The seas cover more than 70% of the surface of our planet, and hosts a great variety of habitats – e.g. artic ice landscapes, Baltic Sea archipelagos, tidal flats, coral reefs and trenches deeper that Mount Everest is high. Off shore areas are sometimes referred to as marine deserts due to their low productivity, but with their vastness it is where most of the marine production takes place. The sea’s variable environment is the home of a fascinating biological diversity from microbes and plankton to fish and whales. Understanding the processes in the sea and its regulating factors is a prerequisite for a global understanding of ecology and environment. Research at our department addresses both basic and applied science, with a focus on the Baltic Sea, but also with research on the Swedish west coast, Africa, Central America and Southeast Asia.
Research areas with contact people
Nutrients and Eutrophication
Without nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) there would be no life in the sea. Nutrients are used by plants to produce the organic matter that constitute the basis of the food webs. To understand the “functioning” of the sea, we thus need knowledge on nutrient dynamics and regulation. In many areas, humans have increase nutrient concentrations in the sea (eutrophication) and this may have resulted in unwanted impacts like nuisance algal blooms and “dead bottoms” (areas with little or no oxygen)
Contact person: Sven Blomqvist
Food webs and fisheries
Plants and animals interact in various ways, and complex food webs result when some species feed on other. Humans interact in these food webs through different mechanisms. Eutrophication increases the plant production, which can favor some plants on the expense of other. Indirectly this influences also the fauna. Humans may impact these food webs also by massively killing certain species of animals (=fishing).
Contact person: Sture Hansson
Long term ecological research (LTER) in the Baltic Sea
The very basis to understand marine ecosystems and their dynamics are quantitative data of high quality, on nutrient concentrations and plant and animal abundances. Data on temperature, salinity and other environmental conditions are also needed. In our LTER projects we collect this kind of information from both the water and the bottoms, and from coastal as well as off shore areas. Some types of samples are collected year around (20 times/year) and some sampling programs started 40 years ago.
Contact person: Jakob Walve
January 28, 2014
Page editor: Johan Klint
Source: Department of Ecology, Environment and Plant Sciences