University of Gothenburg

Research projects at Kristineberg

Research and innovation projects at Kristineberg Center.


Examining climate change vulnerability across life stages in fish

Aquatic heat waves are becoming more common and ectothermic animals, such as fish, may be particularly impacted as their basic physiological functions are strongly influenced by environmental temperature. It has been suggested that some life stages of fish are much more vulnerable to warming than other life stages. If this is correct, it would mean that climate change is most likely to impact embryos and spawners, and these life stages should be brought to the top of global conservation priorities. In this VR-funded project starting in 2024, Zara Cowan and team at BioEnv will use a series of laboratory and field experiments on multiple life stages of fish to empirically settle the question: which life stages of fish are most at risk from climate warming?


Evolution of climate change tolerance in fish

Climate change is one of the most severe global threats of our time. The task now facing biologists is to predict how life on earth will be affected. This project investigates how evolution may help fish adapt to warming, and how rapid such change may be. Additionally, the project is assessing by which physiological, molecular, and genetic mechanisms the evolution occurs. This project is funded by the ERC Consolidator Grant to Fredrik Jutfelt, Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences.

Jutfelt Fish Ecophysiology Lab, University of Gothenburg

Bio-plastics Europe

Sustainable solutions for bio-based and bio-degradable plastics on land and sea

Production and use of petroleum-based plastics contribute to both climate change and environmental pollution. Decades worth of used plastic products now pollute all of earth’s ecosystems as litter, micro- and nanoplastics. The aim of this EU project is to develop sustainable solutions and strategies for bio-based and bio-degradable plastic products to support the EU Plastics Strategy and a Circular Economy. As one of 22 partners, IVL leads the policy work on future plastic use and recycling, and at Kristineberg we investigate weathering and biological effects of new plastic materials developed within the project in the marine environment.

IVL, Horizon 2020

Read more about Bio-plastics Europe


Are we underestimating marine petroleum pollution by only monitoring 16 PAHs?

The marine environment is constantly exposed to a mixture of polycyclic aromatic compounds (PAC) originating from petroleum products and combustion processes. Through combined field- and experimental studies we investigate the occurrence and potential environmental threat posed by large until now overlooked groups of PACs, i.e. heterocyclic, alkylated and substituted PACs in marine benthic food chains. Our results will improve the prediction of marine environmental impacts of, e.g. oil spills, shipping emissions, effluents from petroleum industries and leaking shipwrecks.

IVL, UGOT, Oslo University, NGI, Copenhagen University. Financed by Formas (2020-2022)


Blue Food

Center for future seafood

The centre’s aim is to take advantage of the enormous potential that exists in nutritious food from Swedish waters by making Sweden a leading producer of sustainable seafood. With innovative circular solutions, increased knowledge and a stronger market, we want to create a long-term and sustainable production of Swedish seafood. The formation of the centre was made possible through the collaboration within Kristineberg Center and brings together all forces, from universities and research institutes to companies, regions and municipalities. This is the largest investment in seafood in Sweden with a funding of 48 million SEK from Formas.

Read more about Blue Food

Breeding of sea cucumbers for aquaculture

Integrated multitrophic aquaculture (IMTA) is a form of cultivation based on how an ecosystem works, where species from different trophic levels in the food chain (primary producers, filterers, herbivores, predators and detritivores) are cultivated together. Faeces and possible feed residues from one species benefits another. Sea cucumbers are detritivores, which means that they can also utilize the nutrition found in faeces and other waste. Sea cucumbers can eat the waste from other species, such as fish, bivalves or algae, and convert it into more sea cucumber biomass. This gives them a key function within IMTA by closing the nutrient loop.

CIRKULÄR – a SWEMARC associated project

Plankton monitoring

Every second week we go out to three stations in the Gullmar Fjord and sample plankton, from the smallest microzooplankton to jellyfish. Station Släggö between Lysekil and Kristineberg has the world’s longest time series of primary production, the growth of phytoplankton, and it was started by Odd Lindahl in 1985. Isabel Casties and Diana Deyanova lead the sampling together with Lars Ljungqvist and Linda Svanberg, and Kristineberg is one of three locations in Sweden where this is done. We have observed a significant decreasing trend of production since the 1995 when production was almost twice as high as now. Long time series are critically important for our understanding of climate change and for our ability to manage the coastal waters.

The Plankton monitoring group, Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Gothenburg

End biodiversity loss

In today’s biodiversity crisis, there is an urgent need to monitor aquatic species in their natural habitats. The aims of this FORMAS project (2019-2022) are to firstly identify occurrence records and generate a database of distributional data for species of crustacean and mollusks that are data deficient (DD) in Sweden. Secondly, we aim to detect threatened species in Swedish habitats using novel genomic methods (DNA metabarcoding). Finally, based on the new data, we will run species distribution and population models, to improve information on geographic range and population status for threatened invertebrates. The results will be integrated into current monitoring programs like red-listing and action plans.

University of Skövde and Museum König Bonn 


Lobster hatchery

Thousands of lobster juveniles have been released in the Sotenäs archipelago over the last three years, in a project aimed to evaluate restocking with hatchery-reared lobsters in order to increase local lobster populations. The lobster larvae are hatched here at Kristineberg and reared to the fourth or fifth larval stage. After this, they are released at select locations by scuba divers, in the same area where the mothers were caught. DNA-samples are taken of the siblings and the mothers and the plan is to re-catch the released lobsters when they are big enough, and identify them by DNA-techniques.

Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Gothenburg, and Sotenäs kommun

Cost-efficient techniques in ecology using drones 

We are collecting drone data to study ecological processes that can be used for coastal management. Activities include changes of coastal habitats, marine mammals reproduction, management of mammal populations. Our study sites are located in Sweden, Mozambique and Thailand.

Seagrass Ecology Lab

Microplastic monitoring

Microplastics are a solid form of pollutants that are ubiquitous in seawater and sediments. Their interaction with the marine foodweb is an active area of research. However, sampling and analysis methods applied previously have not been able to provide a comprehensive chemical characterization of the microplastics in order to draw conclusions of sources and pathways. Here, advanced microspectroscopic instrumental analysis are being developed and applied to learn more about the marine plastic litter. The team is collaborating with research groups across Europe and beyond, and support Swedish government agencies with new knowledge.

Marine environmental nanochemistry research group, University of Gothenburg

Management of wild mussel and oyster populations

Oysters (Ostrea edulis) and blue mussels (Mytilus edulis) are important species in shallow ecosystems - providing habitat and food for many species and reducing eutrophication. Both species have been reported to be in decline in Europe but the population status in Sweden is unknown due to limited knowledge about the two species historical and present distribution. In the “Bivalve project” we aim to: Identify population trends using historical data and field surveys, analyse threats, incl. interactions with Pacific oysters (Magallana gigas), identify valuable populations using oceanographic modelling and genetic studies, evaluate different restoration methods, and develop management strategies.

IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute

Read more about the management of wild mussels and oysters

Biophysical interaction in aquatic system

We study interactions between fluid dynamics and aquatic organisms. Using hydrodynamics flumes at Kristineberg we expose organisms to wave and currents to quantify processes and mechanistic interactions. Model organisms include seagrass, seeds, larvae, fish, bivalves, macroalgae, microplastics, etc. We also look at processes in fluid mechanics, sediment dynamics, wave propagation and turbulence.

Seagrass Ecology Lab

Seal monitoring using drones

To assess the population size and reproduction rates of Harbour seals we carry surveys using drones. We then apply machine learning techniques to count and measure the body size of pups and adult seals. This information is key to assess population trends and manage wildlife.

Seagrass Ecology Lab

Sustainable mussel and oyster aquaculture

The Pacific oyster (Magallana gigas) is one of the world’s most cultured species for food production. The species came to Sweden in 2006 and is now well established, but due to its status as invasive culture in sea-based systems in Sweden is not allowed. We are using temperature manipulation and deep-water culture as methods to develop ways to culture Pacific oysters without them reproducing during the culture cycle. This could allow culture of the species also in Sweden in the future. We also work together with the aquaculture industry to evaluate new techniques for production of native flat oysters (Ostrea edulis), and with methods to manage fouling on cultured blue mussels (Mytilus edulis).

IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute

Read more about the mussel and oyster aquaculture

Coexistence of marine aquaculture and boating?

The project will investigate the update of polluting substances from boat traffic in seafood, including blue mussels, oysters and algae. The focus is on polycyclic aromatic compounds (PAC:s) since these compose the most toxic fraction of pollutants in petroleum based fuel, and will be present in both exhaust gases and in fuel leakage. At present the analysis of PACs in environmental monitoring or in food control is limited to a few PAHs. In the project a wide range of PACs will be analyzed in emissions from leisure boats and be compared with the PACs accumulated in wild and cultivated blue mussels, oysters and algae. Uptake and accumulation of a selection of PACs will be investigated in experimental studies. 

IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute



Ocean acidification

As the Ocean is increasingly threatened by human activity, our laboratory aims at developing the needed science to drive societal change that will ensure a future healthy and sustainable ocean. This includes investigating the effects of global changes (e.g. ocean acidification, warming) on marine species and ecosystems. Our work aims at increasing our ability to project future changes and develop adaptation solutions.

University of Gothenburg

Photo: Ane T Laugen

Dynamic Management of Pacific Oysters

Invasive species pose a great threat to biodiversity. The invasive Pacific oyster (Magallana gigas) arrived in Sweden 15 years ago and has continued to spread along the Swedish west coast. While there are serious concerns of the Pacific oysters’ ecological impact, it is also the world’s most consumed oyster species, with 750,000 tonnes produced per year. In the DynamO project, we are developing new management tools to minimize the negative impact of the Pacific oyster, while recuperating its potential positive impact as an ecosystem engineer and important aquaculture species.


IVL Swedish Environmental Research InstituteUniversity of Agder, University of Gothenburg, KTH 


Sea-based co-culture of lobsters and oysters

IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute is culturing juvenile lobsters and oysters in integrated, sea-based systems in the Gullmar fjord, as part of the EU project AquaVitae (2019-2023). The aim is to evaluate the potential and benefits of co-culturing lobsters and oysters in systems adapted to local environmental conditions, testing different designs and depths. The project tests a sustainable method for on-growth of lobster juveniles that requires minimized rearing and no additional food supply, with potential for future food production and restocking purposes, while at the same time improving oyster production by managing biofouling.

IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute

Large-scale restoration of eelgrass

In Sweden 12,500 ha. of eelgrass has been lost due to overfishing and eutrophication. We are developing and implementing large-scale restoration methods by understanding ecosystem feedbacks and tipping points. We combine field, laboratory and model studies to get a deeper knowledge on ecosystem processes. We collaborate with environmental agencies and private companies to upscale activities.

Seagrass Ecology Lab, ZORRO group

Climate impacts on coastal fisheries

This PhD project investigates the cumulative impacts of climate and environmental change on commercial fish species in seagrass (Zostera marina) meadows. It aims to answer research questions on the state of coastal fish communities, spatiotemporal ecological changes and recovery of overfished stocks with a combination of laboratory experiments, field sampling, historical fishing data, time-series climate data and local fishers’ knowledge. The project collaborates with social scientists and policy makers to support ecosystem-based fisheries management through the transdisciplinary project: Sea2Pol+ Coastal fisheries in Sweden: from a changing sea to a robust science-policy environment.

Centre for Sea and Society and Department of Earth Sciences, GU 


Fish behavior as a control of invasive species

This project studies two processes common in behavioural ecology:
[1] top down-control through predation; and [2] competition as a consequence of high biodiversity. If these two processes does limit the spread of invasive species, healthy populations of predatory fish, as well as thriving, biodiverse fish communities can function as bio-control. This bio-control could increase the resilience of our aquatic environments in a changing climate. The project is partly carried out in the field, with monitoring equipment designed and tested at Kristineberg Center – but several behavioral studies have also been, and are intermittently, conducted with live animals here at the Center

Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, UGOT


Seed production for oyster aquaculture in Sweden

One of the most valuable bivalve species in Sweden is the European flat oyster, Ostrea edulis. Commercial culture of the species is, however, hampered by access to seed (baby oysters) as local hatchery production is not reliable. In addition, import of seed is not an option due to variations in population genetics in oysters from Sweden and Europe and due to the risk of pathogen transfer. To support the development of the oyster aquaculture sector in Sweden, we investigate how sea-based collection of oyster seed can be optimised to Swedish conditions, as well as other innovative solutions to produce oyster seed such as pond production systems.

IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute 

Efficacy assessment of antifouling paints

The risk assessment of antifouling (AF) paints differs between EU member states which has resulted in that high leaching paints are allowed in some countries but prohibited in others. Therefore, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has just recently launched a new strategy to harmonize the risk assessment between EU member states. The aim of the current project is to: determine the minimum leaching rate of copper from AF paints to effectively prevent fouling in the Baltic Sea and North Sea, and    evaluate the fouling pressure in different Baltic Sea and North Sea regions. The results will be used by the Swedish Chemicals Agency (KemI) and ECHA in their work to harmonize the authorization process of AF products.

Chalmers (M2, Maritime Studies) and IVL

Read more about antifouling


The HÅLL project aims to provide decision support to maritime actors (ship operation, maintenance and paint manufacturers) as well as responsible environmental authorities. Sustainable maintenance strategies will be achieved by optimizing the choice of antifouling system and the type and frequency of hull maintenance work. The project will evaluate different antifouling strategies with respect to cost, efficiency and emissions to air and water. The HÅLL project is collaborating with ship owners to evaluate maintenance strategies for different vessel types. For the collaborating ship owners, the project will deliver tailored solutions on how to become more sustainable with regard to ship hull maintenance strategies. The project is funded by Lighthouse and will run until the end of 2021.

Chalmers (M2, Maritime Studies), SSPA and UGOT


Verification through Accelerated testing Leading to Improved wave energy Designs

This main objective of the VALID project is to develop and validate a new platform and procedures for accelerated hybrid testing that can be used across the entire wave energy sector to improve the reliability and survivability of the components and subsystems that form Wave Energy Converters. The VALID concept is to create a hybrid testing facility that encompasses several wave energy technologies as test cases, with the final goal of delivering a novel test rig configuration methodology for accelerating wave energy technological development.

RISE - Research Institutes of Sweden


De-Risk PTO by control the marine biofouling and corrosion

This project aims to validate solutions for the piston rod and sealing system within wave energy devices to deal with marine growth, corrosion and wear to ensure the life expectancy of the internal protective seals. The seals are critical components that are subjected to wear due to surface roughness (corrosion, marine growth), speed, temperature, lubrication etc due to the motion in and out of the device. The tests will be carried out in accelerated forms in lab environments as well as in field environments at Kristineberg Center, Corpower test facility in Stockholm and WavEC´s test site in Portugal. The European H2020 Waveboost project developed a test rig for accelerated tests of the piston rod to be used in this project to simulate the actual working conditions. 

RISE - Research Institutes of Sweden, Corpower Ocean


Fully Dynamic Medium Voltage Cables for Ocean Energy, Reliable transmission assets for ocean energy devices

SEASNAKE is a OceanERA-NET project aiming for developing dynamic Cables for ocean energy. The project contains design and production of cables and environmental friendly anti-fouling, lab and offshore testing. The main goal for the SEASNAKE project is to provide a step change in the overall performance of a medium voltage cable system, while ensuring that they are highly reliable and lower the risks of ocean energy installations.


Hull-Material for Wave Energy Converters Sustainable and Reliable Material Leading to Improved WEC Hulls 

The objective is to investigate materials for hull development of wave energy convertors and to have a complete hull system validated in terms of components reliability and survivability. Various studies show that the biggest cost reduction potential is associated with the device’s structure. The innovative materials (improved concrete and composite) coming out from the project will be used across the entire ocean energy sector to improve the reliability, survivability, cost and sustainability.

RISE - Research Institutes of Sweden

Read more about the WECHULL project


The project aims to increase low trophic species (e.g. algae, echinoderms, shellfish) aquaculture in and around the Atlantic by developing new species, processes and products. The project involves 11 case studies across the Atlantic (Europe, Africa, South America) considering cross-cutting issues e g: biosensors, market potential, sustainability, monitoring, risk assessments, business and socio-economic analysis, policy framework and training.

AquaVitae is a project funded by the EU H2020 program.

IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute

Read more about Aquavitae

From beach litter to microplastics

The research project investigates how plastic beach litter breaks down to microplastics, where in the environment the plastic particles end up and how they affect animals on beaches and in nearshore ecosystems. This is investigated in a field experiment with plastic litter items planted on beaches, by surveying microplastics on heavily littered beaches, and in controlled lab experiments simulating how wave actions, currents and bottom types affect plastic debris breakdown and transport out of the beaches. In addition, the project examines ingested plastics after passing through the gut of animals living in the coastal zone, whereas leaching of harmful plastic additives and their accumulation in local fauna investigate the environmental hazards of beach litter.

IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute

Link to a film about plastic litter and ghost fishing: ”Ett hav av skräp” 

Effects of shipping emissions on marine organisms

As part of the EU Horizon 2020 project EMERGE (Evaluation, control and Mitigation of the EnviRonmental impacts of shippinG Emissions) we investigate effects of effluents from exhaust gas cleaning systems or scrubbers on marine organisms. Scrubbers are installed as a cheaper alternative to cleaner fuel because of stricter regulations on air emissions of sulphur from ship exhaust. In scrubbers the exhaust gasses are sprayed with seawater which is then discharged directly to the sea.

IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute


REDRESS and Digi4Eco

In early 2024, the EU projects REDRESS, involving 26 partners, and Digi4Eco, with 18 partners, were launched. Kristineberg Center, featuring the Experimental Sedimentology and Seafloor Robot Laboratory, will act as a hub for research vessels and experimental sites dedicated to deep-sea restoration and Digital Twin technology. 

The center will also provide facilities for laboratory studies and host summer schools. Seafloor robots at Kristineberg will be adapted to perform precise deep-sea restoration tasks, with the MPA Bratten near Kristineberg serving as the primary study site

Experimental Sedimentology and Seafloor Robot Laboratory, University of Gothenburg


This Interreg North Sea project brings together researchers, authorities and stakeholders from the maritime sector from around the North Sea, to produce recommendations for managing underwater noise, an increasing, yet under-addressed problem. The North Sea region experiences extensive commercial shipping and especially along the Swedish coast, recreational boat traffic is heavy.  Further, and a huge extension of offshore wind farms is planned. The noise generated by these activities poses risks to marine life. DEMASK aims to create tools to measure and evaluate which measures are most effective to reduce the environmental impact of underwater noise. This will help policymakers and other stakeholders to select the most effective mitigation strategies. IVL focuses primarily on noise from recreational boats in coastal areas, and assessment of impacts on invertebrates that currently are understudied.

Read more at DEMASK's website

IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute


Underwater noise from shipping is a growing environmental problem with negative impacts on the marine environment, yet there are currently no incentives for ship owners to reduce the noise. The InciteShip project develops and demonstrates an incentive system to reward quiet ships by establishing a new type of autonomous station that measures underwater noise from passing ships. The assessed environmental impact of the measured noise will be incorporated into a scoring system, potentially becoming part of incentive systems like the Clean Shipping Index. This index, owned by the IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute, rates ships based on their environmental performance and influences port and fairway fees, serving as a tool to reward and develop more sustainable shipping.

Read more at InciteShip’s website

IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute in collaboration with Swedish Defence Research Agency