Course code VidZ5040

Credit points 4

Water Ecosystems

Total Hours in Course160

Number of hours for lectures33

Number of hours for seminars and practical classes15

Independent study hours112

Date of course confirmation16.03.2022

Responsible UnitInstutute of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Engineering

Course developer

author lect.

Kaspars Abramenko

Mg. sc. ing.

Course abstract

The aim of the study course is to develop an understanding of the current environmental problems of the Baltic Sea and inland waters.The course provides in-depth theoretical knowledge and practical skills on the factors affecting the aquatic ecosystem of the Baltic Sea region. The course analyzes anthropogenic pressures in the Baltic Sea environment and inland waters. By integrating knowledge of the economic and legal aspects of environmental protection, environmental policy and regional cooperation research projects, analytical thinking on the preconditions for sustainable development of the Baltic Sea Region is developed.

Learning outcomes and their assessment

• knows the situation in the Baltic Sea region in the field of water resources quantity and quality in relation to natural processes and anthropogenic impacts, by integrating knowledge from various environmental fields (Independent literature studies, Seminars, Exam);
• is able independently use theoretical knowledge and reasonably argue the directions of protection and sustainable development of the Baltic Sea environment (PPT presentation creation, discussions, seminars);
• is able to work both individually and in a group, taking responsibility for the results of their work (PPT presentation creation, discussions, seminars);

• is able to reasonably and critically analyse the causes of pollution of aquatic ecosystems as well as reduction opportunities, using theoretical knowledge and practical skills to ensure sustainable development of water resources in the Baltic Sea and Latvian inland waters (PPT presentation, discussions and Seminars).

Course Content(Calendar)

1. Characteristics of the Baltic Sea and inland waters (3 h);
2. Flora and fauna of the Baltic Sea (Ecosystem services in the Baltic Sea region, basic groups of living organisms, their distribution) (3 h);
3. Hydrological regime of the Baltic Sea region and factors influencing it (3 h);
4. Seminar. Environmental features of the Baltic Sea and inland water ecosystems (4 h);
5. Factors influencing surface water quality (3 h);
6. Factors influencing groundwater quality (3 h);
7. Seminar. Protection of the aquatic environment in the Baltic Sea region (4 h);
8. Eutrophication of the Baltic Sea (causes and consequences of eutrophication) (3 h);
9. Diffuse and point source pollution in agriculture (monitoring of agricultural runoff, quality assessment of river and lake waters, Nitrates Directive, HELCOM recommendations) (3 h);
10. Impact of industrial and domestic wastewater on inland water quality, possible solutions (3 h);
11. Seminar. Possibilities of hydrochemical modeling (3 h);
12. Development of river basin management plans (Water Framework Directive) (3 h);
13. Sustainable use of water resources (3 h);
14. Environmental legislation and scientific projects (3 h);
15. Seminar. Perspectives for sustainable development of the Baltic Sea region (4 h);

Requirements for awarding credit points

The required assessment for successful acquisition of the course is 4 -10 points. Student must independently create a presentation on one of the seminar topics and pass the exam.

Description of the organization and tasks of students’ independent work

According to the instructions and coordination of the lecturer, each student independently prepares one presentation for one of the seminars. Appropriate scientific and practical literature should be selected and the results obtained in the literature should be summarized, individual conclusions should be drawn in the form of SWOT analysis.

Criteria for Evaluating Learning Outcomes

The grade in the 10-point scale is awarded both for participation in a seminar with a PPT presentation on the chosen topic and activities during the lessons with a weighting factor of 20%, and for the Examination test with a weighting factor of 80%. If the attendance of classes is 75% and more, then the final mark within the grade point is rounded up.

Compulsory reading

1. Vide un ilgtspējīga attīstība. Redaktori M.āris Kļaviņš un J.ānis Zaļoksnis. Rīga: LU Akadēmiskais apgāds, 2010. 334 lpp.
2. Environment and sustainable development. Edited by M. Kļaviņš, W. L. Filho, J. Zaļoksnis. Riga: Academic Press of University of Latvia, 2010. 300 p.
3. The Baltic Sea Region: Cultures, Politics, Societies. [tiešsaiste] Ed.: Maciejewski W. Baltic University Press, Uppsala, Sweden. 2002 [skatīts 01.04.2022.] Pieejams:
4. The Waterscape: Sustainable Water Management in the Baltic Sea Basin. [tiešsaiste] Ed.itor: L.-C. Lundin. Uppsala: The Baltic University, 2000. 207 p. [skatīts 01.04.2022.] Pieejams:
5. Water Use and Management: Sustainable Water Management in the Baltic Sea Basin. [tiešsaiste] . Ed.: Lundin, Lars-Christer. Uppsala: The Baltic University, 2000. 2nd revised ed. 240 p. [skatīts 01.04.2022.] Pieejams:
6. River Basin Management: Sustainable Water Management in the Baltic Sea Basin. [tiešsaiste] (2000). Ed.: Lundin, Lars-Christer. Uppsala: The Baltic University, 2nd revised ed 244 p. [skatīts 01.04.2022.] Pieejams:
7. Sustainable Agriculture. [tiešsaiste] (2012). Ed.: Jakobsson, Christine. : 505 p. [skatīts 01.04.2022.] Pieejams:

Further reading

1. Ekoloģija un vides aizsardzība: mācību līdzeklis. J. Švarcbahs... [u.c.]; Latvijas Lauksaimniecības universitāte. Vides un ūdenssaimniecības katedra. Jelgava: LLU, 2006. 225 lpp.
2. Fundamentals of Environmental Studies. 2016. M. Basu, S. Xavier. Cambridge University Press. 450 p.
3. Dabas aizsardzība. O. Nikodemus un G. Brūmeļa redakcijā.; Rīga: LU Akadēmiskais apgāds, 2011. 287 lpp.
4. Vides zinātne. M. Kļaviņš ... [u.c.] ; Māra Kļaviņa redakcijā. [Rīga] : LU Akadēmiskais apgāds, 2008. 599 lpp.
5. Environmental science. L.Ryden, P.Migula, M.Anderson. The Baltic University Press. Uppsala, Sweden, 2003. 824 p. ISBN 91-970017-0-8- Pieejams:
6. Carolus J. F., Bartosova A., Olsen S. B., Jomaa S., Veinbergs A., Zilāns A., … Tonderski K. Nutrient mitigation under the impact of climate and land-use changes: A hydro- economic approach to participatory catchment management. Journal of Environmental Management, vol. 271, 2020, p. 1–13. Pieejams:
7. Carstensen M. V., Hashemi F., Hoffmann C. C., Zak D., Audet J., Kronvang B. Efficiency of mitigation measures targeting nutrient losses from agricultural drainage systems: A review. Ambio, 2020, No. 64, p. 1–18. Pieejams:
8. Dambeniece-Migliniece L., Veinbergs A., Lagzdins A. The impact of agricultural land use on nitrogen and phosphorus loads in the Mellupite catchment. Energy Procedia, Vol. 147, 2018, p. 189–194. Pieejams:
9. Deelstra J., Iital A., Povilaitis A., Kyllmar K., Greipsland I., Blicher-Mathiesen G., Koskiaho J. Hydrological Pathways and Nitrogen Runoff in Agricultural Dominated Catchments in Nordic and Baltic Countries. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, Vol. 195, 2014, p. 211–219. Pieejams:
10.Eutrophication Statuss of the Baltic Sea 2007-2011. A Concise Thematic Assessment. In: Baltic Sea Environment Proceedings. M. Pyhälä, V. Fleming-Lehtinen, M. Laamanen (Eds.. Helsinki: HELCOM, 2014. Pieejams:
11. Jansons V., Lagzdins A., Berzina L., Sudars R., Abramenko K. Temporal and Spatial Variation of Nutrient Leaching from Agricultural Land in Latvia: Long Term Trends in Retention and Nutrient Loss in a Drainage and Small Catchment Scale. Environmental and Climate Technologies, Vol. 7(1), 2011, p. 54–65. Pieejams:
12. Lagzdiņš A., Jansons V., Sudars R., Grinberga L., Veinbergs A., Abramenko K. Nutrient losses from subsurface drainage systems in Latvia. Acta Agriculturae Scandinavica Section B: Soil and Plant Science, Vol. 65, 2015, p. 66-79. [skatīts 01.04.2022.] Pieejams:

Periodicals and other sources

1. Nordic Hydrology. Published by IWA Publishing. ISSN: 0029-1277
2. Baltijas jūras vides aizsardzības komisijas (HELCOM) mājaslapa. [Tiešsaiste]. Pieejams:


The course is included in limited choice electives of academic master's study programme "Environmental, Water and Land Engineering" full-time studies.