Den här sidan är utskriven från Högskolan i Halmstads webbplats (www.hh.se). Texten uppdaterades senast den 2018-06-08. Besök webbplatsen om du vill vara säker på att läsa den senaste versionen.

Biosystems

Research in Biosystems spans from the nanometre scale, through individual cells and cell membranes, organs and entire organisms, up to the local and global environment.

Photo: Anders Andersson

Our goal is to develop our research in collaboration with regional, national and international partners drawn from academia and industry.

Biosystem research studies various systems in nature, in society, or in the human body, and often crosses the boundaries between disciplines such as biology, environmental sciences, energy technology, ecology, and health sciences. What these diverse multi-disciplinary projects have in common is our research focus, our approach, or the methodology we adopt.

Today, our research in biosystems covers a wide range of topics, integrating approaches drawn from fields as diverse as sports physiology, biomechanics, movement and health, plant biochemisty, ecology, environmental science, environmental systems, biodiversity, management of water resources, wetlands, environmental impact studies, biogeochemistry, greenhouse gases, biogas, district heating, and wind power.

All of these topics have social relevance, and our research contributes to solving many of the truly enormous challenges our society is facing today. For example, many of the issues raised in the EU’s HORIZON 2020 plan are represented within RLAS.

Microplastics

Microplastic contamination is an emergent threat that is still only little researched and understood. Antonia Leiss have so far supervised a number of Batchelor and Master Students that have examined the distribution of microplastics from different sources, in the aquatic environment. Soccer fields with artificial lawns contain rubber granulates that are readily spread into the adjacent waterways, mainly through careless handling and storage of granulates (Fiskar kan skadas av konstgräs vid vatten,external link Hallandsposten, 2017-07-20). In another study, Oswald Ndlovu examined the distributions of microplastic contamination in two lakes that serve as drinking water reservoirs. Our data suggest that microplatic contamination to the water column has its origin in the in-lake use of fishing nets rather in catchment land use. How these microplastic particles are transported through the food web, is the focus of yet another Master thesis.

Contact: Antonia.Liess@hh.se

Climate change as reflected in food webs in lakes

It is well known that climate change allows species from further south to establish themselves in northern ecosystems, and that there is a risk that native species will be outcompeted or forced northwards. One current project is a long-running study of food webs in Swedish freshwater lakes that uses dragonflies as a model system. Dragonflies are top-level predators, and their occurrence reflects what happens at lower levels in the food web. Our work has shown that survival is largely determined by competition among mid-level species rather than climate factors. Southern species entering the food web do not dominate, but the change can lead to other species becoming dominant, whether they were common or rare before the introduction took place. We have shown that changes to the species makeup are rapid (40% of species changed their occurrence within a ten-year period), and that abiotic factors such as pH have a strong influence that can mask the effects of climate change.

Contact: Marie.Magnheden@hh.se

Dragonflies as a measure of biodiversity in threatened grasslands in Southern Brazil

In Sweden, the Pampas in Argentina is well known from a famous song by Evert Taube. It is less well known that similar grasslands occur in the very south of Brazil, where intensive agriculture and eucalyptus plantations are bringing rapid change to the open landscape. In a project financed by CAPES (Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior) in Brazil, Göran Sahlén works with Brazilian colleagues from Centro Universitario Univates, Lajeado, RS. The project investigates how the species makeup in the landscape varies with land use. The original landscapes were grasslands and coastal forest, and have various classes of species distribution. All of them undergo similar changes when the land is used for intensive agriculture, or is overgrazed so that erosion takes place. Species diversity is increased by intensive agriculture, while erosion reduces it. The project runs until early 2018, and will result in a doctoral thesis. It is planned to extend the project further.

Publications: Al Jawaheri, R. & Sahlén, G. (2016) Negative impact of lake liming programmes on the species richness of dragonflies (Odonata): a study from southern Sweden. Hydrobiologia, 788: 99-113, doi 10.1007/s10750-016-2990-5

Contact: Goran.Sahlen@hh.se

Dragonflies as a measure of biodiversity in threatened grasslands in Southern Brazil

In Sweden, the Pampas in Argentina is well known from a famous song by Evert Taube. It is less well known that similar grasslands occur in the very south of Brazil, where intensive agriculture and eucalyptus plantations are bringing rapid change to the open landscape. In a project financed by CAPES (Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior) in Brazil, Göran Sahlén works with Brazilian colleagues from Centro Universitario Univates, Lajeado, RS. The project investigates how the species makeup in the landscape varies with land use. The original landscapes were grasslands and coastal forest, and have various classes of species distribution. All of them undergo similar changes when the land is used for intensive agriculture, or is overgrazed so that erosion takes place. Species diversity is increased by intensive agriculture, while erosion reduces it. The project runs until early 2018, and will result in a doctoral thesis. It is planned to extend the project further.

Publications:Testing Dragonflies as Species Richness Indicators in a Fragmented Subtropical Atlantic Forest Environment. Neotropical Entomology 45: 231–239, Doi 10.1007/s13744-015-0355-9

Contact: Goran.Sahlen@hh.se

How does climate change affect genetic variation in northern species?

In Europe, climate change is predicted to affect northern species most of all, because the greatest changes in temperature are expected to occur at high latitudes. However, species that live in the north must have moved there during in the relatively short span of time since the last ice age (less than 10,000 years), and it is possible that they have a high degree of genetic variation that makes them more resistant to environmental change. In collaboration with Dr. Jessica L. Ware and Manpreet Kohli at the Department of Biology, Rutgers University,

USA, we investigate the population genetics of some of the world’s northernmost dragonflies. We are interested in whether these northern populations are isolated or if they exchange genetic material over large geographical distances. We also look at whether they moved northwards to high latitudes just once or many times, and if this took place immediately after the ice receded, or later. Answers to these questions will provide information about northern species chances of surviving the current changes to our climate. The project was initiated in 2014, and our first publications are expected in 2017.

Contact: Goran.Sahlen@hh.se

Marie Mattsson. Photo: Anders Andersson

Updated 2018-06-08