New project on the Galapagos Archipelago

We started an exciting collaboration with José Marin at the Charles Darwin Foundation and Rafael Bermudez at Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ) on research in the Galapagos Archipelago and visited the islands in January.

The Galapagos are famous for their large number of endemic species with beautiful and interesting ecosystems. Planktonic organisms are however largely understudied. Stefan Eiler, a master student from Stockholm University started to work on a joint project to investigate spatial and temporal dynamics of crustacean plankton and population genetics for key crustacean species. He stays Charles Darwin station for some months. More on this later as the project evolves.

Thanks to José and Rafael for hosting us.

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View to the Charles Darwin station on Santa Cruz island, Galapagos.

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Stefan Eiler, Santa Cruz, Galapagos Island

NEW: Open PhD position in ‘Molecular analysis of plankton food web interactions’

There is a 4 year PhD position in Marine Biology open in my group. Please find more information below and here:

PhD student in Marine Biology

at the Department of Ecology, Environment and Plant SciencesClosing date: 23 February 2018.

At the Department of Ecology, Environment and Plant Sciences at Stockholm University, research and education is conducted in an international environment. The subject areas are Ecology and Evolution, Ecotoxicology, Marine Biology, Plant Physiology and Plant Systematics. Some of the research has direct environmental and societal relevance and the approach is often broad and interdisciplinary. About 140 people are working at the Department, of which ca. 35 are teachers and researchers and 50 are PhD students.

Project description
The Department of Ecology, Environment and Plant Sciences invites applications for a four-year PhD position part of the project Molecular analysis of plankton food web interactions. The aim of this project is to understand how environmental factors affect the structure and function of planktonic food webs by using DNA sequencing. This project will focus on zooplankton interactions through in situ identification of dietary uptake using novel methods of metabarcoding and metagenomics. This knowledge will be used to investigate the response of food web structure and function to global and local environmental gradients in temperature, salinity, eutrophication, or others. The outcome of this research is expected to yield transformative insight on the dynamics of plankton food web interactions under environmental change. The student will conduct field surveys, laboratory experiments, molecular analysis, including DNA sequencing, bioinformatics and network modelling. The student will conduct the research at Stockholm University within the Department of Ecology, Environment and Plant Sciences and has the opportunity to collaborate with other PhD students and participate in international collaborations within other projects.

The position will be based within a dynamic and active group working on current topics in aquatic ecology. We use a multi-disciplinary research approach, combining descriptive field studies, experimental and long-term ecological research to understand the consequences of environmental dynamics for food web processes and ecosystem functions. We offer state-of-the-art experimental and analytical facilities that allow properly addressing current ecological questions.

We are looking for a highly motivated and self-directed student with a strong interest in general ecological questions and great enthusiasm for scientific work. Ideally, the student will have knowledge in plankton ecology and experience in molecular analysis, culturing organisms, and field sampling. Good data analysis skills, excellent interpersonal and communication skills, a strong sense of determination to succeed, and the ability to express his or her ideas in English is further expected. The applicants should be willing to travel and spend periods in the field.

Qualification requirements
In order to meet the general entry requirements, the applicant must have completed a second-cycle degree, completed courses equivalent to at least 240 higher education credits, of which 60 credits must be in the second cycle, or have otherwise acquired equivalent knowledge in Sweden or elsewhere.

In order to meet the specific entry requirements, the general syllabus for doctoral studies in the field of Marine Biology stipulates, that applicants must have completed at least 60 higher education credits in the second cycle of which 15 credits must be from a course in Marine Biology, and 30 credits from a project in Marine Biology. Applicants may also have otherwise acquired equivalent knowledge in Sweden or elsewhere.

The qualification requirements must be met by the deadline for applications.

The criteria used in the selection for admittance to research training in Marine Biology are knowledge of theory and applications in the research field, knowledge with relevance for the research project; ability to communicate orally and in writing, knowledge of English, creativity, analytic competence, initiative, independence and collaboration ability. The assessment will be based on previous experience and grades, the quality of the degree project, references, relevant experience, interviews, and the candidate’s written motivation for seeking the position.

Admission Regulations for Doctoral Studies at Stockholm University are available at:

Terms of employment
Only a person who will be or has already been admitted to a third-cycle programme may be appointed to a doctoral studentship.

The term of the initial contract may not exceed one year. The employment may be extended for a maximum of two years at a time. However, the total period of employment may not exceed the equivalent of four years of full-time study.

Doctoral students should primarily devote themselves to their own education, but may engage in teaching, research, and administration corresponding to a maximum of 20 % of a full-time position.

Please note that admission decisions cannot be appealed.

Stockholm University strives to be a workplace free from discrimination and with equal opportunities for all.

For more information, please contact project leader, Professor Monika Winder, telephone: +46 8 16 17 41,

Further information about the position can be obtained from the Subject Representative Professor Jonas Gunnarsson, telephone: +46 8 16 42 53,

Union representatives
Ingrid Lander (Saco-S) and Lisbeth Häggberg (Fackförbundet ST and Lärarförbundet), telephone: +46 8 16 20 00 (operator), (SEKO), and PhD student representative,

Apply for the PhD student position at Stockholm University’s recruitment system by clicking the “Apply” button. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that the application is complete in accordance with the instructions in the job advertisement, and that it is submitted before the deadline. We recommend that you hand in your application, including necessary documents, in English.

Please include the following information with your application

  • Your contact details and personal data
  • Your highest university degree
  • Your language skills
  • Contact details for 2–3 reference persons

and, in addition, please include the following documents

  • Cover letter (2-3 pages), containing
    – Your expectations from, and intentions with the education
    – Why you are interested in the specific project
    – What makes you suitable for the specific project
  • CV – degrees and other completed courses, work experience and a list of degree projects/theses
  • Degree certificates and grades confirming that you meet the general and specific entry requirements (no more than 6 files)
  • Degree projects/theses (no more than 6 files).

The instructions for applicants are available at: Instructions – Applicants.

You are welcome to apply!

We are one of Europe’s leading universities in one of the world’s most dynamic capitals. A relationship with Stockholm University delivers quality outcomes whether you are an employee, student, researcher or stakeholder. Our education and research produce results.

Closing date: 23/02/2018

New study shows that nutritious phytoplankton high in essential fatty acids support secondary production in coastal-estuarine waters

Coastal-estuarine ecosystems are some of the most productive habitats and contribute largely to fish and aquaculture production. This high productivity is ascribed to high primary production and efficient carbon transfer to higher trophic levels. Our novel results reveal that high production of nutritious phytoplankton in the form of diatoms and dinoflagellates in coastal-estuarine ecosystems is an additional factor contributing to high secondary production. Cyanobacteria and chlorophytes with low nutritional value for consumers dominate at low-salinity regions and in offshore oligotrophic oceanic regions. By producing phytoplankton forms rich in essential biochemicals that are efficiently transferred to consumers, make coastal-estuarine ecosystems a unique place for high production of fish and shellfish.

Winder, M., Carstensen, J., Galloway, A. W. E., Jakobsen, H. H. and Cloern, J. E. (2017), The land–sea interface: A source of high-quality phytoplankton to support secondary production. Limnol. Oceanogr.. doi:10.1002/lno.10650


Figure. Consumer growth and survival data performance as a function of diet % of long-chain essential fatty acids (LCEFA) grouped for important coastal organisms. These data suggest Increasing growth performance and a saturation or optima performance level with increase in diet LCEFA.


New study shows that appendicularian zooplankton thrive under warmer and more acidic ocean conditions and consequently alter carbon cycling


Oikopleura dioica, animal and house. Source:

This study provides to our knowledge the first experiment that contains multiple trophic levels and climate stressors (warming and ocean acidification) to investigate how gelatinous zooplankton (appendicularians) affect carbon cycling of marine food webs. Our novel results reveal that appendicularians thrive under climate warming and benefit from low pH levels, which alters the direction of carbon flow. An increase in the dominance of gelatinous zooplankton removes particles from the water column that might otherwise nourish copepods and fish by increasing carbon transport to depth. This helps to remove CO2 from the atmosphere, but may also have significant fisheries implications.

Winder, M., Bouquet, J.-M., Rafael Bermúdez, J., Berger, S. A., Hansen, T., Brandes, J., Sazhin, A. F., Nejstgaard, J. C., Båmstedt, U., Jakobsen, H. H., Dutz, J., Frischer, M. E., Troedsson, C. and Thompson, E. M. (2017) Increased appendicularian zooplankton alter carbon cycling under warmer more acidified ocean conditions. Limnol. Oceanogr. doi:10.1002/lno.10516



Mesocosm setup at the Marine Biology Station Espegrend,Bergen, Norway

Presentations at ASLO 2017, Honolulu Hawaii

Konrad Karlsson and Monika Winder attended the ASLO conference and presented their research.

Konrad presented results from this project on the adaptation potential of Baltic Sea copepod species to climate change. The study shows that warm adapted populations could be better prepared for future elevated temperatures, but food quality and lower salinity could hamper their relative benefits.

Monika presented research on phytoplankton diversity across the land-sea interface and it’s importance for secondary production. This study combines long-term phytoplankton observations and food quality of phytoplankton taxa, showing that the type of food quality produced in estuarine-coastal ecosystems is likely another factor contributing to their high productivity.

Photo: left: Konrad Karlsson, right: Konrad Karlsson, Andrea Caputo, Monika Winder

New article on ‘The importance of benthic–pelagic coupling for marine ecosystem functioning in a changing world’ in Global Change Biology

This synthesis article is based on a collaborative effort highlighting the importance of benthic-pelagic coupling under changing environmental conditions using the Baltic Sea as a case study.

We illustrate the varied nature of physical and biological benthicpelagic coupling processes and their potential sensitivity to three anthropogenic pressures climate change,nutrient loading, and fishing and summarize current knowledge on the exchange of inorganic nutrients and organic material between habitats. We emphasize how improved empirical and experimental understanding of benthicpelagic coupling processes and their variability are necessary to inform models that can quantify the feedbacks among processes and ecosystem responses to a changing world, and give recommendation for future research.

Griffiths, J. R., Kadin, M., Nascimento, F. J. A., Tamelander, T., Törnroos, A., Bonaglia, S., Bonsdorff, E., Brüchert, V., Gårdmark, A., Järnström, M., Kotta, J., Lindegren, M., Nordström, M. C., Norkko, A., Olsson, J., Weigel, B., Žydelis, R., Blenckner, T., Niiranen, S. and Winder, M. (2017) The importance of benthic–pelagic coupling for marine ecosystem functioning in a changing world. Glob Change Biol. doi:10.1111/gcb.13642




NEW: PhD position in Marine Ecology

We have an open PhD position in our group with focus on benthic-pelagic coupling.

Closing date: 20 September 2016

This position will be associated with the FORMAS project ‘Responses of pelagic-benthic coupling to environmental change in the Baltic Sea’. The goal of this project is to disentangle how shifts in pelagic and benthic species composition can affect the flux of organic matter and nutritional quality of settling material. The student will study relationships between planktonic and benthic dynamics using monitoring data, reciprocal fluxes of particulate organic matter and potentially experiments using experiments, and use this information to project functional species traits under future climate and nutrient scenarios. The project involves statistical analysis, experiments and modelling to assess effects of human pressure on benthic-pelagic coupling processes.

Please visit the University website for more information at: