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Research projects

There are a number of research projects that are being carried out in association with the GGBC. Below are short descriptions of some of these ongoing projects at our partner institutions.

Research project examples from our collaborators at the Gothenburg Botanical Garden

Jenny Klingberg works on a research project entitled “the value of ecosystem services of the city’s green spaces.” It highlights the value of the city’s green spaces and the services they provide, as well as the geographic distribution of green spaces in Gothenburg. The project aims to develop knowledge and methods that allow for the identification and overall assessment of the urban green space ecosystem services and to promote sustainable urban development.

Henrik Sjöman has several ongoing research projects that deal with how and why different tree species are so successful in certain environments in the city, and how the species contribute to different ecosystem services. This knowledge can then be used to select the best tree species to be grown in city landscapes.

Eva Sahlin has conducted researched into the importance of green space for the rehabilitation of stress-related mental health problems, in connection with the Green Rehab Project (Gröna Rehabs verksamhet). She has also studied the effectiveness of the Green Rehab Project’s preventive stress management courses.

Eva Sahlin completed her PhD in 2014 at the Swedish Agricultural University (SLU) in Alnarp, Sweden and with links to the Institute of Stress Medicine in Gothenburg. Her thesis was entitled "To Stress the Importance of Nature: Nature-Based Therapy for the Rehabilitation and Prevention of Stress-Related Disorders."

Research project examples from our collaborators at Chalmers University of Technology

At the Department of Environmental Systems Analysis, Emke Vrasdonk and Ulrika Palme study how biodiversity can be integrated into environmental systems analysis studies. Within the field of environmental systems analysis, there is a long tradition of using relatively easily measurable parameters to assess the impact of various human activities on the environment. In light of this, predictions in areas of environmental impact—such as climate change, acidification and eutrophication—can be expressed with relatively high certainty. However, biodiversity is more difficult to measure, and does not fall within these categories. As such, a novel research project in the area was proposed.

The project "Bio-LCA," which is financed by the Swedish Research Council Formas, deals with how we can better integrate biodiversity into “life cycle analysis,” a method for evaluating products and processes in the environment.

'The project is conducted in collaboration with researchers at the Department of Physical Resource Theory at Chalmers University of Technology, Department of Life Sciences at the University of Skövde, the Center for Biodiversity at SLU in Uppsala and the Department of Biology and Environmental Science at the University of Gothenburg.

Research project examples from our collaborators at the Antonelli Lab

The Rise and Fall of Species

How long does a species exist? Despite substantial advances in evolutionary biology in the last decade, the answer to this apparently simple question remains largely unknown. In this project we are

1) analysing molecular sequences and fossil records to estimate how long species have lasted in the past;

2) identifying which major factors determine rates of species formation (speciation) and disappearance (extinction); and thereby

3) identifying which major taxa and geographical regions have been most affected by climatic changes in the past. This project is funded by the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation (Wallenberg Academy Fellowship).

The Past, Present and Future of Neotropical Biodiversity

The American tropics – the Neotropics – comprise more species than any other region on Earth, including thousands of species used for crops, medicines and crafts. Understanding the evolution of this biodiversity and predicting the effects of climate and habitat changes on species losses constitute a major scientific challenge. In this project we are:

1) Estimating the rates of historical migration, speciation and extinction among and within all major Neotropical biomes and regions;

2) Testing competing hypotheses of speciation for the two main centres of Neotropical biodiversity: the tropical Andes and Amazonia.

To achieve these goals we are developing novel bioinformatic pipelines that may greatly improve our use of biological databases. We are analysing DNA sequences, species occurrences and biotic traits for tens of thousands of plant and animal species. This project is funded by the European Research Council and the Swedish Research Council.

BioNote - A Free and Open Platform for Collaborative Species Identification

The BioNote project connects citizens and scientists to identify the world’s species. Any species, anywhere. Just by sharing a photo of any species, you can get an identification quickly and reliably. You can easily log and share the species you see, ask for help identifying the species in your photos or help others.

Sign up for early access to BioNote apps and become a beta tester. This project is funded by the European Research Council, Climate-KIC, University of Gothenburg and Chalmers University of Technology.

The Quest for Cinchona – a Phylogenetic Tale

The objective of this project is to use an iconic historical case to establish the predictive power of phylogenies as a new approach to infer the evolution of biochemical pathways or to select candidate organisms for drug discovery and traditional use. We will focus on Cinchona and relatives, which have been used to prevent and treat Malaria for hundreds of years.

This project is led by Prof. Nina Rønsted (Natural History Museum of Denmark) and funded by the Carlsberg Foundation and the Villum Foundation.

Research project examples from our collaborators at the Maritime Museum & Aquarium

Arne Nygren research focuses on cryptic polychaete species in Norwegian waters. Cryptic species are because of their commonality of paramount importance if we want to correctly assess species diversity, understand biogeographic patterns, or keep track of natural or man-made induced changes in the marine environment.

Polychaetes is one of the most dominant taxa in marine communities, and in Norwegian waters more than 700 morphological species are known. I have in my previous research investigated about 25 of these using a combination of mitochondrial, nuclear and morphological data. The results are surprising. On a North-Atlantic scale about 70% of the species diversity is neglected if only morphology is used in species identification. The present project aims to assess the cryptic polychaete biodiversity among the 100 most commonly encountered morphological species in Norwegian waters. It is estimated that cryptic taxa will be found in about 1/3 of them, and these complexes will be investigated in further detail using a combination of mitochondrial and nuclear markers to make adequate species delineations. A thorough morphological investigation of the molecularly revealed cryptic species will be initiated to search for possible morphological markers that may be used in standard identification in connection to assessments of biodiversity. The proposed research will undoubtedly lead to the discovery, and ultimately formal descriptions, of many new species to science, and will greatly contribute to increase our knowledge of polychaetes in Norwegian waters.

Björn Källström works on tropical stony corals with the aim to build a distributed living gene bank of corals in public aquariums and hobby aquarists. In controlled experiments corals are exposed to a combination of increased water temperatures and decreased pH levels to investigate how corals are influenced by climate change and ocean acidification. Different husbandry techniques are also investigated and developed to increase the efficiency of coral growth in aquariums. DNA techniques are used to identify species and clonal lineages of corals in aquariums and from this a distributed living gene bank will be created by connecting corals in public aquariums and hobby aquarists. The gene bank will be used by researchers and in conservation projects aiming to restore damaged coral reefs.

Page Manager: Erika Hoff|Last update: 4/12/2017

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