Walter and Andrée de Nottbeck Foundation
Walter and Andrée de Nottbeck Foundation was established in 1970. According to the charter, the Foundation's main objective is to support environmental research entailed by technical development.
On October 5, 1972, the Board of the Foundation decided to support environmental research in the Baltic Sea, primarily microbiological investigations. In order to realize this aim, the Foundation signed a cooperative agreement with the University of Helsinki on January 26, 1973. According to the agreement, the Foundation supports microbiological research in the Baltic Sea with the work located mainly at the Tvärminne Zoological Station, University of Helsinki.
The Tvärminne Zoological Station is a part of the Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Helsinki, Finland. It serves as a centre for a large variety of high quality biological research, carries out environmental monitoring, and offers facilities for visiting scientists, field courses, symposia and seminars. The area is characterized by high variation in biotopes and species richness. The station was founded in 1902 and provides good background data for studying long-term environmental changes (see http://luoto.tvarminne.helsinki.fi/english).
The research began in the early 1970s with a thorough investigation of the microbiology of coastal waters, especially bacteria and yeasts of the open waters. During the 1980s the Pelag Project studied the relation between algae and bacteria in the open waters of the northern Baltic Sea. More recently research has focused on the role of mixotrophic organisms in the Baltic ecosystem, sea ice organisms, the ecology of shallow coastal waters, the relation between zooplankton and phytoplankton and between planktivorous fish and microorganisms, and cyanobacteria and their influence on the ecosystem.
In order to strengthen and coordinate the research sponsored by the Foundation, the Foundation has donated funds to the University of Helsinki for a five-year professorship at Tvärminne Zoological Station for five-year periods in 2002-2006, 2007-2011 and 2012-2016. The Foundation concluded a new cooperation agreement with the University of Helsinki in September 21, 2016 in order to jointly finance the professorship in the Baltic Sea research for a another five year period. In addition, the Foundation finances a tenure track professorship in Baltic Sea biodiversity research.
Presently the research focus is on questions related to understanding functional biodiversity, biogeochemistry and long-term changes in the marine environment in relation to eutrophication and climate change. This is studied through modelling and synthesis work that builds on long-term data and summarizes information on the structure and function of food webs. Nottbeck foundation places priority on Tvärminne-based research that builds an understanding of the complexity of marine ecosystem structure and function.