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Alexandra Kinnby
Kristie Rigby
Erik Selander
Emma Berdan
Gunnar Cervin

Description of our group

We are a bunch of people driven by our curiosity of if, how and why organisms communicate with chemical signals. We are also interested in how these bioactive signals works and if we can use them or mimic them for our own purposes, e.g. for new type of medicines, fuels and anti-fouling substances.

We are convinced that we can performe better and reach further working together - and it is fun, both for us and our students.

We work with all kinds of marine organisms, from bacteria, micro and macro algae and invertebrates.

Research topics 

  • Mechanisms and ecological significance of chemical defences and signals in marine organisms
  • Multitrophic interactions mediated by secondary metabolites
  • Abiotic factors and their effect on production of secondary metabolites
  • Hydrodynamics and the effect of flow on chemically mediated interactions
  • Chemical interactions within plankton communities

Our joint research profile is multidisciplinary, integrating ecology with chemistry, biohydrodynamics and molecular biology.

We come from four different universities contributing with different skills and angels (interests). Marine ecology, molecular biology and biohydrodynamics from University of Gothenburg, medical chemistry and pharmacognosy from University of Uppsala, industrial biotechnology from Chalmers University of Technology and natural product chemistry from Georgia Institute of Technology.

We are the following members

Alexandra KinnbyPortrait of Alexandra Kinnby

My research is based around future climate scenarios and how seaweeds, primarily bladder wrack, Fucus vesiculosus, will fair in environmental changes such as ocean acidification, freshening and warming. I am particularly focused on ecological interactions between algae and grazers, and the chemicals that may mediate these, and other, processes. Developing an understanding of how Fucus will react to future climate scenarios gives us insight into how these changes will affect marine species and ecosystems, and help us predict whether species and ecosystems will survive in a changing environment.

Link to personal web page.

Kristie Rigby

Kristie Rigby portraitMy project aims at exploring the chemical signalling between zooplankton and phytoplankton. More specifically the signals from marine copepods, which are known to produce a group of polar lipids known as copepodamides. Copepodamides are known to initiate defensive characteristics in various phytoplankton such as toxin production, altered swimming behaviour, increased bioluminescence and splitting of colonies. Using behavioural, ecological and biochemical perspectives I aim to understand the role of the copepodamides in nature to better understand the links between predator and prey.

Link to personal web page.

Erik Selander

Erik Selander portraitWe perform hypothesis driven research in pelagic chemical ecology. We isolate and identify signal molecules, explore how they are transmitted, what effect they have in the responding organisms and in the pelagic ecosystem. The group is multicisciplinary, chemists and biologists work together on the same research questions. Read more at Signals in the Sea.

Link to personal web page.

Emma Berdan

Emma Berdan portraitThe overarching goal of my research is to understand the evolution of large genomic structural variants (such as inversions, translocations, etc.) in nature. Inversions (a piece of chromosome that is flipped relative to its normal orientation) are large-scale structural mutations that may encompass millions of nucleotides but segregate together as a single unit due to repressed recombination. Inversions are unique as both the genetic content and the frequency of an inversion may vary over space and time. The fly Coelopa frigidaMy current research uses the seaweed fly Coelopa frigida which has multiple large segregating inversions. I am interested in the impact of chemical signals on the evolution of C. frigida and the chemical ecology of the unique wrackbed environment (i.e. piles of rotten seaweed on the shoreline) that they inhabit.

expertise: evolutionary genetics, cuticular hydrocarbons, sexual selection, adaptive genomics

Link to personal web page.

Gunnar Cervin

Portrait of Gunnar CervinPrincipal research engineer, backing up the different projects with analytical, field, boat and underwater skills. Have been working with interactions between macro algae and grazers, halogenated compounds from the red algae Bonnemaisonia, Copepodamines, Bioprospecting, and lately aquaculture of macro algae. Part of the Marine chemical ecology team at Tjärnö Marine Laboratory since 2003.

Link to personal web page.


Contact us

Gunilla Toth

Erik Selander

Page Manager: Erik Selander|Last update: 1/17/2020

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