Doctoral StudentDepartment of Marine
About Stefanie Ries
In my research I will establish a baseline of the current genetic diversity, sexual reproduction, and connectivity of eelgrass meadows along the Swedish coast, especially in the Baltic Sea. Eelgrass is one of the key foundation species in coastal zones and provides nursery grounds for many marine fish and invertebrates along the Swedish coast. Eelgrass meadows have declined worldwide and suffer from several threats, mainly from anthropogenic activities and climate change. The further decrease of seagrass meadows could lead to a loss of genetic diversity.
This is a concern, because several studies have shown that high genetic diversity has a positive effect on persistence in a changing environment. Therefore, an overview of the genetic structure of eelgrass in altering ecosystems is necessary. The Baltic Sea can serve as a time machine for the future coastal ocean and in consequence is an interesting area for investigating the population structure of eelgrass
I will perform seascape genomics analyses to combine genomic data with dispersal modelling and environmental information to detect potentially adaptive genotypes. Subsequent demographic modelling will be applied to assess the ability of eelgrass to recover and adapt in the future.