Ecological research studies the distribution and abundance of species in time and space, and the interactions among organisms and with their environment. The ecological research at the department has a broad scope both in the choice of study organisms, from microorganisms to mammals and trees, as in the type of questions posed. Roughly, ecological research can be subdivided into several organisational levels; populations, communities and ecosystems.

An important research area within the population ecology research at the department is species interactions; as between plants and insects as well as between fish and their prey. The research focus both on the mechanisms affecting the strength of species interactions, from resource location by herbivores and predators to prey (plant or animal) defense, and the consequences for species distributions and evolution. Research within population ecology also involves conservation of threatened species, why species are threatened and what management actions may reduce threats.

The study of species interations involves both pair-wise interaction, entire food webs, how these are affected by the surrounding environment, and ecosystems. Ecosystems and their inhabitants are affected by both natural and anthropogenous processes; climate, eutrophication, pollutants, fragmentation and harvesting. A large number of project studying these effect, beside the ones listed below, are described under climate effects, environment and the sea.

Research areas with contact people

Population ecology

Effects of environment and climate on plant population dynamics (Johan Ehrlén)

Ecological and evolutionary consequences of plant-animal interactions (Johan Ehrlén)

Evolutionary ecology: recruitment strategies in plants with extremely small seeds (Ove Eriksson)

Dispersal biology in mosses (Kristoffer Hylander)

Host-parasitoid systems: immunology, search behaviour, ecology and evolution (Peter Hambäck)

Insect responses to spatial heterogeneity and how these affect attack rates on plants (Peter Hambäck)

Community ecology

Historical landscape ecology (Ove Eriksson)

Coastal ecology, how marine processes affect the terrestrial coastal ecosystem (Peter Hambäck)

Biodiversity and ecosystem services in tropical mosaic landscapes (Kristoffer Hylander)

Fire ecology, interactions between livestock and fire regimes, especially in semi-natural pastures in Africa (Maria Johansson)

The ecology and evolution of plant-based food webs, with a focus on the spatial dynamics of plants, insects and microbes (Ayco Tack)

Ecosystem ecology

Function and dynamics in the Baltic sea ecosystem; fish, their prey and predators, and environmental effects from eutrophication and fishing (Sture Hansson)

Ecosystem-based management of the Baltic Sea, Baltic cyanobacterial blooms and Baltic benthos (Ragnar Elmgren)

Open ocean nitrogen (N) cycling with an emphasis on N2 fixing microorganisms: free-living and symbiotic cyanobacteria. We focus on the activity, distribution, diversity, and interactions between the N2 fixing cyanobacteria and their environment and/or their respective hosts (Rachel Foster)

Ocean colour remote Sensing and integrated coastal zone management; phytoplankton blooms and bio-geochemical variables observed from Space (Susanne Kratzer).