Collaborative projects



The Arctic Ocean’s key role in regulating the global climate is highly sensitive to climate change. Arctic temperatures have increased more strongly than the global average during the recent past, causing a loss of multiyear sea-ice and fundamental changes in ecosystem structure and function. Arctic primary production and biogeochemical cycling are projected to change. Longer ice-free periods and thinner sea-ice increase light availability, enhancing phytoplankton production, which may also be further stimulated by increased carbon dioxide.

We have assembled a multidisciplinary UK/German team with a renowned track record of pioneering research concerning the structure and function of marine pelagic ecosystems, including extensive research in the Arctic. This project will improve our understanding of how seasonal and climate-driven changes in the physical environment of the Arctic Ocean are impacting pelagic microbial ecosystems and how these affect current and future organic matter organic matter biogeochemistry.

This project is co-funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and by NERC.



ERC Advanced Grant to Prof. Daniel Conley at Lund University, Sweden.



ERC Consolidator Grant to Prof. Andy Ridgwell at University of California, Riverside, USA.



Some of the strongest interactions between ecological and climatic processes concern phytoplankton. While the importance of phytoplankton ecology for the global carbon cycle is well established, the role of their evolution is much less so. Adaptation is of particular importance in predicting the system’s response to climate change, since it will modulate the ecological response to environmental change. Recent global ocean circulation models account for phytoplankton ecology. Here we propose to refine the definition of ecological processes and to allow for adaptation of phytoplankton cell size and shape in such models, as well as in more strategic models for freshwater systems. The overall theoretical issue to be addressed is: does adaptation accelerate or mitigate the impact of climate change on the global carbon cycle?



The Darwin Project is an initiative to advance the development and application of novel models of marine microbes and microbial communities, identifying the relationships of individuals and communities to their environment, connecting cellular-scale processes to global microbial community structure.