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Main research areas

Research at BioEnv can be divided into four main research areas: Evolutionary ecology & conservation biology, Physiology & cell biology, Systematics & biodeversity and Environmental science. It covers terrestrial, limnic and marine environments, and the projects include many different organisms from both the plant- and animal kingdom. Although focus differ between the main research areas, there are some overlap and many questions require close collaborations.

Evolutionary ecology & conservation biology

Research within this area include on the one hand questions regarding selection and evolution, and on the other more applied questions within conservation biology. The evolutionary aspects include studies of behaviour, life history traits, personality and colour communication.

Within the field of conservation biology, studies are conducted on threatened and vulnerable populations of fish, reptiles, birds, invertebrates and various plants. To understand how small populations function and are threatened, individuals are followed over time. Other projects focus on how species and habitats respond to management. We do also study longterm effects of climate change, human activities and exploitation of ecosystems.

Physiology & cell biology

Research within this area can be divided into two main lines - plants and animals. When it comes to plants, focus is on cellular and molecular level, dealing with fundamental aspects about growth, steess responses and production of secondary metabolites. Topics being pursued include elucidating the role of chaperones and proteases in higher plants and cyanobacteria, regulatory mechanisms in plant photosynthetic membranes, protein trafficking system and plant pathogen responses.

The research in animal physiology addresses fundamental and applied questions in areas of development, growth and metabolism, cardiovascular and gastrointestinal physiology, endocrinology and aquatic toxicology. We use integrative approaches from the molecular and cellular levels to the organismal, often with an ecophysiological angle, taking into account changes in temperature, pH, food availability or pollutions in the surrounding environment. Focus is on fish and marine invertebrates, using different model organisms - both wild and farmed - depending on the question. An important part of our research deals with question related to sustainable aquaculture.

Systematics & biodiversity

Silene

Biological systematics is the study of diversity in living and fossil organisms. The theory of evolution, which unifies modern biology, emerged from systematics. An important aim of systematics is to analyze and synthesize information derived from global biodiversity studies into a predictive classification system that reflects the history of life.

At the department, we study diverse eukaryotic organisms such as birds, clitellate worms, flowering plants, basidiomycete fungi, and many other groups. Research questions span from why diversity patterns vary among the world’s biota to detailed studies of the evolutionary relationships among closely related species to gene family evolution. New tools for metagenomics and phylogenetics are being developed by researchers in the group to aid species identification, delimitation, and automatic generation of phylogenetic trees from public databases.

We have strong local infrastructures available for the generation of genome-wide DNA sequence data, bioinformatics, as well as a herbarium storing millions of plants and fungi collected globally. We also cooperate with the Botanical Garden in Gothenburg and Gothenburg Museum of Natural History.

Environmental sciences

FlakalidenEnvironmental sciences combine many of the research areas presented above. Focus is on how plants and animals interact with and are affected by each other and the surrounding environment. This includes environmental monitoring, spanning over decades, as well as projects studying effects of environmental changes on physiological and molecular levels.

One focus area is ecotoxicology ranging from metagenomics, microbial and fish ecotoxicology, interactions in algal communities to aquatic biomonitoring. Another focus area deals with the impact of climate change and increased ozone levels on plants, and on the exchange of carbon dioxide and water between vegetation, soil and atmosphere in terrestrial environments.

Page Manager: Sven Toresson|Last update: 11/26/2019
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