Plant-Fish - about fish and vegetation

Ett gäddyngel gömmer sig i ålgräset. Foto: Ulf Bergström

Coastal manager’s struggle globally both with declining stocks of large predatory fish and decreased submerged vegetation; the "foundation species" that forms the basis for many coastal ecosystems. The research project Plant-Fish has thoroughly examined the functional role of vegetation and predatory fish in a large number of shallow Baltic Sea bays.

Storspigg (Gasterosteus aculeatus) Foto: Joakim Hansen/Azote

A spatial regime shift

The three-spined stickleback have gradually taken over large parts of the Baltic Sea’s coastal ecosystem, a new scientific study shows. This has caused a shift from predator to prey dominance.


Together we stand

Plant density is important for maintaining healthy vegetation in coastal ecosystems. Especially when large predatory fish disappear and the water is enriched with excessive nutrient content.

Ankare på botten i en grund vik. Foto: Joakim Hansen

Fish habitats degraded by recreational boating

Small boat marinas have a distinct impact on the vegetation on the seabed. This vegetation is very important for recruitment of several coastal fish species, including perch and pike.

Provtagning av vegetation i en grund vik. Foto: Joakim Hansen

About the project Plant-Fish

Plant-Fish is a large research project aiming to examine the functional role of vegetation and predatory fish and how they interact. Focus is on the ecosystems of shallow Baltic Sea bays.

Facts Plant-Fish

Plant-Fish is a co-operation between researchers at the Department of Ecology, Environment and Plant Sciences at Stockholms University, Stockholms University Baltic Sea Centre, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, University of Groningen and AquaBiota. The project was financed by the Swedish research council FORMAS during 2014-2018, and continues with the new project Stickleback wave.

Read more about people, research and results

Follow the project

Små abborrar, Foto: Joakim Hansen


On Facebook the Plant-Fish team post beautiful underwater photos and project proceedings.

The Project in English media