Our research aims to identify the physiological bottlenecks in the life cycles of pelagic key species to investigate their performance and acclimation capacity with regards to (anthropogenic) environmental change and to understand the role of these species in biogeochemical cycles. We focus on the performance of physiological and genetic traits in relation to seasonal adaptation and key environmental factors such as temperature, food quantity and quality, sea ice and photoperiod.
Some of the key species we work with in the Southern Ocean are krill, specifically Antarctic krill, Euphausia superba and the gelatinous pelagic tunicate Salpa thompsoni. In the Arctic Ocean, we work with the krill species Thysanoessa inermis, as well as various copepod species which occupy key positions in the food web, such as Calanus finmarchicus.
Our approach combines the use of sampling devices, experimental designs, and analytical tools on various scales. We use surveys and specimens collected on expeditions with different research vessels, and various collaborators, to determine the population dynamics, disposition and physiological performance of organisms under ambient environmental conditions. We also use various experimental designs, both at sea and on land, to determine the adaptability of these species under a range of environmental conditions. In the laboratory we primarily use biochemical and molecular analyses to determine the physiological performance as well as potential adaptability of these species. We then integrate the generated data into model approaches which enable us to predict population dynamics in relation to future environmental scenarios and the subsequent consequences for the ecosystem.