Fish in food-webs: ecology & evolution of aquatic communities

Last changed: 14 September 2020

We link variation in body size and community composition to ecological and evolutionary dynamics in changing environments. In our research we combine dynamic models, experiments and analysis of long-term ecological data from lake, coast and open sea systems. More about our research & us.

Latest NEWS: congratulations Dr. Renee who successfully defended her thesis Sept 4th! And we welcome new members to the group!

Our research:


Size variation among siblings! 2-months old perch differ 40 times in weight, all from our pond for feeding experiments. Photo: Renee Van Dorst
The Biotest, a heated artifical bay where we study effects of warming in the Baltic Sea (access thanks to collaboration with Forsmarks kraftgrupp AB). Photo: Göran Hansson.
Perch lay their eggs on vegetation, here we gave them Christmas trees! Photo: Fredrik Landfors.
Making water brown, to simulate altered water color and warming, both caused by climate change. Photo: Renee Van Dorst
Perch eggs are hatched in aquaria with different water temperatures. Photo: Fredrik Landfors (left), Anna Gårdmark (right).

Read more (our publications)!

We are:

Anna Gårdmark, Professor

Anna Gårdmark is a curious food web ecologist, theoretician by training, who loves to collaborate to expand research possibilities and for fun!

Magnus Huss, Associate Professor

Magnus Huss, Associate Professor.

Renee Van Dorst, PhD

Renee van Dorst is a recently graduated PhD studying climate change impacts on fish populations and communities.

Viktor Thunell, PhD-student

Viktor Thunells is studying effects of global warming on exploited fish communities.

Jingyao Niu, PhD-student

Jingyao Niu, PhD-student

Jingyao Niu, PhD-student.

Torbjörn Säterberg, post-doc

Torbjörn Säterberg is a theoretically trained ecologist developing novel time series analysis tools for studying food web dynamics. His major research interests include fisheries management, regime shifts and dynamical systems.

David Gilljam, post-doc

David Gilljam is an ecologist with a background in computer engineering that have found his perfect scientific niche within the field of theoretical ecology. His research focuses on the effects of environmental variation and within and between species interactions on the dynamics, stability and functioning of ecological networks.

Aurélie Garnier, post-doc

Aurélie Garnier, post-doc

Aurélie Garnier.

Olivia Bell, MSc-student

Olivia Bell, MSc-student

Olivia Bell.

Elizabeth Duskey, guest post-doc

Elizabeth Duskey, guest post-doc

Elizabeth Duskey.


Follow us on @fishinfoodwebs on Instagram!


Max Lindmark, PhD-student 2015-2020    
Philip Jacobson, PhD-student 2015-2020    
Wojciech Uszko, post doc 2019    
Ulrika Beier, PhD-student 2013-2016    
Marian Torres, post-doc 2014-2016    
Gregoire Certain, post-doc 2014-2016    
Jens Olsson, post-doc 2009-2010    
Anssi Vainikka, post-doc 2006-2009    



Publications (see links for open access)

Gårdmark, A. & M. Huss. Individual variation and interactions explain food web responses to global warming. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society London Series B, accepted. (online in November)

Dee, L.E., Okamoto, D., Gårdmark, A., Montoya, J.M. & S.J. Miller. Temperature variability alters the stability and thresholds for collapse of interacting species. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society London Series B, accepted. (on BioRxiv)

Scharnweber, K. & A. Gårdmark. 2020. Feeding specialists on fatty acid rich prey have higher gonad weights: Pay-off in Baltic perch? Ecosphere, 11(8): e03234. doi: 10.1002/ecs2.3234.

Van Dorst, R.M., Gårdmark, A., Svanbäck, R. & M. Huss. 2020. Does browning‐induced light limitation reduce fish body growth through shifts in prey composition or reduced foraging rates? Freshwater Biology, 65: 947-959. doi: 10.1111/ fwb.13481.

Jacobson, P., Gårdmark, A. & M. Huss. 2020. Population and size‐specific distribution of Atlantic salmon Salmo salar in the Baltic Sea over five decades. Journal of Fish Biology, 96: 408-417. doi: 10.1111/jfb.14213.

Huss, M,. Lindmark, M., van Dorst, R.M., Jacobson, P. & A. Gårdmark. 2019. Large-scale experimental evidence of gradual size-dependent shifts in body size and growth of fish in response to warming. Global Change Biology, 5: 2285–2295. doi: 10.1111/gcb.14637

Lindmark, M., Ohlberger, J., Huss, M. & A. Gårdmark. 2019. Size-based ecological interactions drive food web responses to climate warming. Ecology Letters, 22: 778–786. doi: 10.1111/ ele.13235.

Van Dorst, R.M., Gårdmark, A., Svanbäck, R., Beier, U., Weyhenmeyer, G.A. & M. Huss. 2019. Warmer and browner waters decrease fish biomass production. Global Change Biology, 25(4), 1395-1408. doi: 10.1111/gcb.14551.

Jacobson, P., Bergström, U. & J. S. Eklöf. 2019. Size-dependent diet composition and feeding of Eurasian perch (Perca fluviatilis) and northern pike (Esox lucius) in the Baltic Sea. Boreal Environment Research, 24: 137-153. Access here.

Säterberg, T., Casini, M. & A. Gårdmark. 2019. Ecologically Sustainable Exploitation Rates – A multispecies approach for fisheries management. Fish and Fisheries, 20: 952–961. doi: 10.1111/faf.12390

Mugabo, M., Gilljam, D., Petteway, L., Yuan, C., Fowler, M.S. & S.M. Sait. 2019. Environmental degradation amplifies species’ responses to temperature variation in a trophic interaction. Journal of Animal Ecology, 88: 1657-1669. doi: 10.1111/1365-2656.13069.

Säterberg, T., Jonsson, T., Yearsley, J., Berg, S. & B. Ebenman. 2019. A potential role for rare species in ecosystem dynamics. Scientific Reports, 9: 11107. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-47541-6.

Karlsson, A.M.L., Gorokhova, E., Gårdmark, A., Pekcan-Hekim, Z., Casini, M., Albertsson, J., Sundelin, B., Karlsson, O. & L. Bergström. 2020. Linking consumer physiological status to food-web structure and prey food value in the Baltic Sea. AMBIO, 49: 391–406. doi:  10.1007/s13280-019-01201-1.

Kadin, M., Blenckner, T., Casini, M., Gårdmark, A., Torres, M.A. & S.A. Otto. 2019. Trophic interactions, management trade-offs and climate change: the need for adaptive thresholds to operationalize ecosystem indicators. Frontiers in Marine Science (section Global Change and the Future Ocean), 6: 249. doi: 10.3389/fmars.2019.00249.

Törnroos, A., Pecuchet, L., Olsson, J., Gårdmark, A., Blomqvist, M., Lindegren, M. & E. Bonsdorff. 2019. Four decades of functional community change reveals gradual trends and low interlinkage across trophic groups in a large marine ecosystem. Global Change Biology, 25 (4), 1235-1246. doi: 10.1111/gcb.14552.

Certain, G., Barraquand, F. & A. Gårdmark. 2018. How do MAR(1) models cope with hidden nonlinearities in ecological dynamics? Methods in Ecology and Evolution, 9:1975–1995. doi: 10.1111/2041-210X.13021.

Jacobson, P., Gårdmark, A., Östergren, J., Casini, M. & M. Huss. 2018. Size-dependent prey availability affects diet and performance of predatory fish at sea: a case study of Atlantic salmon. Ecosphere  9(1), e02081. doi: 10.1002/ecs2.2081

Lindmark, M., Huss, M., Ohlberger, J. & Gårdmark, A. 2018. Temperature-dependent body size effects determine population responses to climate warming. Ecology Letters, 21: 181-189. doi: 10.1111/ele.12880

Donadi, S., Austin, Å. N., Bergström, U., Eriksson, B. K., Hansen, J. P., Jacobson, P., Sundblad, G., van Regteren, M. & Eklöf, J. S. 2017. A cross-scale trophic cascade from large predatory fish to algae in coastal ecosystems. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, Biological Sciences, 284:20170045. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2017.0045

Griffiths, J.R., Kadin, M., Nascimento, F.J.A., Tamelander, T., Törnroos, A., Bonaglia, S., Bonsdorff, E., Brüchert, V., Gårdmark, A., Järnström, M., Kotta, J., Lindegren, M., Nordström, M.C., Norkko, A., Olsson, J., Weigel, B., Žydelis, R., Blenckner, T., Niiranen, S. & Winder, M. 2017. The importance of benthic-pelagic coupling for marine ecosystem functioning in a changing world. Global Change Biology, 23(6), 2179–2196. doi: 10.1111/gcb.13642

Svensson, F., Karlsson, E., Gårdmark, A., Olsson, J., Adill, A., Zie, J., Snoeijs, P. & Eklöf, J. S. 2017. In situ warming strengthens trophic cascades in a coastal food web. Oikos. 126, 1150–1161. doi: 10.1111/oik.03773

Torres, M.A., Casini, M., Huss, M., Otto, S.A., Kadin, M. and Gårdmark, A. 2017. Food-web indicators accounting for species interactions respond to multiple pressures. Ecological indicators, 77:67-79. doi: 10.1016/j.ecolind.2017.01.030

Casini, M., Käll, F., Hansson, M., Plikshs, M., Baranova, T., Karlsson, O., Lundström, K., Neuenfeldt, S., Gårdmark, A. & Hjelm, J. 2016. Dead zones, density-dependence and food limitation drive the body condition of a heavily exploited marine fish predator. Royal Society Open Science, 3, 160416. doi: 10.1098/rsos.160416.

Pekcan-Hekim, Z., Gårdmark, A., Karlson, A.M.L., Kauppila, P., Bergenius, M. & Bergström, L. 2016. The role of climate and fisheries on the temporal changes in the Bothnian Bay food-web. ICES Journal of Marine Science, 73 (7), 1739-1749.

Wikström, A., Knape, J., Casini, M., Gårdmark, A., Cardinale, M., Hjelm, J. & Jonzén, N. 2016. Fishing, reproductive volume and regulation: population dynamics and exploitation of the eastern Baltic cod. Population Ecology, 58, 199-211. doi:10.1007/s10144-015-0520-3

Sellman, S., Säterberg, T. and Ebenman, B. 2016. Pattern of functional extinctions in ecological networks with a variety of interaction types. Theoretical Ecology 9:83-94.

Bernes, C., Carpenter, S.R., Gårdmark, A., Larsson, P., Persson, L., Skov, C., Speed, J.D.M. & Van Donk, E. 2015. What is the influence of a reduction of planktivorous and benthivorous fish on water quality in temperate eutrophic lakes? A systematic review. Environmental Evidence, 4 (7). doi:10.1186/s13750-015-0032-9

Conversi, A., Dakos, V., Gårdmark, A., Ling, S., Folke, C., Mumby, P. J., Greene, C., Edwards, M, Bleckner, T., Casini, M., Pershing, A. & Möllmann, C. 2015. A holistic view of marine regime shifts. Philosophical Transactions Royal Society, Series B, 370 (5), 2013.0279

Gårdmark, A., Casini, M., Huss, M., Van Leeuwen, A., Hjelm, J., Persson, L. & de Roos, A. M. 2015. Regime shifts in exploited marine food-webs: detecting mechanisms underlying alternative stable states using size-structured community dynamics theory. Philosophical Transactions Royal Society, Series B, 370 (5), 20130262. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2013.0262

Olsson, J., Tomczak, M.T., Ojaveer, H., Gårdmark, A., Põlluma, A., Müller-Karulis, B., Ustups, B., Dinesen, G.E., Peltonen, H., Putnis, I., Szymanek, L., Simm, M., Heikinheimo, O., Gasyukov, P., Axe, P. & Bergström, L. 2015. Temporal development of coastal ecosystems in the Baltic Sea over the past two decades. ICES Journal of Marine Science, 72 (9): 2539-2548. doi:10.1093/icesjms/fsv143.

Huss, M., de Roos, A.M., Van Leeuwen, A. and Gårdmark, A. 2014. Facilitation of fisheries by natural predators depends on life history of shared prey. Oikos, 123:1071-1080.

Huss, M., Howeth, J.G., Osterman, J.I. and Post, D.M. 2014. Intraspecific phenotypic variation among alewife populations drives parallel phenotypic shifts in bluegill. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 284:20140275.

Möllmann, C., Lindegren, M., Blenckner, T., Bergström, L., Casini, M., Diekmann, R., Flinkman, J., Müller-Karulis, B., Neuenfeldt, S., Schmidt, J. O., Tomczak, M. T., Voss, R. & Gårdmark, A. 2014. Implementing ecosystem-based fisheries management – from single-species to integrated ecosystem assessment and advice for Baltic Sea fish stocks. ICES Journal of Marine Sciences, 71 (5): 1187-1197. doi:10.1093/icesjms/fst123

Östman, Ö., Karlsson, O., Pönni, J., Kaljuste, O., Aho, T & Gårdmark, A. 2014. Ecosystem changes and eco-evolutionary dynamics in body size of herring (Clupea harengus) in the Bothnian Sea. Evolutionary Ecology Research, 16: 417-433.

Peck, M.A., Neuenfeldt, S., Essington, T.E., Trenkel, V.M., Takasuka, A., Gislason, H., Dickey-Collas, M., Andersen, K.H., Ravn-Jonsen, L., Vestergaard, N., Kvamsdal, S.F., Gårdmark, A., Link, J. & Rice, J.C. 2014. Forage Fish Interactions: a symposium on "Creating the tools for ecosystem-based management of marine resources". ICES Journal of Marine Science, 71(1), 1–4.

Van Leeuwen, A., Huss, M., Gårdmark, A. and de Roos, A.M. 2014. Ontogenetic specialism in predators with multiple niche shifts prevents predator population recovery and establishment. Ecology, 95:2409-2422.

Bergenius, M. A. J., Gårdmark, A., Ustups, D., Kaljuste, O. & Aho, T. 2013. Fishing or the environment – what regulates recruitment of an exploited marginal vendace (Coregonus albula) population? Advances In Limnology, 64, 57-70.

Bernes, C., Carpenter, S.A., Gårdmark, A., Larsson, P., Persson, L., Skov, C., van Donk, E. 2013. What is the influence on water quality in temperate eutrophic lakes of a reduction of planktivorous and benthivorous fish? A systematic review protocol. Environmental Evidence, 2 (9). doi:10.1186/2047-2382-2-9

Gårdmark, A., Lindegren, M., Neuenfeldt, S., Blenckner, T., Heikinheimo, O., Müller-Karulis, B., Niiranen, S., Tomczak, M., Aro, E., Wikström, A. & Möllmann, C. 2013. Biological Ensemble Modelling to evaluate potential futures of living marine resources. Ecological Applications, 23(4), 742–754.

Huss, M., De Roos, A.M., Van Leeuwen, A., Casini, M. and Gårdmark, A. 2013. Cohort dynamics give rise to alternative stable community states. American Naturalist, 182:374-392.

Huss, M., Persson, L., Borcherding, J. and Heermann, L. 2013. Timing of the diet shift from zooplankton to macroinvertebrates and size at maturity determine whether normally piscivorous fish can persist in otherwise fishless lakes. Freshwater Biology, 58:1416-1424.

Olsson, J., Bergström, L. & Gårdmark, A. 2013. Top-down regulation, climate and multi-decadal changes in coastal zoobenthos communities in two Baltic Sea areas. PLoS One, 8(5), e64767. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0064767.

Säterberg, T., Sellman, S. and Ebenman, B. 2013. High frequency of functional extinctions in ecological networks. Nature 499:468-470.

Van Leeuwen, A., Huss, M., Gårdmark, A., Casini, M., Vitale, F., Hjelm, J., Persson, L. and de Roos, A.M. 2013. Predators with multiple ontogenetic niche shifts have limited potential for population growth and top-down control of their prey. American Naturalist, 182:53-66.

Byström, P., Huss, M. and Persson, L. 2012. Ontogenetic constraints and diet shifts: mechanisms and consequences for intra-cohort cannibalism. Freshwater Biology, 57:847-857.

Casini, M., Blenckner, T., Möllmann, C., Gårdmark, A., Lindegren, M., Llope, M., Kornilovs, G., Plikshs, M. & Stenseth, N.-C. 2012. Predator transitory spillover induces trophic cascades in ecological sinks. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 109(21), 8185–8189. doi:10.1073/pnas.1113286109

Faithfull, C.L, Huss, M., Karlsson, J., Vrede, T. and Bergström, A.K. 2012. Transfer of bacterial production based on labile carbon to higher trophic levels in an oligotrophic pelagic system. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, 69:89-93.

Gårdmark, A., Östman, Ö., Nielsen, A., Lundström, K., Karlsson, O., Pönni, J. & Aho, T. 2012. Does predation by grey seals (Halichoerus grypus) affect Bothnian Sea herring stock estimates? ICES Journal of Marine Sciences, 69(8), 1448–1456.

Huss, M., Gårdmark, A., van Leeuwen, A. and De Roos, A.M. 2012. Size and food-dependent growth drives patterns of competitive dominance along productivity gradients. Ecology, 93:847-857.

Kaneryd, L., Borrvall, C., Berg, S., Curtsdotter, A., Eklöf, A., Hauzy, C., Jonsson, T., Münger, P., Setzer, M., Säterberg. T. and Ebenman, B. 2012. Species-rich ecosystems are vulnerable to cascading extinctions in an increasingly variable world. Ecology and Evolution 2:858-874.

Lindegren, M., Dakos, V., Gröger, J. P., Gårdmark, A., Kornilovs, G., Otto, S. & Möllmann, C. 2012. Early detection of ecosystem regime shifts: a multiple method evaluation for management application. PLoS One, 7(7), e38410. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0038410

Mäntyniemi, S., Romakkaniemi, A., Dannewitz, J., Palm, S., Pakarinen, T., Pulkkinen, H., Gårdmark, A. & Karlsson, O. Both predation and feeding opportunities may explain changes in survival of Baltic salmon post-smolts. 2012. ICES Journal of Marine Sciences, 69(9), 1574-1579. doi:10.1093/icesjms/fss088.

Olsson, J., Bergström, L. & Gårdmark, A. 2012. Abiotic drivers of coastal fish community change during four decades in the Baltic Sea. ICES Journal of Marine Sciences, 69(6), 961-970. doi:10.1093/icesjms/fss072

Faithfull, C.L., Huss, M., Vrede, T. and Bergström, A.K. 2011. Bottom-up carbon subsidies and top-down predation pressure interact to affect aquatic food web structure. Oikos 120:311-320.

Gårdmark, A., Nielsen, A., Floeter, J., Möllmann, C. 2011. Depleted marine fish stocks and ecosystem-based management: on the road to recovery we need to be precautionary. ICES Journal of Marine Science, 68, 212-220.

Huss, M. and Nilsson, A.K. 2011. Experimental evidence for emergent facilitation: promoting the existence of an invertebrate predator by killing its prey. Journal of Animal Ecology 80:615-621.

Lindegren, M., Östman, Ö., Gårdmark, A. 2011. Interacting trophic forcing and the population dynamics of herring. Ecology, 92(7), 1407-1413.

Möllmann, C., Blenckner, T., Casini, M., Gårdmark, A., Lindegren, M. 2011. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder: management of Baltic cod stock requires an ecosystem approach. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 431, 293-297.

van de Woolfshaar, K., HilleRisLambers, R., Gårdmark, A. 2011. The effect of habitat productivity and exploitations on populations with complex life cycles. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 438, 175-184.

Huss, M., van Kooten, T. and Persson L. 2010. Intra-cohort cannibalism and size bimodality: a balance between hatching synchrony and resource feedbacks. Oikos 119:2000-2011.

Huss, M., Byström, P. and Persson, L. 2010. Growing through predation windows: effects on body size development in young fish. Oikos 119:1796-1804.

Huss, M., Byström, P. and Persson, L. 2010. Effects of ontogenetic scaling on resource exploitation and cohort size distributions. Oikos 119:384-392.

Österblom, H., Gårdmark, A., Bergström, L., Müller-Karulis, B., Folke C., Lindegren, M., Casini, M., Olsson, P., Diekmann, R., Blenckner, T., Humborg, C., Möllmann, C. 2010. Making the ecosystem approach operational – Can regime shifts in ecological- and governance systems facilitate the transition? Marine Policy, 34, 1290-1299.

Vainikka, A., Mollet, F., Casini, M., Gårdmark, A. 2009. Spatial variation in growth, condition and maturation reaction norms of the Baltic herring (Clupea harengus membras). Marine Ecology Progress Series, 383, 285-294.

Vainikka, A., Gårdmark, A., Bland, B., Hjelm, J. 2009. Two- and three-dimensional maturation reaction norms for the eastern Baltic cod, Gadus morhua. ICES Journal of Marine Sciences, 66, 248-257.

Huss, M., Byström, P., Strand, Å., Eriksson, LO. and Persson, L. 2008. Influence of growth history on the accumulation of energy reserves and winter mortality in young fish. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 65: 2149-2156.

Huss, M., Byström, P. and Persson L. 2008. Resource heterogeneity, diet shifts and intra-cohort competition: effects on size divergence in YOY fish. Oecologia 158:249-257.

Jørgensen, C., Enberg,K, Dunlop, E.S., Arlinghaus,R., Boukal, D.S., Brander, K., Ernande, B., Gårdmark, A., Johnston, F., Matsumura, S., Pardoe, H., Raab, K., Silva, A., Vainikka, A., Dieckmann, U., Heino,M., & Rijnsdorp, A.D. 2008. The role of Fisheries-Induced Evolution – Response. Science, 320:47-50.

Huss, M., Persson, L. and Byström, P. 2007. The origin and development of individual size variation in early pelagic stages of fish. Oecologia 153:57-67.

Jørgensen, C., Enberg,K, Dunlop, E.S., Arlinghaus,R., Boukal, D.S., Brander, K., Ernande, B., Gårdmark, A., Johnston, F., Matsumura, S., Pardoe, H., Raab, K., Silva, A., Vainikka, A., Dieckmann, U., Heino,M., & Rijnsdorp, A.D. 2007. Managing the World's Evolving Fish Stocks. Science, 318, 1247-1248.

Gårdmark, A., & Dieckmann, U. 2006. Disparate maturation adaptations to size-dependent mortality. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B, 273, 2185–2192.

Gårdmark, A., Jonzén, N., & Mangel, M. 2006. Density-dependent body growth reduces the efficiency of marine reserves. Journal of Applied Ecology 43, 61-69

Gårdmark, A., Dieckmann, U., & Lundberg, P. 2003. Life-history evolution in harvested populations: the role of natural predation. Evolutionary Ecology Research, 5, 239-257.

Gårdmark, A., Enberg, K., Ripa, J., Laakso, J., & Kaitala, V. 2003. The ecology of recovery. Annales Zoologi Fennici, 40, 131-144.

Jonzén, N, Cardinale, M., Gårdmark, A., Arrhenius, F. & Lundberg, P. 2002. Risk of collapse in the eastern Baltic cod fishery. Marine Ecology Progress Series 240, 225-233.

Jonzén, N., Lundberg, P. & Gårdmark, A. 2001. Harvesting spatially distributed populations. Wildlife Biology 7, 197-203.

Nilsson, J.-Å. & Gårdmark, A. 2001. Sibling competition affects individual growth strategies in marsh tit, Parus palustris, nestlings. Animal Behaviour 61, 357-365.


Anna Gårdmark, Professor
Department of Aquatic Resources, SLU, +46 10-478 41 25                                    

Magnus Huss, Researcher, Senior Lecturer
Department of Aquatic Resources, Institute of Coastal Research, SLU, +46 10 478 41 27

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