The coupling between human and environmental pressures, ecological processes and ecosystem effects are the main focus of the research at the Department of Marine Ecology (MARE). Human activity affects the environmental state of bays, coastal areas and open waters. Inputs of nutrients and other substances from land, the atmosphere and other sea areas, acoustic pollution or coastal development may result in eutrophication, increased turbidity, plankton outbursts, invasive species propagation and habitat and diversity changes. Recreational activities and commercial fishing also affect the food web structure and species dynamics in the water column and seafloor. Overarching these driver-impact problems, basic understanding of population dynamics of potentially affected living organisms, including plastic and evolutionary adaptations, as well as trade-offs, need to be resolved. The phenomena being studied span several time and space scales, including effects of climate change.
Our department promotes interdisciplinary research examining the structure and functioning of marine ecosystems. Our research covers from microscale processes affecting single microbial cells to large-scale processes driving the spread of key organisms and major fish resources. Using observational, experimental, analytical and numerical techniques we study the interactions between the physical and the biological environment, the causal relations affecting the occurrence, spread and survival of marine organisms, changes in organism behavior, as well as the restoration of altered ecosystems.