About this person

My research is placed at the transition between molecular, developmental and plankton biology. A large emphasis is to develop molecular tools to understand life history strategies and trophic interactions within an ecosystem.

A key dynamic element of ecological systems is embedded in the behavioral decisions made by the inhabitants. Predators shape the community within an ecosystem by regulating prey abundance and distribution. Investigating predator grazing activity within an ecosystem is therefore of great importance to understand its structure and function. The optimal foraging theory states that diet preferences are made based on maximizing energy intake per unit time, and provides a framework for understanding feeding mechanisms in an ecosystem. Still, a significant challenge in ecosystem models is the use of rather arbitrary feeding and diet preferences. This is because key predators feeding in complex natural food webs is incompletely understood and often poorly quantified, largely due to lack of appropriate methods to study diet choices in situ.

Advances in molecular ecology, including the application of next generation sequencing (NGS), PCR and qPCR based technologies, now enable high-resolution detection and quantification of prey organisms inside predator guts. These technologies also allow high throughput monitoring of ecosystem changes, and have promising applications in environmental monitoring.

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