Seasonal Ecology

Seasonality is a central template in nature and an important selective forceHigh-latitude ecosystems are unique laboratories for seasonal ecology. We have taken this opportunity and do much of our work in the Arctic - throughout the annual cycle. We run both theoretical and empirical studies, aiming to understand how seasonality shapes ecological processes and evolutionary adaptations.

Flower power: 
Papaver dahlianum.

Our field is evolutionary ecology, with particular attention to how seasonality shapes ecological processes and evolutionary adaptations.

Central topics in the group:
  • Life history theory
  • Phenology
  • Population biology
  • Predator-prey interactions
  • Foraging ecology
  • Ecosystem connections
  • Ecological modelling

Some current projects
- Numerical competence and student-active research (Thon stiftelsen)
- The Nansen Legacy. Sub-task leader and main supervisor.
- SEATIME: Timing of reproduction in seabirds: large-scale comparisons, and links to population dynamics, climate and lower trophic levels (Fram Centre) 
- Community dynamics in a rapidly warming high Arctic: trophic synchrony in time and
Space (INSYNC), with CBD as lead. (Research COuncil of Norway)
- Stochastic fluctuations and the evolution of zooplankton life histories in high latitude marine ecosystems (Polish National Science Centre)

Zooplankton sampling all year round.

Øystein Varpe
Group leader
Evolutionary ecology and population biology 

Maciej Ejsmond
Visiting researcher
Life history theory

Zofia Burr
Seabird phenology

Anna Ejsmond
PhD student
Evolutionary ecology and phenology

Tom Langbehn
PhD student
Foraging interactions

Ella Weissenberg
M.S. student
Spatial zooplankton ecology

Eirik Aasmo Finne
M.S. student
Seabird driven nutrient fluxes

Christian Stolz
M.S. student
Chick provisioning in snow buntings

Emelie Skogsberg
M.S. student
Seasonal ecotoxicology of amphipods 

Reindeer winter grazing
Safe but hungry - winter grazing by the Svalbard reindeer.

Three recent publications:

Scherrer et al. 2018. Mechanistic model identifies increasing light availability due to sea ice reductions as cause for increasing macroalgae cover in the Arctic. Limnology & Oceanography abstract and full text

Ejsmond et al. 2018. Gradients of season length and mortality risk cause shifts in body size, reserves and reproductive strategies of determinate growers. Functional Ecology abstract and full text

Varpe & Ejsmond 2018. Semelparity and iteroparity. The Natural History of Crustacea. 5. 97-124. Oxford University Press. preview

      and some "classics":

Varpe Ø, Daase M, Kristiansen T. 2015. A fish-eye view on the new Arctic lightscape. ICES Journal of Marine Science 72: 2532-2538 abstract pdf

Ji R, Jin M, Varpe Ø. 2013. Sea ice phenology and timing of primary production pulses in the Arctic Ocean. Global Change Biology  19: 734-741 abstract  pdf

Varpe Ø. 2012. Fitness and phenology: annual routines and zooplankton adaptations to seasonal cycles. Journal of Plankton Research 34: 267-276  full text

Varpe Ø. et al. 2007. Early is better: seasonal egg fitness and timing of reproduction in a zooplankton life-history model. Oikos 116: 1331-1342  pdf