All life on Earth is dependent on the sea.


The marine ecosystem consists of the animals, plants and marine environments together. Ecosystems provide us with many benefits such as oxygen, atmospheric water (e.g. rain), circulation of nutrients and food. At the same time, the sea serves us in ways that are equally significant but more difficult to measure; through experiences, inspiration and recreational opportunities . In order to identify, describe and make visible the benefits we get from marine ecosystems, we talk about ecosystem services.

It's urgent, so let's take a step forward ...


At the moment, the sixth mass extinction is taking place on our planet, where we humans are causing a rapid global decline in biodiversity. Animal and plant life in the sea is especially affected. In order to sustainably use what the sea provides us, we need more knowledge about our contemporary human relationship with wild animals, and partucularly those living in the sea.

Read more about ecosystem services here



Relations with the Sea is a project where Anna Törnroos-Remes, marine biologist and researcher at Åbo Akademi University, and nature photographer Niclas Rantala study human relations to the sea. It is a dialogue between science and art, where marine biological research is interlaced with art through images that highlight the importance of relationships within research and marine governance.

To become aware of, to talk about and reflect on our sea-related feelings, relationships and memories is taking a step forward. To examine these relationships personally as well as in a societal and a research context helps developing new knowledge and finding solutions to stop the dramatic decline in biodiversity.


Read more about the project and research here



In most of the images the focus is on animals, not humans. Many of the images link to fish and fishing, but also services like food culture, cultural heritage, bird watching, wildlife safaris and research are highlighted in the project.


What relationships do humans have with the sea today? Which marine animals are present in these relationships?

The photographs are documentary and illustrate various aspects of the human relationship to the sea and its animals today.

You can view the virtual exhibition here


Through the photographs, the viewer can also explore his relationships with the sea on a personal level; through memories, feelings and associations.

The pictures depicts the southwestern archipelago in Finland, but the relations, i.e. ecosystem services,  are universal and global.



The exhibition "Relations with the Sea " can be seen in the following places:

11.2 - 16.5.2021 Forum Marinum, Linnankatu 72, 20100 Turku, Finland

29.6-15.8.2021 Uusikaupunki Maritime Center, Pakkahuoneentori 1, Uusikaupunki

2.9-30.9.2021 World Heritage Gateway Gallery Arte Mare, Raippaluodontie 2, 65800 Mustassari

- The exhibition has been approved as a programme of the Year of Research-Based Knowledge 2021



Anna Törnroos-Remes is an Assistant Professor within the strategic research profile The Sea at Åbo Akademi University. She studies the role of animals in the sea and its ecosystems, as well as the link between humans and the sea with an interdisciplinary socio-ecological approach.


+358 46 920 1610

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Niclas Rantala is a nature and landscape photographer living in Turku. His interest in nature photography in the Turku 

archipelago has this time led to a series of documentary and thought-provoking images within the theme of human-marine animal relations.

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Anna Törnroos-Remes

Niclas Rantala



Would you like to share your thoughts on the pictures, or perhaps contribute to sea-related research at Åbo Akademi University? Here you can describe your own relationships to the sea and its animals, or the feelings and memories the images awoke.

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