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Stress Ecology & Ecophysiology

Stress Ecology & Ecophysiology

Our research focuses on the impacts of environmental variability and extreme climatic events, such as marine heatwaves, freshening events and hypoxic upwelling, on benthic marine communities. Here, we have developed novel infrastructure and new approaches addressing the complexity of variable environments in a climate change context. We apply approaches from eco-physiology to testing entire communities in response of multiple and fluctuating climate change drivers.

Within The Sea, a recently launched research profile at Åbo Akademi University, we aim to investigate the role of extreme climatic events within the Archipelago Sea, their perception in society, and measures that may help mediate their negative impacts on the underwater ecosystem.

Research group and collaborators:

Assoc. Prof Dr. Christian Pansch-Hattich

Assoc. Prof Christoffer Boström (seagrass and spatial ecology)

MSc Lucinda Kraufvelin (marine heatwaves, food webs)

Dr. Lukas Meysick (Helmholtz Institute for Functional Marine Biodiversity at the University of Oldenburg, HIFMB)

PI Marie C. Nordström (food web ecology)

Dr. Conny Sjöqvist (eco-evolutionary approaches combining experimental ecology and metagenomics)

Dr. Jahangir Vajed Samiei: GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel

MSc Fabian Wolf (GEOMAR Kiel, Germany; heatwave modelling, seagrass ecology)


Period Name
2021-2025 Impacts of marine heatwaves on the functioning of temperate coastal ecosystems under the influence of non-indigenous species (PhD Lucinda Kraufvelin, Doctoral programme at Åbo Akademi University)
2021-2024 BiodivERsA Call on Biodiversity and Climate Change: Pathogenic Vibrio bacteria in the current and future Baltic Sea waters: mitigating the problem (BaltVib)
2021-2022 Marine heatwaves in the Archipelago Sea – from identification and measuring their impacts, to implementation of mitigation strategies
2019-2022 Extreme Events in the Baltic Sea – Fabian Wolf DBU Fellowship, Tyskland
2018-2022 Does higher within-species diversity increase resilience of seagrass beds to fluctuating future marine climates? In collaboration with Jonathan Havenhand, Göteborgs Universitet


Partner in GAME (in ÅA website, Global Approach by Modular Experiments, an international research and education program for students of biology and environmental sciences that enables young scientists to investigate the effects of global change on coastal seas)

Fabian Wolf, Katja Seebass, Christian Pansch (2022) The role of recovery phases in mitigating the negative impacts of marine heatwaves on the sea star Asterias rubens. Frontiers Marine Science

Jahangir Vajedsamiei, Frank Melzner, Michael Raatz, Sonia Moron, Christian Pansch (2021) Cyclic thermal fluctuations can be burden or relif for an ecotherm depending on fluctuations’ average and amplitude. Functional Ecology 35:2483-2496

Christian Pansch and Claas Hiebenthal (2019) A new mesocosm system to study the effects of environmental fluctuations on marine species and communities. Limnology and Oceanography – Methods 17:145-162

Christian Pansch, Marco Scotti, Francisco R. Barbozza, Balsam Al-Janabi, Elizabeta Briski, Filipa Paiva, Mahasweta Saha, Yvonne Sawall, Florian Weinberger, Maysa Yto and Martin Wahl (2018) Heat waves and their significance for a temperate benthic community: a near-natural experimental approach. Global Change Biology 24:4357-4367

Updated 25.3.2022