Till startsida
To content Read more about how we use cookies on gu.se

Kerstin Johannesson


Kerstin Johannesson
Evolution, Speciation, Marine
+46 31 786 9611

Postal Address: Tjärnö, 45296 Strömstad
Visiting Address: Tjärnö , 45296 Strömstad

Department of Marine Sciences (More Information)
Box 461
405 30 Göteborg
Visiting Address: Carl Skottsbergs gata 22 B , 413 19 Göteborg

About Kerstin Johannesson

Professor in Marine Ecology and director of the Linnaeus Research Centre in Marine Evolutionary Biology (CeMEB).

Research Interests

Major commitments

Ongoing Research Activities

Earlier Research Activities

Scientific publications

Research Interests

As a researcher, I am interested in understanding the mechanisms of evolution that generate new biodiversity, either within species (e.g. ecotypes, local populations) or by forming new species.

One urgent topic that interests me a lot is how rapidly organisms may adapt when the environment they occupy are changing, for example, under current climate change. And, what role plays genetic variation, population structure and gene flow in such processes.

I am mainly occupied with research on two groups of organisms; marine gastropods of the genus Littorina (periwinkles) and brown seaweed of the genus Fucus (wrack).

Major commitments

I have initiated, designed and coordinated several large, and some of them also multidisciplinary, research projects (EUMAR, Marbipp, BaltGene, CeMEB, CodS). Information of each of these is given below.
I have had many years of assignments in committees evaluating research proposals for the Swedish Research Councils, and applications for professor positions in Sweden and abroad.

My expertise in marine research and biodiversity have been requested by governmental committees and commissions, such as, the Swedish governmental marine commission on marine policy (Havsmiljökommissionen). I am currently in the Swedish Ministry of the Environment’s commission for environmental research (Miljöforskningsberedningen).

I am a member of the advisory board of two large research initiatives: CanMove (University of Lund), and Kiel Future Oceans, and invited member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

I have always been very active in explaining research for the public and for school classes, and I can recommend the website: www.kubbongen.tmbl.gu.se (In Swedish).

Full CV as pdf.


Ongoing Research Activities

CeMEB - The Linnaeus Centre for Marine Evolutionary Biology

A ten-year research centre funded by the research councils VR and Formas.

Please visit www.cemeb.science.gu.se


An Interreg funded multidisciplinary project on marine restoration.

Evolution and speciation in marine snails (Littorina)

1980- ongoing
My never-ending graduate student project that focus on the behavioural an evolutionary ecology, genetics and genomics of Littorina saxatilis and L. fabalis. Both form ecotypes that in L. saxatilis are almost fully reproductively isolated through behavioural barriers, while in L. fabalis there are only weak barriers to gene flow between ecotypes. The next big leap is that we are finishing the de novo genome sequencing of one female Littorina saxatilis in the CeMEB collaboration (see www.cemeb.gu.se)

PhD students: Mårten Duvetorp and Sara Saltin
Collaborators: Marina Panova (researcher), Greg Charrier (junior researcher),Carl André, Roger Butlin, Anders Tunlid, Rui Faria, Emilio Rolán-Alvarez, Natalia Mikhailova.
Funding: Swedish Research Council VR (since 1987).
Earlier graduate students in the project:
Kerstin Johannesson (as Kerstin Janson) 1986
Bo Johannesson (1996)
Anette Ekendahl (1997)
Johan Erlandsson (1998)
Johan Hollander (2006)
Marina Panova (2007)
Petri Kemppainen (2008)

My most important publications on Littorina.

Evolution and conservation genetics of brown seaweed (Fucus)

This project was initiated to address the taxonomic status of a dwarph morph of Baltic Sea Fucus vesiculosus. When we applied genetic analyses, the dwarf morph unveiled a separate species, Fucus radicans. This species is endemic to the Baltic Sea and a major perennial seaweed in the north. We have also discovered that a unique trait of Baltic Sea fucoids is cloning, which is important knowledge in conservation and management of these species.

Project members: Ricardo Pereyra (researcher), Angelica Ardehed and Daniel Johansson (graduate student)
Collaborators: Lena Kautsky, Ester Serrao, Gareth Pearson.
Earlier postdoc: Andrey Tatarenkov.
Funding: Swedish Research Council, Formas (2004-2011), BaltGene (2009-2011).

My most important publications on Fucus.


Earlier Research Activities

BaltGene – Baltic Sea Genetic Biodiversity

2009-2011 (KJ coordinator, 20 researchers involved from 7 universities in 4 countries)
A multidisciplinary research project under the BONUS programme with focus on describing the population genetic structure of 8-10 Baltic Sea species. The program produced more than 40 scientific publications (all listed on the web page), 5 PhD thesis, and a web-tool providing guidelines for end users.
Funding: BONUS EEIG, 1.6 m€

MARBIPP - Marine Biodiversity, Patterns and Processes

2001-2006 (KJ coordinator, 35 Swedish researchers involved from 5 research organizations)
This was a broad research program with the objective of producing new knowledge and end-user friendly advices in the area of marine coastal biodiversity. The program dealt mainly with five coastal biotopes; seagrass beds, macroalgal forests, shallow sandy bottoms, mussel beds and deep coral reefs. The program produced more than 80 scientific publications, 9 PhD thesis (see www.marbipp.tmbl.gu.se) and web-tool guidelines for end-users (see www.marbipp.se).
Funding: Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, 35 million SEK 

EUMAR - European Marine Genetic Biodiversity

2001-2004 (KJ coordinator, 30 EU researchers involved from 5 countries)
Research program addressing conservation genetics of marine invertebrate species of coastal Europe, with special emphasis on mechanisms that generated genetic structures in macro algae, seagrasses, snails, limpets, and barnacles. Collaborating partners from Italy (2 partners), Spain (1 partner), Belgium (1 partner), UK (2 partners). This program produced about 70 scientific publications and 5 PhD theses.
Funding: 5th FP European Union, 1.8 million EURO.

Scientific publications

My most important Littorina publications

Panova M, Blakeslee AMH, Miller AW, Mäkinen T, Ruiz GM, Johannesson K, André C. 2011. Glacial history of the North Atlantic marine snail, Littorina saxatilis, inferred from distribution of mitochondrial DNA lineages. PLoS ONE 6(3): e17511. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0017511

Kemppainen P, Lindskog T, Butlin R, Johannesson K. 2011. Intron sequences of arginine kinase in an intertidal snail suggest an ecotype-specific selective sweep and a gene duplication. Heredity 106:808-816. doi:10.1038/hdy.2010.123

Johannesson K, Panova M, Kemppainen P, Rolán-Alvarez E, André C and Butlin RK 2010. Repeated evolution of reproductive isolation in a marine snail - unveiling mechanisms of speciation. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B (Biology) 365:1735-1747.

Sadedin S, Hollander J, Panova M, Johannesson K, Gavrilets S. 2009. Case studies and mathematical models of ecological speciation 3. Ecotype formation in a Swedish snail. Molecular Ecology 18:4006-4023.

Johannesson K, Havenhand JN, Jonsson PR, Lindegarth M, Sundin A, Hollander J. 2008. Male discrimination of female mucous trails permits assortative mating in a marine snail species. Evolution 62:3178-3184.

Panova M, Hollander J & Johannesson K. 2006. Site-specific genetic divergence in parallel hybrid zones suggests nonallopatric evolution of reproductive barriers. Molecular Ecology 15:4021-4031.

Rolán-Alvarez E, Johannesson K & Erlandsson J 1997 The maintenance of a cline in the marine snail Littorina saxatilis: the role of home site advantage and hybrid fitness. Evolution 51:1838-1847.

Johannesson K & Tatarenkov A 1997 Allozyme variation in a snail (Littorina saxatilis) - deconfounding the effects of microhabitat and gene flow. Evolution 51:402-409

Johannesson B & Johannesson K 1996 Population differences in behaviour and morphology in Littorina saxatilis: Phenotypic plasticity or genetic differentiation? J. Zool. 240:475-493

Johannesson K, Johannesson B & Lundgren U 1995 Strong natural selection causes microscale allozyme variation in a marine snail. Proc. Nat. Acad.Sci., USA 92:2602-2606

Johannesson K, Rolán-Alvarez E & Ekendahl A 1995 Incipient reproductive isolation between two sympatric morphs of the intertidal snail Littorina saxatilis. Evolution 49:1180-1190

Johannesson K, Johannesson B & Rolán-Alvarez E 1993 Morphological differentiation and genetic cohesiveness over a microenvironmental gradient in the marine snail Littorina saxatilis. Evolution 47:1770-1787.

Janson K 1983 Selection and migration in two distinct phenotypes of Littorina saxatilis in Sweden. Oecologia 59:58-61

My most important Fucus publications:

Johannesson K, Forslund H, Åstrand Capetillo N, Kautsky L, Johansson D, Pereyra RT, Råberg S. 2012. Phenotypic variation in sexually and asexually recruited individuals of the Baltic Sea endemic macroalga Fucus radicans: in the field and after growth in a common-garden. BMC Ecology 12:2

Johannesson K, Johansson D, Larsson KH, Huenchunir CJ, Perus J, Forslund AH, Kautsky L, Pereyra RT. 2011. Frequent clonality in fucoids (Fucus radicans and F. vesiculosus; Fucales Phaeophyceae) in the Baltic Sea. Journal of Phycology 47:990-998.

Pereyra R, Bergström L, Kautsky L, Johannesson K. 2009. Rapid speciation in a newly opened post-glacial marine environment, the Baltic Sea. BMC Evolutionary Biology. 9:70. This publication was denoted as “Highly accessed”.

Tatarenkov A, Jönsson RB, Kautsky L & Johannesson K 2007. Genetic structure in populations of Fucus vesiculosus (Phaeophyceae) over spatial scales from 10 m to 800 km. Journal of Phycology 43:675-685.

Tatarenkov A, Bergström L, Jönsson RB, Serrao EA, Kautsky L and Johannesson K 2005. Intriguing asexual life in marginal populations of the brown seaweed Fucus vesiculosus. Molecular Ecology 14:647-651

Bergström L, Tatarenkov A, Johannesson K, Jönsson RB & Kautsky L. 2005 Genetic and morphological identification of Fucus radicans sp nov. (Fucales, Phaeophycaea) in the brackish Baltic Sea. Journal of Phycology 41:1025-1038

Other important publications

Ng TPT, Saltin SH, Davies MS, Johannesson K, Stafford R, Williams GA. Snails and their trails: the multiple functions of trail following in gastropods. Biological Reviews (in press) doi: 10.1111/brv.12023

Luttikhuizen PC, Drent J, Peijnenburg KTCA, van der Veer HW, Johannesson K. 2012. Genetic architecture in a marine hybrid zone: comparing outlier detection and genomic clines analysis in the bivalve Macoma balthica. Molecular Ecology 21:3048-3061.

Johannesson K, Smolarz K, Grahn M, André C. 2011. The future of Baltic Sea populations - local extinction or evolutionary rescue? Ambio 40:179-190. doi: 10.1007/s13280-010-0129-x

Johannesson K & André C 2006. Life on the margin - genetic isolation and diversity loss in a peripheral marine ecosystem, the Baltic Sea. Molecular Ecology 15:2013-2029. This publication was chosen by the Faculty of 1000 Biology.

Johannesson K 2001 Parallel speciation: a key to sympatric divergence. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 16:148-153

Kautsky N, Johannesson K & Tedengren M 1990 Genotypic and phenotypic differences between Baltic and North Sea populations of Mytilus edulis evaluated through reciprocal transplantations. 1. Growth and morphology. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 59:203-210

Johannesson K 1989 The bare zone of Swedish rocky shores: why is it there? Oikos 54:77-86

Johannesson K 1988 The paradox of Rockall: why is a brooding gastropod (Littorina saxatilis) more widespread than one having a planktonic larval dispersal stage (L. littorea)? Mar. Biol. 99:507-513


Latest publications

The Baltic Sea as a time machine for the future coastal ocean
T. B. H. Reusch, J. Dierking, H. C. Andersson, E. Bonsdorff, J. Carstensen et al.
Science Advances, Journal article 2018
Journal article

Genome architecture enables local adaptation of Atlantic cod despite high connectivity
Julia M.I. Barth, Paul R. Berg, Per Jonsson, Sara Bonanomi, Hanna Corell et al.
Molecular Ecology, Journal article 2017
Journal article

Genetic diversity and evolution
Risto Väinölä, Kerstin Johannesson
Biological Oceanography of the Baltic Sea (eds: Pauline Snoeijs-Leijonmalm, Hendrik Schubert &Teresa Radziejewska), Dordrecht, Springer, Chapter in book 2017
Chapter in book

Showing 1 - 10 of 89


The Baltic Sea as a time machine for the future coastal ocean
T. B. H. Reusch, J. Dierking, H. C. Andersson, E. Bonsdorff, J. Carstensen et al.
Science Advances, Journal article 2018
Journal article


Genome architecture enables local adaptation of Atlantic cod despite high connectivity
Julia M.I. Barth, Paul R. Berg, Per Jonsson, Sara Bonanomi, Hanna Corell et al.
Molecular Ecology, Journal article 2017
Journal article

Genetic diversity and evolution
Risto Väinölä, Kerstin Johannesson
Biological Oceanography of the Baltic Sea (eds: Pauline Snoeijs-Leijonmalm, Hendrik Schubert &Teresa Radziejewska), Dordrecht, Springer, Chapter in book 2017
Chapter in book


Showing 1 - 10 of 89

Page Manager: Bo Johannesson|Last update: 7/1/2015

The University of Gothenburg uses cookies to provide you with the best possible user experience. By continuing on this website, you approve of our use of cookies.  What are cookies?