Food Web Ecology

We carry out research in aquatic ecology studying food web transfer of micronutrients as well as adaptations among organisms to climate change and exposure to ultraviolet radiation.

Lines of research

Transfer of vitamin in the aquatic food web

Some top predators in the Baltic Sea suffer from a deficiency syndrome thought to be caused by low levels of vitamin B1 (thiamine or thiamin). The vitamin is produced by bacteria and phytoplankton and is transferred by zooplankton to fish and birds. Thiamin deficiencies are intensively discussed in the literature and we need research to understand the mechanisms regulating the transfer of this micronutrient in the ecosystem from producers to consumers. Salmon in the Baltic Sea are periodically suffering from low reproductive output due to a thiamin deficiency syndrome called M74 and we use salmon and thiamin as a model system to understand micronutrient dynamics.


Transfer of vitamins and pigments
Martin Brüsin

How are communities affected by climate change?

It is unclear how climate change will affect biodiversity, biogeochemical processes, and ecosystem services. The overarching aim of this line of research is to understand how communities and species are affected by global warming. We study these processes in Ethiopian streams as well as at coastal sites in the Baltic Sea. Specifically, we use sites where a power plant has been emitting warm water for approximately 50 years as compared to other non-affected sites. Studies are performed in close collaboration with several other research groups at Linnaeus University and Stockholm University.

Field sampling at in the Baltic Sea (Pictures: Emil Fridolfsson)
Field sampling at in the Baltic Sea Emil Fridolfsson

Effects of UV in aquatic ecosystems

The third line of research within the Food Web Ecology research group focuses on exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UV). UV-exposure can be detrimental to all organisms and previous research has focused on adaptations among zooplankton in response to UV-exposure. Current work is more general with contribution to the Environmental Effects Assessment Panel providing scientific advice to the parties of the Montreal protocol.