My research portfolio is centered on the interactions of anthropogenic stressors and benthic habitats from shallow tropical coral reef ecosystems to deep sea arctic ecosystems. Two central themes in my research are 1) How filter feeding organisms respond to elevated sediment stress and what this means for their ecosystem function; 2) How climate change and ocean acidification impacts deep-water filter feeders; and 3) How large scale finfish aquaculture can be sustainable for coastal and Arctic/boreal fjord benthic ecosystems.
Deep sea sponge research:
This research theme focuses on developing new critical information on deep sea sponges. My research on deep sea sponges centers around the following topics:
- The basic biology, physiology and ecology of deep sea sponges.
- The effects of industry driven suspended sediments (oil drilling muds, bottom trawling, mine tailings) on the ecosystem functioning of deep sea sponges.
- Climate interactions with deep sea sponges
- Disease and mortality in deep sea sponges
- Monitoring sponge habitats
The above research topics are supported by three externally financed research projects (Response - 203894 and SedExSponge - 225283) through the Norwegian Research Council focusing on the interactions of suspended sediments from oil drilling activities on deep water sponges. In addition, my research on climate interactions, disease of sponges and the monitoring of sponge habitats are funded directly through the research council of Norway (Fate - ) and the marine processes research program (ClimaSponge - 14515) at the Institute of Marine Research. These above topics are further supported through both national (University of Bergen, SINTEF Fisheries and Aquaculture and NINA,) and international collaborations (University of Alberta, Canada; University of New South Wales, Australia; Australian Institute of Marine Science, Australia, Southern Cross University, Australia; Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, The Netherlands).
Aquaculture environment interactions:
This research theme focuses on increasing our knowledge on the interactions of organic and inorganic nutrients released from fin fish aquaclture on the stucture and functioning of benthic ecosystems and biota. The research topics that I am actively involved with include:
- Modelling the dispersal of effluents from salmon farms
- Organic enrichment of fjord and coastal benthic habitats
- Developing new methodologies for monitoring hard and mixed bottom habitats
- The effects of organic enrichment on cold water corals and deep sea sponges
- Developing sustainability tools for optimal selection new fish farming localities
- Establishing new tracing technologies to map the spread of aquaculture effluents into the environment and biota
- Intergrated multitrophic aquaculture (IMTA)
- The importance of fallowing to enhance sustainability
- Risk assessment of Norwegian aquaculture
These above research topics are funded through a large research platform "ERA" (Project # 228871) and SUSTAINAQUA (Project # 267829) funded through the Norwegian Research Counci focusing on the environmental responses of aquaculture in coatsal and Arctic/boreal ecosystems. Our research on IMTA is also funded through the Norwegian Research Council (Exploit: project # 216201). Furthermore, The research topics are also funded internally through the "Aquaculture research program" at the Institute of Marine Research (14300 and ). These research topics are also supported through both National (University of Bergen; NGU; Akvaplan NIVA) and international collaborations (University of Melbourne, Australia; University of Southern Denmark; Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Canada; Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, CMRS France; Fiskaaling - Aquaculture Research Station, Faroe Islands; and Cawthrown Institute, New Zealand).