currents, shallow areas with sand and/or silt bottoms often supporting beds of eelgrass. The Koster archipelago is also home to a large population of harbour seals. About 6 000 marine species are found in the Koster area, of which more than 200 are not existing elsewhere in Swedish waters. 

Kosterhavet Marine National Park, the first national park in Sweden with a marine focus, was inaugurated in 2009. One of the objects is to promote research and education regarding conservation and sustainable use of marine ecosystems.

Once a month we measure salinity, temperature, oxygen, fluorescence and turbidity in the Koster fjord from the surface to 240 metres depth, as a part of the monitoring program within Bohuskustens Vattenvårdsförbund. The results are presented as data and graphs.

There is a coastal measuring system with buoys along the coast of Sweden. In the Koster fjord temperature, salinity, chlorophyll, oxygen and turbidity, among others, is measured every hour during ice free parts of the year. One can get the results in a table or as graphs.

SMHI (Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute) makes local forecasts and has observation stations in the proximity of the Tjärnö Laboratory. The information may be useful when planning field work.