Here are the news


Oh my, what a whirlwind of an academic year! I've been fortunate to work together with so many great colleagues and a whole bunch of papers have been coming out. This spring, we've seen Pierre Olivier defend his PhD thesis and Ellen Rancken and Patrik Ståhl graduate with their MSc degrees. We hosted the ECOTIP Summer School at Husö Biological Station, which was a wonderful experience. In the fall, we have a big Horizon Europe project starting, so stay tuned for more information about that. Wishing everyone a great summer...


And just like that, Christina published the last chapter of her PhD thesis. Congratulations, Christina!

The paper presents the results from a field experiment assessing the effect of round goby on epifauna. We found that round gobies reduced invertebrate abundance, biomass and species richness and also affected taxonomic and trait-based composition of the invertebrate communities. The paper is OPEN ACCESS and you can find it HERE!


New paper out!

Our paper on temporal changes in marine food web structure and function was just published in Journal of Animal Ecology! This work was lead by Susanne Kortsch and Romain Frelat. You find the paper here and for #thestorybehindthepaper see our blog post here!


Another chapter published from Christina Henseler's thesis! This paper is called Habitat utilization and feeding ecology of small round goby in a shallow brackish lagoon and found in Marine Biodiversity here:


NEW PAPER! We have a new open-access paper out describing the epibenthic invertebrate communities in Northeast Greenland waters. Have a look here: Fredriksen, R., Christiansen, J.S., Bonsdorff, E. et al. Epibenthic megafauna communities in Northeast Greenland vary across coastal, continental shelf and slope habitats. Polar Biol 43, 1623–1642 (2020).


Today, Christina Henseler defended her PhD thesis: Coastal habitats and their importance for the biodiversity of faunal communities. Thank you, opponent docent Sofia Wikström (SU), for the great discussion, and congratulations Dr Henseler!


Postdoc Laurene Pecuchet's work in the BONUS BLUEWEBS project is now out in the journal Ecography. In this paper, we assess how the traits that make up multi-trophic communities change over time. Using long-term data from three distinct areas of the Baltic Sea, Laurene was able to identify ecosystem-wide functional reorganization concurrent with changes in environmental variables related to both large-scale, climate-driven changes, as well as region-specific conditions.


MARmaED PhD students have been busy and are chucking out papers. Good work, Pierre & Christina!

Olivier P., Frelat R., Bonsdorff E., Kortsch S., Kröncke I., Möllmann C., Neumann H., Sell A.F., and Nordström M.C. Exploring the temporal variability of a food web using long-term biomonitoring data. Open Access at Ecography

Henseler C., Nordström M.C., Törnroos A., Snickars M., Pecuchet L., Lindegren M., and Bonsdorff E. (2019) Coastal habitats and their importance for the diversity of benthic communities: A species- and trait-based  approach. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 226:106272.


Paper out! With the help of some Italian colleagues, I've been able to do more Mediterranean work. In this paper, Bongiorni et al., we study the contribution of deltaic wetland food sources to coastal macrobenthicconsumers at the Po River Delta, north Adriatic Sea. Read more here!


We have a couple of new papers out! The first one is Degen et al.,  in which we discuss trait-based approaches in rapidly changing ecosystems and lay out a roadmap to the future polar oceans. Open access in Ecological Indicators HERE  The second one is Nasi et al., in which we assess the functional diversity of polychaete assemblages in Mediterranean coastal areas affected by contaminants. Link to Marine Environmental Research HERE


Our review in Global Change Biology was the papers's 8th most downloaded article of 2017: "The importance of benthic–pelagic coupling for marine ecosystem functioning in a changing world"  #openaccess


A second postdoc joining the BONUS BLUEWEBS project! This time we are welcoming Dr Susanne Kortsch to Åbo Akademi University. Susanne joins us from UiT in Norway where she has been working on marine food webs of the Barents Sea. Great to have you as part of the group, Susanne!


OPEN POSITION at Environmental and Marine Biology!

Åbo Akademi University invites applications for three (3) positions as Assistant/Associate professors in Marine and Maritime Studies through Tenure Track. 

One Assistant/Associate Professor in Marine Ecology
The appointed Assistant/Associate Professor will be placed at Environmental and Marine Biology (Faculty of Science and Engineering). The appointed Assistant/Associate professor will contribute to the Centre of Excellence with cutting-edge research in the area of functional marine biodiversity and environmental ecology research, and explore possibilities for joint interdisciplinary research projects.

All areas of marine ecology will be considered, but candidates whose research focuses on coastal and archipelago ecosystems, in particular structural and functional aspects of biodiversity in relation to natural and anthropogenic environmental stressors, and/or interdisciplinary aspects of indicators and decision support systems in relation to governance and management options for the marine environment, will be given priority.

Examples of specific research topics include (but are not limited to): 

  • Functional biodiversity and trait-based approaches (for assessing ecosystem performance).
  • Food web ecology.
  • Coastal marine spatial planning and marine environmental protection, including restoration ecology.
  • Interactions between the environment and the biota in the face of long-term environmental change (e.g. climate, eutrophication, fisheries, invasive species).

The appointment is expected to begin on March 1, 2018.



I am thrilled to welcome Dr. Lauréne Pécuchet to Åbo Akademi University. Lauréne received her PhD earlier this year from DTU-Aqua in Copenhagen, and is now joining the BONUS BLUEWEBS project as a postdoc. Great to have you as part of our team, Lauréne!



I am looking for a postdoctoral researcher to join us at Åbo Akademi University to study past and present states in Baltic Sea ecosystems, specifically evaluating structure and function of food webs.

Novel food webs, compositionally unlike any found today, are increasingly likely due to the multiple anthropogenic pressures on marine ecosystems. Failure to account for novel topology, and associated functioning of food webs may significantly limit our potential to ensure provision of ecosystem services through ecosystem-based management. This postdoctoral-level project will focus on establishing temporal changes in network structure (through e.g. ecological network analysis) of Baltic Sea food webs, assessing coastal as well as open-sea areas.

The appointee will be part of the EU BONUS project “Blue Growth boundaries in novel Baltic food webs” (BONUS BLUEWEBS).

Submit your application no later than June 16 through the ÅAU Online Recruitment System!



We assessed anthropogenic structuring of trophic networks by studying benthic communities along gradients of organic enrichment. Analyzing monitoring data from two sites with point-source organic loading (and associated changes in e.g. hypoxia), we found that organic enrichment led to a progressive simplification of food web structure, i.e. altered network topology of soft-sediment macroinvertebrate communities. Organic enrichment simplifies marine benthic food web structure out in Limnology and Oceanography



We have a review paper out in Global Change Biology about the importance of benthic-pelagic coupling for marine ecosystem functioning. This publication is the result of great Baltic Sea & Nordic collaboration!


Happy New Year!

A big thank you to all our wonderful collaborators for a great 2016. Looking forward to new and exciting things in 2017!


Big week for the group as Nolwenn Quillien defends her PhD thesis ’Dynamic ecosystems under anthropogenic stress – how does macrotidal sandy beach fauna respond to green tides?’ incoming Friday (20 May). Nolwenn is completing a double degree between UBO (France) and ÅAU (Finland). Her opponent is Iván F. Rodil (University of Helsinki). Nolwenn’s thesis summary is available here!

We also have two recent additions to the group; Pierre Olivier and Christina Henseler are PhD students within the MARmaED network. The whole MARmaED crew is getting together for the first annual meeting next week. Looking forward to it!


New papers out!

Our paper 'Regime shifts in marine communities: a complex systems perspective on food web dynamics' is out in Proceedings of the Royal Society B today (open access). We used exponential random graph modelling to assess dominant processes in food webs of the Baltic Sea before and after a previously reported regime shift. This was a NorMER collaboration between Åbo Akademi University and the Stockholm Resilience Center, with Johanna Yletyinen as lead author!

The April issue of Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology features our paper 'Opportunistic basal resource simplifies food web structure and functioning of a highly dynamic marine environment', in which Nolwenn Quillien (as part of her joint degree between Åbo Akademi University and Université de Bretagne Occidentale) investigates the effects of green tides on trophic structure.