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Per Jonsson


Per Jonsson
+46 31 786 9627

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 Per Jonsson

Professor at the Department of Marine Sciences.

I am based at the Tjärnö Marine Research Station situated 150 km north of Gothenburg and 130 km south of Oslo (see map).

My research interests include: biohydrodynamics, larval ecology, ecological & evolutionary effects of dispersal, chemical ecology, effects of biodiversity loss and design of Marine Protected Areas.

Research projects

What is a population? Linking dispersal to population divergence on seascape scale.
This project is part of the larger program “Centre for Marine Evolutionary Biology”, funded by the Swedish Research Council (VR) and the Swedish Research Council Formas (Formas), will contribute to a better understanding of dispersal as a factor generating population structure with implications for local adaptation and demographic independence. Populations are demographically and genetically connected in space by dispersal. This connectivity has far-reaching consequences for population dynamics, community structure and genetic diversity. Dispersal is a fundamental process that affects population divergence with implications for evolutionary potential and conservation and management. However, the link between dispersal and divergence in demographic trajectories as well as in genetic differentiation is not well understood. This interdisciplinary project aims toward a new framework for modelling connectivity and population divergence on the landscape/seascape scale. We will formulate models of connectivity, based ocean flow, combined with population genetic models. Predictions of population divergence will be tested against observed data on demographic independence and genetic structure. Specifically, we address the following research problems:
1. Do models of present-day dispersal barriers predict observed demographic independence?
2. Do models of of present-day dispersal barriers predict observed genetic differentiation
The project will contribute to a better understanding of dispersal as a factor generating and eroding intraspecific biodiversity. Moreover, results are expected to support new strategies of conservation and management through identification of conservation units leading to better design of protected areas.

Local adaptation driven by evolution of dispersal traits in marine larvae
Most marine invertebrate disperse during a planktonic larval stage that may last for many weeks while drifting with the ocean circulation. A challenge for larvae of coastal species is to stay close to the coastline or return at the time of recruitment. The traditional view is that the expected long-distance larval dispersal in the ocean leads to weak population differentiation and little opportunity for local adaptations. This is in contrast to recent findings of small-scale population structure and increasing reports of local adaptations. One explanation is that larval dispersal is more restricted than previously believed. Most larvae control may control their vertical position in the water column and can perhaps exploit depth-dependent variations in water transport to modify their net dispersal. Dispersal effects of larval behavior is almost unknown and we aim to study larvae of shore crabs (Carcinus maenas) and implications for dispersal and evolution of local adaptations. We will explore: 1. vertical behavior in rhythm with tidal and day/night cycles along an environmental gradient 2. effect of vertical behavior on predation risk 3. genetic differentiation along an environmental gradient. With information from 1-3 we will use biophysical modeling, which includes larval behavior and ocean transport, to test hypotheses about how evolution of specific larval behaviors enhancing recruitment also may provide opportunities for local adaptations through reduced gene flow with distant populations.

Integrating seascape ecology and ecosystem services of eelgrass meadows for marine spatial management
Ecosystem-based marine spatial management is presently promoted to halt the declining health of marine ecosystems and maintain their services. However, this approach is seriously impeded by lack of information on dispersal and connectivity between habitats, the value of the ecosystem services, and methods to integrate this information in management. Eelgrass (Zostera marina) meadows are key habitats in coastal ecosystems that provide a range of ecosystem goods and services. However, they are rapidly declining in Sweden and in other European countries and are in immediate need of management measures. With a multidisciplinary team this project, funded by the Swedish Research Council Formas, aims to develop a series of new spatial management tools for protection and restoration of Swedish eelgrass meadows, through 3 main tasks: 1. Assess connectivity between past and present eelgrass meadows using bio-physical models and population genetic methods and to assess genetic diversity with the aim to identify vulnerable and valuable eelgrass areas. 2. Identify key ecosystem goods and services provided by eelgrass ecosystems, and estimate area-specific economic values using model results of juvenile cod distribution and cost of nutrient reduction measures. 3. Develop a new model-approach that integrates the connectivity of eelgrass communities with area-specific values of the ecosystem services to identify the eelgrass beds that promote the largest and most resilient meta-communities, and the highest benefits to society.

Effects of egg and larval dispersal for evolution of locally adapted fjord populations of cod in Skagerrak/Kattegat
Local fjord stocks of cod in the Skagerrak/Kattegat area have declined dramatically since the 1970s. Occasionally there is a high recruitment of juveniles in Skagerrak/Kattegat, without leading to the rebuilding of adult cod stocks despite reduced fishing mortality. Within the EU-Interreg project MarGen, we use biophysical modelling of egg and larval drift coupled to population genetic/genomic analyses to investigate sources and sinks for cod larvae for both extant and historical spawning grounds. In addition, we look for genomic signatures of local adaptations, e.g. traits involved in migration patterns.

Larval dispersal and the design of marine reserve networks
Creation of marine reserves or marine protected areas (MPA) is an important instrument for mitigation of biodiversity loss and the management of natural resources, e.g. threatened fish stocks. However, at present the effects of propagule dispersal and population connectivity for optimal MPA design are largely neglected. This may seriously compromise the sustainable protection of environmental values and natural resources that is the goal of MPA networks. This project, funded by EU-BONUS BIO-C3 and EU-BONUS BAMBI, features a multidisciplinary team of scientist and managers, including oceanographers, biological modellers, larval ecologists, spatial planners, managers of biodiversity and fish resources will address the critical component of how marine areas are connected through dispersal. The goal is to deliver tools to include dispersal, self-seeding and connectivity into spatial planning and management and to facilitate the development of an efficient and sustainable network of marine reserves in the Baltic Sea-Kattegatt-Skagerrak area. This is achieved by a combination of oceanographic and biological modelling producing dispersal probabilities. Necessary data on vertical behaviour for some target species is also be incorporated. In dialog with managers of biodiversity and fish resources we will build user-friendly tools designed to assess connectivity in spatial planning of marine reserves.

3D-printed biomimetic microstructures for the control of marine biofouling
Marine biofouling is a global problem causing hydrodynamic drag and increased fuel consumption for ships, corrosion of metal surfaces and reduced function for submerged structures like marine energy production plants, desalination plants, cooling systems and aquaculture installations. The current use of toxic coatings to prevent biofouling is questioned and has motivated search for more sustainable antifouling technologies.
Many marine organisms are surprisingly free of biofouling although lacking chemical defence. Instead the surface microstructure has been suggested to have a deterioration effect on organism settling and adhesion. The common theme among these organisms is the surface structuring on a hierarchical length scale ranging from1-300 µm. The potential suite of surfaces to be mimicked or adapted has not been fully utilised, mainly due to limiting manufacturing techniques. The project, funded by the Swedish Research Council Formas, will construct physical models of complex bio-surfaces using 3D-scanning/3D-printing. The antifouling efficacy of such micro-structured surfaces will be investigated in both laboratory bioassays as well as field tests. The aim is to understand how physical defences are used by marine organisms. Physically based mechanisms may pave the way to reduce the present use of toxic antifouling technologies.

Functional variability and dynamics of responses of marine forests to global change
Marine forests of large brown algae (kelp and fucoids) are blue-green infrastructures that constitute one of the most productive and biodiversity-rich marine ecosystems of Europe and the world. They deliver ecosystem functions and services at multiple levels (e.g., food, chemical substances, climate regulation, biodiversity maintenance, tourism, science and education), underpinning important economic activities in most European coastal regions. Species that structure marine forests are currently suffering range shifts due to global change drivers that, based on genetic evidence and modelling of previous climate cycles, may leave behind isolated pockets with distinct adaptive traits and unique gene pools. Biogeographic boundaries present in the Northeast Atlantic and the low dispersal capacity of kelp and fucoid species are expected to undermine the connectivity between populations in these pockets, potentially curtailing functional trait evolution and adaptability, and ultimately compromising their long-term persistence.
The project MARFOR, funded through BiodivERsA and EU Horizon 2020, aims to test these hypotheses by understanding the geographical variation in biodiversity components that affect fitness and consequently the future trajectories and fate of these keystone ecosystems. This project aims to:
1) Understand the critical features (adaptive, eco-physiological, genetic biodiversity and connectivity) that support the functioning of blue-green infrastructures created by habitats of marine forests along the European coastlines.
2) Incorporate the knowledge of seascape biodiversity dynamics and critical features to model and forecast consequences of global change drivers under future scenarios and to propose sustainable management goals and measures.

Publications in Google Scholar

The Linnaeus Centre for Marine Evolutionary Biology



Latest publications

Åttitalets ålgräsängar - ett riktmärke i havet
Per-Olav Moksnes, Per R. Jonsson, Lars-Ove Loo
Havet 1988, Göteborg, Havsmiljöinstitutet, Report chapter 2017
Report chapter

Showing 1 - 10 of 88


Åttitalets ålgräsängar - ett riktmärke i havet
Per-Olav Moksnes, Per R. Jonsson, Lars-Ove Loo
Havet 1988, Göteborg, Havsmiljöinstitutet, Report chapter 2017
Report chapter


Showing 1 - 10 of 88

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

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