Catching up with MPEA

What has our research group been up to?

It’s autumn semester here at LNU and as we wave goodbye to summer’s heat wave and look towards the falling leaves, let’s look at the changes that swirl around us in Marine Phytoplankton Ecology and Applications.

This past summer was full steam ahead for MPEA, as we taught a group of bright students about multi-faceted challenges of sustainable development in Discovery of a Sustainable Baltic Sea. In the course, students receive a week-by-week introduction to the various realms of sustainability in the Baltic Sea, including marine environmental, political, societal, maritime, and industrial. For the third year in a row we welcomed back our Clemson University professors Dr. Lori Dickes and Dr. Jeffrey Allen, who enhance our learning of the social, anthropological and political aspects of sustainability. We had participation from nearly all the members of MPEA, it was a true collaborative effort!


We continued our work with the Norra Dragsviken residential association SVOIF, in which LUSA students, together with our researchers, sampled the water, sediment and biota of Norra Dragsviken north and south bays to determine water quality. These results will be compared with last year’s, and our plan is for continued yearly collaboration with the Norra Dragsviken community. Read more about our collaboration with the residents of Norra Dragsviken and the research that’s being carried here!

Also joining us from Clemson was LUSA-alumna Holly Gillespie. Throughout the summer, Holly conducted interviews for her current research project comparing attitudes towards sustainability in a South Carolina community and the residential community in Norra Dragsviken, here in Kalmar county.

Also this summer we welcomed two new MPEA members, Handy Masry and Soran Mahmoudi, who will be helping us in the field and in the lab. Soran and Handy are instrumental to the team, and their efforts have already helped us immensely during The Great Move. Welcome, Soran and Handy!


We’re happy to congratulate our group members and group alumni on their hard work, publishing this summer in Limnology and Oceanography, ISME J, and Frontiers. Well done, Emil (first author), Elin, Samuel, Catherine, Hanna (first author), and Christopher, Mireia, Jarone and Catherine (Christopher and Mireia as co-first authors)!

If you would like to read their articles, please see below:

Fridolfsson, E., Lindehoff, E., Legrand, C., Hylander, S., Thiamin (vitamin B1) content in phytoplankton and zooplankton in the presence of filamentous cyanobacteria. 2018 Limnology and Oceanography, ISSN 0024-3590, E-ISSN 1939-5590

Farnelid, H., Turk-Kubo, K., Ploug, H., Ossolinski, J., Collins, J., Van Mooy, B., Zehr, J.  Diverse diazotrophs are present on sinking particles in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre. The ISME Journal. 2018

Berner, C., Bertos-Fortis, M., Pinhassi, J. & Legrand, C. (2018). Response of Microbial Communities to Changing Climate Conditions During Summer Cyanobacterial Blooms in the Baltic Sea. Frontiers in Microbiology, 9, Article ID 1562.

Also this summer our group attended both the Gordon Research Conference on Marine Microbes in Italy, as well as the ISME17 International Symposium on Microbial Ecology in Leipzig, Germany. Lina, Hanna and Eva had a lively exchange of ideas, presented their work, and networked with scientists from around the globe at Elucidating Microbial Processes Across Spatial and Temporal Scales in Tuscany, Italy. Javi represented MPEA in Leipzig, presenting his current work with Hanna and Catherine on picocyanobacterial dynamics and nutrient response in the Baltic Sea.

Bom colleagues in Italy! From left: Eva Sörenson, Benjamin Pontiller, Christofer Karlsson, Lina Mattsson, Clara Perez Martinez. Photo: Lina Mattsson


Research waits for no one here at BOM, and research commenced throughout summer. Javi, Hanna and Soran sampled all summer at our brand-new K-Station near Kalmar Castle, and carried out lab work for their study of picocyanobacteria.  The photobioreactors at Degerhamn are up and running for our Algoland work, with Maurice, Fredrik, Lina and Soran heading the charge on field work, and Quyen working diligently on the samples in the lab. Of course, Emil and Elisabeth were our steadfast heroes of the Linnaeus Microbial Observatory, working every two weeks with samples taken offshore from Öland at the LMO.

Photos of Javi and Hanna in their field and lab work on picocyanobacterial dynamics and nutrient response in the Baltic Sea. Stay tuned for a more in-depth look at Hanna and Javi’s research in a future blog post! 

In the research project ALGOLAND our large-scale algal reactor in Degerhamn has been producing algal biomass and cleaning CO2 from Cementas flue-gas all summer. The biomass will be tested as feed supplements for egg laying hens during the autumn.

bon wct3 pic2
Algoland at Degerhamn, early August Photo: Bon Lau

In this year’s 2018 ”Sustainability Safari – a climate smart society” ALGOLAND was presented to 150 high school students on site at the pilot plant in Moskogen. Lina and Quyen showed how microalgae can clean waste water and reduce eutrophication. Elin and Handy had eggs from hens given blue mussels from the Baltic Sea for the students to try and algal-shots to taste. The ALGOLAND station showed the next generation how microalgae can clean air, clean water and produce a local protein source for feed!

Sustainability Safari photos: Elisabeth Carlsson

During the same ”Sustainability week” (Kalmarsundsveckan) but in town Catherine presented ALGOLAND research and vision to an enthusiastic audiens and gave also them the opportunity to test eggs from hens fed with Baltic sea blue mussels compared to ordinary feed. The results are clear, ”mussel-eggs” taste better!

Dr. Catherine Legrand. Professor in Marine Ecology. Prorektor of LNU. Fearless leader of MPEA.

And as we head into autumn, we must congratulate our leader Dr. Catherine Legrand on being renewed in her tireless work as pro-rector for Linnaeus University.  Congratulations, Catherine!








Now, as we settle into our new work-home at hus Vita, we welcome new students into the biology and environmental science program, teaching has commenced, research continues, and another school year begins.

hus vita
Hus Vita…. Our new work home!

-Caroline Littlefield


Want to share something about your research? Let me know!



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s