Erik Selander

Senior Lecturer

Department of Marine
Visiting address
Carl Skottsbergs gata 22B
41319 Göteborg
Room number
Postal address
Box 461
40530 Göteborg

About Erik Selander

 Plankton Chemical Ecology

Erik’s research is focused on chemical interactions in the pelagic ecosystem. Plankton organisms are too small to carry advanced eyes and depend on chemical and hydro-mechanical signals to perceive their surroundings. Chemical signals mediate most important transitions in a planktonic life. Signals or cues are used to find food, mates, hosts, or to trigger life history transitions and phenotypes for current conditions. Some recent examples from our lab covers grazer induced toxin production in harmful algal bloom forming dinoflagellates, dramatic size shifts in colony size of colony forming phytoplankton, as well as adaptive behavioral algorithms that reduce encounter rates with enemies. These microscopic interactions scale up to large scale processes in the sea and may have profound effects on the pelagic food web.

Projects Signals in the plankton We identify the chemical signals between plankton that triggers morphological, behavioral, and chemical responses in the receiving organisms. A handful of novel compounds have been isolated and structurally determined (Selander et al in prep). We use the signals to gain mechanistic understanding on several levels. At the cellular level we try to figure out which receptors are involved, and which genes and metabolites are regulated. We also explore how signaling pathways like this effects the pelagic food web.

A semiochemical approach to pest control in aquaculture Sea lice are small ectoparasitic copepods that cost the Norwegian fish farm industry >0.5 billion NOK per year. Infectious stages from the salmon farms are now infecting wild populations of trout and salmon at an alarming rate. This project aims to identify the chemical signals that guides the sea lice to host fish and partners. The scents will be used to create a chemical bait that can be used in traps to provide an environmentally friendly complement to traditional treatments with drugs or cleaner fish wrasse.

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