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Ph.D., Marine Ecology, University of Aarhus, DK,1984
Dr.Sc., Biogeochemistry, Odense University, DK,1996

Assistant Lecturer, Institute of Ecology and Genetics, University of Aarhus, DK,1984
Assistant Professor, Institute of Biology, Odense University, DK,1985-1989
Associate Professor, Institute of Biology, University of Southern Denmark, DK,1989-present

Institute Chairman, Institute of Biology, Odense University, DK, 1991. Member of the board of directors, Institute of Biology, Odense University, DK,1993-1999. Member of the Science study board, University of Southern Denmark, DK, 2000-2010. Member of the board of directors, Wadden Sea Centre, Ribe, Denmark, 2000-present. Member of the board of directors, Institute of biology, University of Southern Denmark, DK, 2006-2010. Member of CEMIT (Centre for Energy and Environmentally Efficient Technologies), University of Southern Denmark, DK, 2008-present

Major research projects:
SWAP – Sylter Wattenmeer Austausch Prozesse (BMFT-financed) (2.7 mill. kr.). Partner-coordinator and steering committee member,1990-1995. SMP – Strategic environmental research (Ministry of Environment financed) (1.9 mill. kr.). Partner-coordinator and steering committee member,1993-1996. SCP – Scientific Cooperation Program (DANIDA-financed) (2.0 mill. kr.). Partner-coordinator, 1995-2000. ISLED - Influence of rising Sea Level on Ecosystem Dynamics of salt marshes (EU-financed) (2.1 mill. kr.). Partner coordinator and steering committee member, 1998-2000. PUMPSEA - Peri-Urban Mangrove forests as filters and potential Phytoremediators of domestic Sewage in East Africa (EU-financed) (1.7 mill. kr.). Partner-coordinator and steering committee member, 2005-2008. Frame Fundings from the Danish Science Research Council (4 x 3 years) (ca. 1 mill. kr. per 3 years). Coordinator from 2002 to 2008, 1996-2008. REELGRASS - Key parameters and processes affecting the re-establishment of eelgrass in estuaries and coastal waters (financed by Danish Agency for Science) (10.5 mill. kr.). Work package leader and steering Committee member, 2008-2011. MARINVA - Marine invasive species (financed by the Danish Council for Independent Research) (0.1 mill. kr.). Partner, 2009-2011. Large Project - Stress thresholds for deterioration and recovery of shallow freshwater and marine macrophyte communities; the role of sediment processes (financed by the Danish council for Independent Research) (5.5 mill. kr.). Coordinator, 2010-2012.

Phuket Marine Biological Center, Phuket, Thailand (12 visits of about 1.5 months duration each), 1981-2010. Marine Sciences Research Center, State University of New York, New York, USA (6 months), 1988. National Institute of Oceanography, Karachi, Pakistan (1 month), 1990. School of Oceanography, University of Washington, Seattle, USA (12 months), 1993-1994. Australian Institute of Marine Science, Townsville, Australia (10 months), 2002-2003. University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (5 visits of about 1 month), 2005-2008

Teaching assistant in elementary genetics, University of Aarhus, DK, 1979-1980. Teaching assistant on graduate summer courses in marine biology, University of Aarhus, DK, 1980. Teacher on graduate courses in population ecology, University of Aarhus, DK, 1983. Organizer of and teacher on graduate and postgraduate summer courses in marine biology, University of Aarhus, DK, 1983-1984. Lecturer in biology, University of Southern Denmark, DK, 1985-present. Supervisor M.Sc. (5 present and 65 graduated students),1985-present. Supervisor Ph.D. (2 present and 10 graduated students), 1985 present

Review editor for the journal ”Aquatic Microbial Ecology”, 1995-2006. Editor of the AGU book “Interactions between macro- and microorganisms in marine sediments”, 2003-2005. Review editor for the journal “Marine Ecology Progress Series”, 2007-present. Member of Editorial Board of "Wetlands Ecology and Management", 2008-present. Member of Editorial Board of "International Journal of Oceanography", 2010-present.

Society Memberships:
American Society of Limnology and Oceanography; International Polychaete Association; The Association of Danish Marine Biologists; The Geochemical Society; International Association for Sediment Water Science, IASWS; Nereis-Park

Research areas

My research interests are primarily focused on the biogeochemistry and microbial ecology of coastal marine sediments inhabited by burrowing invertebrates and rooted macrophytes. I am currently involved in the following projects:

Infaunal stimulation of organic matter degradation in marine sediments. It is well known that benthic infauna is capable of stimulating the microbial decay of organic matter in sediments. However, the underlying mechanisms for this stimulation are not clearly elucidated. The questions I seek to answer in this respect are: 1. Do infaunal animals stimulate microbial activity directly by grazing or competing with them? 2. Do infaunal animals speed up microbial processes in deep sediment layers indirectly by introducing efficient electron acceptors, such as oxygen, via irrigation activities? 3. Do infaunal animals stimulate microbial activity indirectly by changing the diffusion geometry in anoxic sediment when they create a mosaic of sediment-water interfaces? Species of the common polychaete genus Nereis are excellent model organisms for this purpose. The massive colonization in recent years of the invasive polychaete Marenzelleria viridis in our coastal sediments has raised a number of new and important questions: 1. Vil this new species outcompete native species, such as Nereis diversicolor? 2. How does this new species affect the sediment biogeochemistry? I attempt to answer these questions in the years to come.

Anaerobic mineralization of carbon and nitrogen in marine sediment. Consortia of bacteria mediate anaerobic degradation of organic matter in marine sediments. Hydrolyzing bacteria splits large molecules into smaller organic units, which are degraded to organic monomers (e.g. amino acids) and short chain organic acids (e.g. acetate) by fermenting bacteria. Finally, the anaerobic respirers mineralize these small molecules to carbon dioxide and inorganic nutrients. My questions here are then: 1. Which organisms and processes are responsible for the release of carbon dioxide and ammonium during microbial degradation of organic matter in anoxic sediment? 2. How fast can the microbial community adapt to changes in the composition and quality of organic supplies? I attempt to solve these questions by the use of anaerobic sediment incubations.

Partitioning of microbial respiration processes in bioturbated and rooted intertidal sediments. The terminal microbial respiration in sediments may occur with oxygen, manganese, iron, nitrate and sulfate as electron acceptors. Much work has been done to quantify each of these respiration processes and to determine the partitioning between them in oceanic sediments. Much less is known about these processes in highly disturbed intertidal sediments, such as Spartina marshes and mangrove forests. My objectives for this work is to determine the role of burrowing animals (various crab species) and roots (eelgrass, cordgrass and mangrove trees) for the rates and partitioning of processes, while attempting to answer the following questions: 1. How do animals and roots control the vertical distribution of respiration with the various electron acceptors? 2. What is the temporal variability in the distribution of respiration processes and how is that related to animal and root activity?

In the project, REELGRASS, our aim is to explain why eelgrass is not recovering and recolonizing areas where is was present in the past. The conditions with respect to water quality should not any more hinder such recolonization. My contribution to the project is to determine the if benthic animals hampers the recolonization by grazing on roots and seeds, or if these animals actually facilitate recruitning of eelgrass by oxidizing the sediment.

Research areas

  • Biodiversity
  • Biogeochemistry
  • Bioturbation
  • Benthic fauna
  • Polychaetes
  • Marine biology
  • Oxygen depletion
  • Nitrogen
  • Mangrove
  • Marine ecology
  • Microbial processes and substance cycles
  • Environmental biology
  • Nutrients
  • Sediment-animal interactions
  • Substance turnover
  • Tropical ecosystems
  • Ecology


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