Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Gothenburg
Postal Address: Box 461, SE 405 30, Gothenburgrg, Sweden
Visiting Address: Carl Skottsbergs gata 22 B
Web page: http://www.bioenv.gu.se/english/
Web page for the MIRCEN (Microbial Resource Center)
in Mangalore: http://www.mircenbiotech.com/
The Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences is beautifully situated within the Botanical Gardens of Gothenburg. It is a merger between the former departments of Marine Ecology, Plant and Environmental Sciences and Zoology that took place on 1 January 2012. Anna Godhe used to belong to the Dept. of Marine Ecology.
The Ocean Acidification Infrastructure Facility – Kristineberg is part of the department. Read more below.
Research at the department connected to South Asia:
PhD candidate Gurpreet Kahlon and Dr. Anna Godhe at the department,
during a visit by SASNET deputy director Lars Eklund on 19th April 2013.
Since the mid-1990s, Dr. Anna Godhe and her colleagues at the former Dept. of Marine Ecology have been involved in a long-standing and fruitful research collaboration within the field of Marine Ecology with the Karnataka Animal Veterinary and Fisheries Science University, and especially the Department of Fishery Microbiology at its Fisheries College located in Mangalore on the Indian west coast. The research focuses on Toxic Algae, their Ecology, and about Methods to develop Identification and Detection of these Algae, along the south-west coast of India.
Several joint research projects have taken place, as well as other forms of collaboration. The main research partners on the Indian side is Professor
The Department of Fishery Microbiology has got international prominence, being recognized by UNESCO as a MIRCEN (Microbial Resource Center) in Marine Biotechnology. The mission of the Department is to impart education and carry out research in the area of Fishery Microbiology. There is an excellent combination of courses in both traditional microbiology and modern molecular biology.
In March 2013, SASNET deputy director Lars Eklund visited the Fisheries College in Mangalore, and met the Indian collaboration partners led by Prof. Indrani Karunasagar, as well as a number of Sweden based researchers, including Dr. Arvind Singh, Dr. Ashwin Rai, PhD candidate Gurpreet Kahlon, and PhD candidate Alin Kadfak (Kadfak based at the Division of Human Ecology at the School of Global studies, University of Gothenburg). They were all in Mangalore in order to take part in a major mesocosm experiment on the effect of climate-induced changes in hydrography on species of harmful algae and pathogenic bacteria in the Indian Ocean.
More information about Lars’ visit, see below.
In August 2010, Anna Godhe participated in the Second Nordic Conference on South Asian Studies for Young Scholars, organised by SASNET in Falsterbo. She led a thematic session on Nature, Health & Environment, besides holding a speech on ”Academic Career: Publishing, Teaching, Networking”. More information about the 2010 Falsterbo conference.
The project, first entitled ”
Abstract of project: Several microalgae produce toxins that can accumulate in shellfish, pose threat to human health, and cause economical loss. Many of the microalgae form resting stages that can survive in the sediment for decades. Resting stages are often referred to as seed banks for future blooms, but we still lack information on the influence of benthic life stages on phytoplankton dynamics.
Export of aquacultural products, mainly shrimps, is an important mean of earning foreign exchange in India. Lately the export of shrimps has declined due to several factors and government agencies are promoting oysters and clams as side crops. Despite a long coastline there are few scientist experienced in algal monitoring. This project encourages phycological research in India. The specific aim of the study is to investigate the significance of the resting stages and how important they are for the onset of harmful algal blooms along the south-west coast of India. We will use both microscopic and molecular techniques to determine the source of phytoplankton blooms. In mesocosms, we will study the influence of resting stage addition to phytoplankton community development. Molecular methods will include primers targeting microsatellite loci in a bloom forming phytoplankton species. We will obtain genetic fingerprints of the benthic and planktonic populations sampled in field. Results will contribute much needed information on the benthic-pelagic coupling and the factors controlling phytoplankton blooms.
Members of the project team in Mangalore some years ago, from left to right PhD candidate Karolina Härnström, Dr. Anna Godhe, Prof. Indrani Karunasagar, PhD candidate V. Saravanan and MFS student Åsa Lindskog from Göteborg University.
In November 2006, Dr. Godhe received SEK 2.3 m as a three-years grant (2007-09) from Sida's Developing Country Research Council (U-landsforskningsrådet) and SEK 602 000 from the Swedish Research Links programme for the project, now entitled ”Inter-relation between bacteria and phytoplankton blooms along the south-west coast of India – applying advanced molecular techniques”. it dealt with species within the bacterial genus Vibrio, being autochthonous in estuarine and seawater environments. The genus contains a great diversity of pathogenic species, including V. cholerae. In India 25% of all diarrhoeal diseases can be attributed to vibrio infections. Phytoplankton are vital for the marine ecosystem. When the environmental settings are suitable, algal blooms develop to high densities. About ten percent of all algal species are harmful, and there are solid evidences of a global increase.
This project was also funded with SEK 942 000 as a Joint Formas – Sida/SAREC grant for research on sustainable development in developing countries, for the period 2007–09. More information about the South Asia related Formas–Sida/SAREC grants awarded in June 2007, with a project description in Swedish.
In December 2009, Anna Godhe received SEK 750 000 as a three-year International Collaborative Research Grant from the Swedish Research Links programme (funded by Sida and the Swedish Research Council) for the Indian Ocean project, now entitled ”
The main collaboration partner was now Dr. M N Venugopal at the the Karnataka Veterinary, Animal & Fisheries Sciences University.
The same year, Anna Godhe was granted funding for one more project that takes place in the period 2010–2012 entitled ”
The project aimed to understand how climate-induced changes in sea surface temperature (SST), salinity, pH, and sources of macronutrients may affect the phytoplankton community structure, and to identify environmental drivers of harmful algal bloom (HAB) species. Such knowledge will enable us to foresee effects in the marine food web affecting e.g. fisheries, and assess the risks HABs pose to human health under present and future environmental conditions.
The project was implemented in collaboration between several Swedish and Indian institutions. From the Swedish side: Dr Ann-Sofi Rehnstam-Holm from Kristianstad University, and Betty Kronkvist, Sahlgrenska Akademy, University of Gothenburg; as well as Dr Lars Edler (SMHI) working on Taxonomy, identifying species of algae.
From the Indian side. Dr Iddya Karunasagar, Dr Indrani Karunasagar, Dr Ashwin Rai, Dr HRV Reddy, Dr MN Venugopal and Chetan Reddy from the Karnataka Veterinary Animal and Fisheries Sciences University in India, as well as Dr R Ramesh, and Dr. Arvind Singh from the Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad, India. Funding agencies were again Swedish Research Links and SIDA-Formas.
PhD Candidate Gurpreet Kahlon holds a position that came to be as part of an initiative by University of Gothenburg in 2011 to establish a Graduate School in Marine Environmental Research (more information). Funds were provided for two PhD projects within an India related project on ”The Effects of Climate Induced Changes in the Arabian Sea on Marine and Coastal Socio-Eological Systems in India”, jointly run by researchers at the University of Gothenburg divisions of Human Ecology and Marine Ecology. Gurpreet Kahlon is one of the two selected PhD candidates, Alin Kadfak at Human Ecology, School of Global Studies, is the second.
Her research focuses on climate changes in the pelagial (bacteria and algae) in the Arabian Sea.
Dr. Karolina Härnström was as a PhD candidate a member in the project. After completing a Masters degree in Biology at the University of Kristianstad, she defended her doctoral dissertation thesis, entitled ”Bloom dynamics and population genetics of marine phytoplankton – Community, species and population aspects” at University of Gothenburg on 25 September 2009. The faculty opponent was Dr. Tatiana Rynearson, University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography, Coastal Institute, Narragansett, Rhode Island, USA.
Her main supervisor was Anna Godhe and her assistant supervisor Associate Professor Ann-Sofi Rehnstam-Holm at the Dept. of Mathmatics and Natural Sciences, University of Kristianstad. In India, Karolina Härnström was supervised by Professor Karunasagar and Dr Karunasagar.
Abstract: The general aim of this thesis was to study marine phytoplankton dynamics at community, species and population level. Karolina has focused on the interaction between water mass and sediment, both in temperate waters and in a tropical area (Mangalore, India) investigating the importance of resting stages and small-scale hydrographical changes for the phytoplankton community structure as well as population genetics and microevolutional processes of population dynamics. The results from coastal south-west India show that benthic resting stages contribute to blooms by resuspension, germination, and proliferation as planktonic cells in the water column, and thus, the cells can influence the phytoplankton community in the water column. There can be an alternation of the species composition if a plankton community is seeded by resting stages or by planktonic cells, and geographically the strategies of seeding can differ within the same species. More information.
During the academic year 2011/12, Dr. Arvindh Singh from the Physical Research Laboratory in Ahmedabad, India, worked at the department. He came to Sweden on a post-doc scholarship granted by the Swedish Institute (SI). He has been actively involved in multidisciplinary research in oceanography for the last five years. After obtaining his masters in Physics, he gained experience in using stable isotopes to understand the oceanic processes during his Ph.D. Subsequently, he has participated in a ten month program in multidisciplinary observational oceanography at Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS), Bermuda.
Dr. Singh has now moved to a post-doctoral fellowship from the German cluster of excellence ”Future Ocean” in Kiel. In order to avail the fellowship, he is working at GEOMAR, Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research for three years till 2016. His project at GEOMAR aims to understand N2 fixation in the ocean for present and future climatic conditions. I'll be doing isotopic enrichment incubation experiments in the Atlantic Ocean to understand present day N2 fixation. Further, to understand marine nitrogen cycle in the future climate change scenario, he will do experiments by manipulating the environmental parameters as predicted by IPCC. This will be obtained in mesocosm experimentation at scales which cover the relevant ecosystem and biogeochemical processes. He uses stable isotope tracers to estimate nitrogen fixation rates. His field area is the North Atlantic Ocean and the Arabian Sea. He is also trying to learn nitrogen fixation dynamics in the future climate change scenario by experimentally simulating the environmental parameters in KOSMOS (Kiel Off-Shore Mesocosms for Ocean Simulations) in some parts of the world ocean. I've received a postdoctoral fellowship
PhD candidate Maria Asplund also joined the project from from 2007. Maria holds a Masters degree in Marine Biology at the University of Göteborg. Her main supervisor is Anna Godhe and her assistant supervisor is Associate Professor Ann-Sofi Rehnstam-Holm. In India Maria Asplund is supervised by Professor Karunasagar and Dr Karunasagar.
Multidisciplinary research centre at University of Gothenburg
The Mangalore project was further strengthened during 2012, since the Gothenburg Centre for Marine Research, a multidisciplinary research centre at University of Gothenburg established in 2011, has granted funds for providing two PhD projects within the India project. The project is run through the Centre for Environment and Sustainability (GMV), jointly run by Chalmers University of Technology and University of Gothenburg.
One of the PhD candidates, Gurpreet Kahlon (presented above), is now supervised by Anna Godhe and deal with climate changes in the pelagial (bacteria and algae) in the Arabian Sea.
The second PhD candidate, Alin Kadfak, supervised by Dr. Per Knutsson, School of Global Studies, and focus on societal changes taking place along the Indian west coast due to effects of the blooming of toxic algae and bacteria in the sea.
In November 2012 Dr. Godhe together with collaboration partner Darshanee Ruwandeepika, Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka, received a Swedish Research Links (Asian–Swedish research partnership programme) grant on SEK 750 000 for the project "Climate induced changes in the pelagic microbial communities: assessing the response of harmful algae and pathogenic bacteria in coastal water of Sri Lanka".
See the full list of South Asia related projects given Swedish Research Links grants 2012.
Abstract: The project aims to understand how climate-induced changes in hydrography will affect species of harmful algae, pathogenic bacteria and the inter-relation between those. This will be done by initially isolating relevant species from Sri Lankan coastal water. Thereafter we will conduct manipulated experiments in Sri Lanka in which we look at the fitness of the selected species under ambient and future oceanographic settings. In Sweden we will conduct yet another manipulated experiment where we will study the expression of functional genes of the same species under increased and ambient temperature, decreased and ambient salinity, and increased and ambient pCO2. The two PIs will jointly be responsible for all the scientific experiments. The rational for using our sets of variable for the manipulated experiments are based on IPCC climate projections, and on our own analyses of long-term hydrographic monitoring data set from the region. Our intention is to build a strong collaboration between Sweden and Sri Lanka, to generate good and relevant scientific results and to publish our findings in high ranked international scientific journals. Our results will contribute to sustainable development in tropical countries dependent on export of marine products. We will promote focused microbial monitoring of coastal water, which will ensure safe bivalves-an environmental friendly protein source.
On Monday 11 March, Lars visited the College of Fisheries in Mangalore. He was hosted by Professor Indrani Karunasagar, who informed about the university’s international collaboration that also include a major vaccine platform project with a number of Norwegian institutions, among them Tromsö University, and involving eight Indian research institutions. Mangalore is also member of the Erasmus Mundus Action 2 mobility programme coordinated by University of Ghent, Belgium.
Professor Karunasagar also informed about other international collaboration programmes, for example with American universities on the issue of fish poisoning, and harmful algae blooms. In 2008, an international workshop was organised, it was entiteled ”Taxonomy and Ecology of Harmful Algae & Study of Biotoxins”.
|Professor Indrani Karunasagar|
Another collaboration involving both Mangalore and Swedish researchers is a project together with Dr. Darshanee Ruwandeepika, Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka. See above.
Two Mangalore researchers were at the time based in Gothenburg, Dr. Arvind Singh (later moved to a post-doc position in Kiel, Germany), and PhD candidate Gurpreet Kahlon, and happily enough they were both in Mangalore at the time of Lars’ visit, since they had come to India for a major mesocosm experiment on the effect of climate-induced changes in hydrography on species of harmful algae and pathogenic bacteria in the Indian Ocean. The experiment should start on March 18th, and the project leader Dr. Anna Godhe was supposed to arrive from Gothenburg a few days later.
This mesocosm experiment focuses on the dynamics of Trichodesmium in the Arabian Sea in the climate change scenario. Trichodesmium is a cyanobacterial diazotroph which is an important Nitrogen fixer and their bloom occurs regularly in the Arabian Sea during spring intermonsoon.
Nitrogen is limiting nutrient for primary production in the surface ocean and most part of the reactive nitrogen is received in ocean by Trichodesmium. Climate change scenario as predicted by IPCC has potential to impact the marine nitrogen fixation. Therefore it is important to address the questions related to impact of climate change parameters (such as rise in temperature, decline in salinity and pH) on nitrogen fixation.
Arvind and Gurpreet informed about the project, and so did Dr. Ashwin Rai – who also demonstrated an aquarium fish farm that he runs outside Mangalore (photo to the left).
Lars also got a chance to meet two final year Biology students from Kristianstad University, Patrick Callan and Victor Englund, who arrived on the same day, funded by Minor Field Studies (MFS) scholarships to take part in the mesocosm experiment, staying for six weeks.
|Gurpreet Kahlon, Arvind Singh and Naveen showed around the well-kept laboratories at the Fisheries College.|
International workshop on “Safety of Shellfish from Harmful Algae and Biotoxins”
Anna Godhe, Ann-Sofi Rehnstam-Holm and their research students were involved in organising an International workshop on “Safety of Shellfish from Harmful Algae and Biotoxins” that was held at the UNESCO Microbial Resources Center (MIRCEN), Department of Fishery Microbiology, College of Fisheries, Mangalore, India, 21–25 January 2008. It focused on the problem with harmful algal blooms and shellfish toxicities – a global problem affecting safety of shellfish and international trade. It is estimated that about 2000 cases of shellfish toxicities occur annually with 15% mortality. Dr. Indrani Karunasagar was the Workshop Coordinator. The workshop was jointly sponsored by FAO, the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida) and UNESCO MIRCEN. More information about the Mangalore workshop.
Dr. Sam Dupont is a Senior post doctoral fellow at the Dept. of Biological and Environmental Sciences, and coordinator of the Ocean Acidification Infrastructure Facility – Kristineberg. Personal web page.
He is a marine and evolutionary biologist, involved in ongoing informal research collaboration with Dr. Mohammed Idris at CCMB in Mangalore. Together, they are working on an integrative study of nervous regeneration in Deuterostomes with two main goals:
1/ Identify common pathways involved in nervous regeneration in phylogenetically closely-related species with very different regeneration strategies, at three levels of regulation: transcriptomic, proteomic and epigenetic.
2/ Conduct a comprehensive integrative analysis to clarify and conciliate the different levels of regulation: transcriptome, proteome and epigenome.
Dr Dupont is also developing a new partnership with colleagues in Hong Kong, especially Assistant Professor V. Thiyagarajan (Rajan) at the Swire Institute of Marine Science and School of Biological Sciences, University of Hong Kong. They discuss how they can work together on a project aiming at integrate a proteomic approach in the study of the impact of ocean acidification on marine species and ecosystems.