Johan Erlandsson

I am a senior researcher in marine ecology. I am also a poet, specialising in haiku poetry. Two examples in Swedish: 1) På min hand landar / lilla röda trollsländan / om och om igen. 2) Vågor sköljer in. / Barnen leker på stranden. / Fotspår suddas ut.


Docent/Assoc. Prof.:
Jan 2012, Docent (Assoc. Prof. / Reader) in Marine Conservation Biology at Åbo Akademi University (Docent lecture on "The role of marine reserves for biodiversity and coastal resource use: is there a spill-over effect?”)

Academic degrees:
1994-09-21, Filosofie Magister (MSc) in biology from Göteborg University, Sweden
1998-09-08, Filosofie Doktor (Ph. D.) in marine zoology at the Dept. of Marine Ecology, Göteborg University. 

Some recent positions:
2011-2014, Marine Ecological expert at Vattenmyndigheterna, Västerhavets Vattendistrikt, Vattenvårdsenheten Länsstyrelsen Västra Götaland, Göteborg, Sweden.
2008-2011, Senior Researcher at ARONIA Coastal Zone Research Team, Åbo Akademi University/Novia University of Applied Sciences, Ekenäs/Tammisaari, Finland.
2006-2008, Senior Researcher, Dept. of Systems Ecology, Stockholm University, Sweden 
2000-2003, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Department of Zoology & Entomology, Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa


I have broad experience of teaching as a lecturer/senior lecturer, course leader and teaching assistant on University level in many different subjects and topics, e.g. general ecology, marine ecology, conservation biology, sustainable development and sustainable use/management of natural resources, experimental design, biological complexity, and environmental monitoring at different levels (undergraduate to graduate level) and at many different Universities.


I am presently working as a researcher within the DCF-project at Institute of Coastal Research led by Zeynep Pekcan-Hekim. My work involves mainly the spatial variability and heterogeneity (spatial structure) of length and age distributions of flounder over time in the Baltic, and temporal variability and heterogeneity of herring (Bothnian Sea and Bothnian Bay), which both have implications for management.

As a researcher in marine ecology my main emphasis has been on intertidal ecology, especially rocky shores, but also to some extent soft-bottom and subtidal habitats (mussel- and seagrass systems). I have worked with different organisms and questions, but lately my research interests include:

  • Spatial and landscape ecology (mainly using semivariogram and fractal analyses)
  • Habitat loss & fragmentation; their effects on diversity & abundance of organisms
  • Habitat amount threshold effects on associated intertidal and subtidal organisms
  • Recruitment patterns and sustainability of exploited mussels
  • Effects of distance to & size of MPAs on colonisation of exploited coastal species
  • Interactions between co-existing invasive and indigenous mussels in South Africa
  • Effects of habitat complexity on biodiversity and abundance of organisms
  • Management of coastal ecosystems


Some recent research projects:

Sustainability of exploited and invaded indigenous mussels along the coast of South Africa: recruitment and restoration of populations (Funding from Formas and SIDA/Sarec, Sweden)

Effects of habitat loss and fragmentation on biodiversity, abundance and population processes of macrofauna using mussel beds as a model system (Funding from Formas)

Connectivity between protected and exploited South African mussel communities: effects of size and proximity of Marine Protected Areas, and the role of mussel bed rehabilitation (Funding from The Swedish Research Council and SIDA/Sarec, Sweden)

Ecosystem effects of the establishment of cormorant colonies in the Gulf of Finland (Funding from Svenska Kulturfonden, Finland; Collaboration with Mats Westerbom, Eliecer Diaz, Mikael Kilpi, Markus Öst)


I have a background mainly as a researcher in marine ecology, conservation biology, sustainable resource use and management. Recently I also worked as a marine ecologist at Vattenmyndigheterna and Länsstyrelsen in Göteborg. I worked with management of water bodies (Vattenförvaltning), especially coastal zone management applying both the Water Framework Directive (vattendirektivet) and the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (havsmiljödirektivet), planning environmental monitoring programs nationally and regionally, especially along the west coast of Sweden, and participating in national work groups.


I have been the main supervisor for one PhD-student and 4 MSc-students at Åbo Akademi University and Stockholm University. I have been a co-supervisor for 6 PhD- and MSc-students, and the mentor and employer for a post-doctoral researcher within my Formas-project.

Lina Mtwana Nordlund, Ph.D. student (2009-2012), Dept. of Miljö & Marinbiologi, Åbo Akademi University. Thesis: “People and the intertidal: Human induced changes, biodiversity loss, livelihood implications and management in the western Indian ocean”.

Publikationer i urval

Scientific publications:

1)   Diaz ER, Erlandsson J, Westerbom, M, Kraufvelin P. 2015. Depth-related spatial patterns of sublittoral blue mussel beds and their associated macrofaunal diversity revealed by geostatistical analyses Mar Ecol Prog Ser 540: 121–134

2)   Jungerstam J, Erlandsson J, McQuaid CD., Porri F, Westerbom M, Kraufvelin P. 2014. Is habitat amount important for biodiversity in rocky shore systems? A study of South African mussel assemblages. Marine Biology 161 (7): 1507-1519 

3)   Nordlund LM, de la Torre-Castro M, Erlandsson, J, Conand C, Muthiga N, Jiddawi N, Gullström M. 2014. Intertidal zone management in the Western Indian Ocean: Assessing current status and future possibilities using expert opinions. Ambio 43: 1006-1019

4)   Ludford A, Cole VJ, Porri F, McQuaid CD, Nakin MDV, Erlandsson J. 2012. Testing source-sink theory: the spill-over of mussel recruits beyond marine protected areas. Landscape Ecology 27 (6): 859-868

5)   Diaz ER, Kraufvelin P, Erlandsson J. 2012. Combining gut fluorescence technique and spatial analysis to determine Littorina littorea grazing dynamics in nutrient-enriched and nutrient-unenriched littoral mesocosms. Marine Biology 159 (4): 837-852

6)   Erlandsson J, McQuaid CD, Sköld M. 2011. Patchiness and co-existence of indigenous and invasive mussels at small spatial scales: the interaction of facilitation and competition. PLoS ONE 6 (11): e26958. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0026958

7)   Diaz ER, Erlandsson J, McQuaid CD. 2011. Detecting spatial heterogeneity in intertidal algal functional groups, grazers and their co-variation among shore levels and sites. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 409 (1-2): 123-135

8)   Erlandsson J, McQuaid CD, Stanczak S. 2011. Recruit/algal interaction prevents recovery of overexploited mussel beds: indirect evidence that post-settlement mortality structures mussel populations. Estuarine Coastal and Shelf Science 92: 132-139

9)   Nordlund L, Erlandsson J, De la Torre-Castro M, Jiddawi N. 2010. Changes in an East African social-ecological seagrass system: invertebrate harvesting affecting species composition and local livelihood. Aquatic Living Resources 23 (4): 399-416

10) Von der Meden C, Porri F, Erlandsson J, McQuaid CD. 2008. Coastline topography affects the distribution of indigenous and invasive mussels. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 372: 135-145

11)  Erlandsson J, Porri F, McQuaid CD. 2008. Ontogenetic changes in small-scale movement by recruits of an exploited mussel: implications for the fate of larvae settling on algae. Mar Biol 153 (3): 365–373

12)  Zardi GI, Nicastro K, McQuaid CD, Erlandsson J. 2008. Sand and wave induced mortality in invasive (Mytilus galloprovincialis) and indigenous (Perna perna) mussels. Mar Biol 153 (5): 853-858

13)  Hargeby A, Erlandsson J. 2006. Is size-assortative mating important for rapid pigment differentiation in a freshwater isopod? J Evol Biol 19: 1911-1919

14)  Erlandsson J, Pal P, McQuaid CD. 2006. Re-colonization rate differs between co-existing indigenous and invasive intertidal mussels following major disturbance. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 320: 169-176

15)  Pal P, Erlandsson J, Sköld M. 2006. Size-assortative mating and non-reciprocal copulation in a hermaphroditic intertidal limpet: test of the mate availability hypothesis. Mar Biol 148: 1273-1282

16)  Kostylev VE, Erlandsson J, Mak YM, Williams GA. 2005. The relative importance of habitat complexity and surface area in assessing biodiversity: fractal application on rocky shores. Ecological Complexity 2 (3): 272-286

17)  Erlandsson J, McQuaid CD, Kostylev VE. 2005. Contrasting spatial heterogeneity of sessile organisms within mussel (Perna perna L.) beds in relation to topographic variability. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 314: 79-97

18)  Erlandsson J, McQuaid CD. 2004. Spatial structure of recruitment in the mussel Perna perna at local scales: effects of adults, algae and recruit size. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 267: 173-185

19)  Erlandsson J. 2002. Do reproductive strategy and breeding season influence the presence of mate recognition in the intertidal snail Littorina? Invert Reprod Dev 41 (1-3): 53-60

20)  Pirk C, Hepburn R, Radloff S, Erlandsson J. 2002. Defense posture in the dwarf honeybee, Apis florea. Apidologie 33 (3): 289-294

21)  Kostylev V, Erlandsson J. 2001. A fractal approach for detecting spatial hierarchy and structure on mussel beds. Mar Biol 139: 497-506

22)  Erlandsson J, Kostylev V, Rolan-Alvarez E. 1999. Mate search and aggregation behaviour in the Galician hybrid zone of Littorina saxatilis. J Evol Biol 12 (5): 891-896

23)  Rolan-Alvarez E, Erlandsson J, Johannesson K, Cruz R. 1999. Mechanisms of incomplete prezygotic reproductive isolation in an intertidal snail: testing behavioural models in wild populations.  J Evol Biol 12 (5): 879-890

24)  Erlandsson J, Kostylev V, Williams GA. 1999. A field technique for estimating the influence of surface complexity on movement tortuosity in the tropical limpet Cellana grata Gould. Ophelia 50 (3): 215-224

25)  Erlandsson J, Rolan-Alvarez E. 1998. Sexual selection and assortative mating by size and their roles in the maintenance of a polymorphism in Swedish Littorina saxatilis populations. Hydrobiologia 378: 59-69

26)  Erlandsson J, Rolan-Alvarez E, Johannesson K. 1998. Migratory differences between ecotypes of the snail Littorina saxatilis on Galician rocky shores. Evol Ecol 12: 913-924

27)  Rolan-Alvarez E, Johannesson K, Erlandsson J. 1997. The maintenance of a cline in the marine snail Littorina saxatilis: the role of home site advantage and hybrid fitness. Evolution 51 (6): 1838-1847

28)  Johannesson K, Rolan-Alvarez E, Erlandsson J. 1997. Growth rate differences between upper and lower shore ecotypes of the marine snail Littorina saxatilis (Olivi) (Gastropoda). Biol J Linn Soc 61: 267-279

29)  Kostylev V, Erlandsson J, Johannesson K. 1997. Microdistribution of the polymorphic snail Littorina saxatilis (Olivi) in a patchy rocky shore habitat. Ophelia 47 (1): 1-12

30)  Erlandsson J, Kostylev V. 1995. Trail following, speed and fractal dimension of movement in a marine prosobranch, Littorina littorea, during a mating and a non-mating season. Mar Biol 122: 87-94

31)  Erlandsson J, Johannesson K. 1994. Sexual selection on female size in a marine snail, Littorina littorea (L.). J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 181: 145-157


Environmental reports, articles, thesis, conference proceedings etc:

1) Erlandsson, J. 2013. Provtagning med dykmetod och videometod – en jämförelse: pilotstudie inför ett nytt miljöövervakningsprogram för vegetationsklädda bottnar i Västerhavet. Rapport 2013: 96, Länsstyrelsen i Västra Götalands län, vattenvårdsenheten. ISSN: 1403-168X. 36 pp. (In Swedish).

2) Erlandsson, J. 2012. Harmoniserad miljöövervakning i Skagerrak och Kattegat: Workshop i temagrupp 2:3 den 30 november och 1 december 2011. Rapport från projekt Hav möter Land, Rapportnummer: 4. Rapportnummer hos Länsstyrelsen: 2012:41. Utgivare: Hav möter Land, Länsstyrelsen i Västra Götalands län. ISSN: 1403-168X. 24 pp. (In Swedish).

3) Nordlund LM, de la Torre-Castro M, Jiddawi N, Erlandsson, J. 2011. Socio-ecological effects from invertebrate harvesting in Tanzanian seagrass ecosystems – the need to investigate management approaches and future possibilities. 2nd Annual Agricultural Research Review Workshop 2010, Conference proceeding

4) Erlandsson J. 2010. Fiske och fattiga. Kolumnserien ”Aronia-just nu”, Västra Nyland (dagstidning), Finland, 13 Apr. 2010. (In Swedish).

5) Erlandsson J. 2008. Musslor och människor. Kolumnserien ”Aronia-just nu”, Västra Nyland (dagstidning), Finland, 20 Nov. 2008. (In Swedish).

6) Erlandsson J. 2005. Environmental impact assessment of the production and operation of two wind power plants at S Ingelsträde, Höganäs kommun, Sweden. For Öresundskraft AB, Helsingborg. (In Swedish).

7) Erlandsson J, Johannesson K. 2005. Probable effects on the production of macrovegetation and phytoplankton of a possible reduced phosphorous discharge from the Rya WWTP. Report (in Swedish & English) to Gryaab & Bohuskustens Vattenvårdsförbund. 25 pp. ISBN: 91–85 293-12-1

8) Erlandsson, J. 1999. Vägen hem till människa (Book of poems in Swedish). Published by the author, Centraltryckeriet Åke Svenson, Borås, 60 pp. ISBN: 91-630-8826-6

9) Erlandsson, J. 1998. Evolutionary ecology of the snails Littorina littorea and L. saxatilis: mating behaviour and habitat choice. PhD-thesis, Dept of Marine Ecology, Göteborg University.

10) Erlandsson J, Kostylev V. 1994. Mate searching in a marine prosobranch, Littorina littorea: trail following and fractal dimension of movement: Fourth International symposium on littorinid biology, Roscoff 19-25 September 1993. Cah Biol  Mar 35 (2): 244-245