1) Population genetics and phylogeography

The goal is to relate genetic diversity and structure at different spatial scales with biotic and abiotic factors affecting distribution, adaptation and speciation in marine algae, seagrasses, rays, fish and corals. Projects investigate (a) how clonal dynamics and sexual reproduction affect population evolution and persistence; (b) historical and contemporary factors affecting species distributions in the North Atlantic, Baltic and Mediterranean Seas, through the study of comparative and statistical phylogeography of species co-occurring in the same environments; and (c) hybrid zones and their role in speciation of fucoid seaweeds.

2) Adaptive population divergence and resilience

The goal is to understand the molecular basis for stress tolerance and rapid adaptation in coexisting species. Projects involve (a) the development of EST libraries for transcription profiling; (b) development of new classes of selectively relevant genetic markers for detecting the footprints of selection (fucoid seaweeds and seagrasses to study temperature and desiccation stress); and (c) the investigation of tradeoffs associated with endosymbiont shuffling in response to climate change and coral bleaching.

3) Invasive species

The goal is to establish (a) baseline genetic monitoring/DNA barcoding of both invertebrates and algae, (b) to identify factors affecting invasion rates and (c) to better understand the mechanisms underlying their ecological success. Projects involve mussels, oysters, tunicates and seaweeds.  

4) Community connectivity and regulation
The goal is to understand the role of functional groups in mediating biodiversity through different trophic levels. Projects examine the joint effects of producer and consumer diversity on bottom-up resource availability and top-down consumer mediated trophic cascades using rocky shore communities and controlled mesocosm experiments, and soft-bottom communities with a focus on the Wadden Sea.


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