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Marine phytoplankton - diversity and adaptation

Marine phytoplankton - diversity and adaptation

Phytoplankton are photosynthetic, single-celled microorganisms living the ocean. They produce about half of all oxygen on Earth and play a central role as prey for higher organisms in the marine food web. Phytoplankton also mitigate negative effects from climate change by binding enormous amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Global sampling campaigns imply that we are unaware of the total diversity of phytoplankton (also genetic) in the global ocean. This makes it hard for us to predict how marine ecosystems are adapting to ongoing environmental change such as eutrophication and increasing sea surface temperatures. The aim of our research is to create a deeper understanding of what phytoplankton occur in the ocean, and what  their adaptive potential is in the face of rapidly changing environmental conditions.

Research group and collaborators:

PhD Conny Sjöqvist (Google Scholar)

MSc Janni Heikkinen (project assistant)

PhD Giannina Hattich (plankton ecology and evolution), University of Turku

PhD Teppo Hiltunen (microbial evolution), University of Turku

PhD Sirje Sildever (metabarcoding, resurrection ecology), Tallinn Technical University

PhD Anders Andersson (metagenomics), KTH Royal Institute of Technology

PhD Anke Kremp (plankton ecology), Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research Warnemuende



Period Name
2021-2022 GeneMac – Genetisk variation hos Limecola (Macoma) balthica (L.) i förhållande till miljöförändringar
2021-2022 ARCHIVE: Adaptation of microalgae in a changing environment
2019-2022 Marine primary producers in a future climate: an eco-evolutionary approach combining experimental ecology and metagenomics


Fern Orchestra (public outreach)

Betydelsen av genetisk diversitet hos marina kiselalgen Skeletonema marinoi under och efter antibiotikastress (Janni Heikkinen, in swedish)

Anpassning hos kiselalgen Skeletonema marinoi till stigande vattentemperaturer under 1900-talet (Maximilian Gareis, in swedish)

Updated 25.3.2022