Photo: M. Troell/Azote

Photo: M. Troell

Marine theme

This theme aims to provide a broader and deeper understanding of the resilience and dynamics of marine social-ecological systems

Research within the marine theme looks at the dynamics of the marine social-ecological systems, and how they are connected to and shaped by processes acting at local and global scales. Research includes both tropical systems around Australia, Hawaii, the East coast of Africa and South East Asia, as well as temperate systems like the Baltic Sea.

Important research areas include:

- the dynamics of marine ecological feedbacks and regime shifts
- the management capacity of society and institutions
- emerging challenges
- exploring alternatives for sustainable development pathways

Topics include, for example, coral reef dynamics, governance of global, regional, national and local fisheries, sustainability of aquaculture, marine food web dynamics, social-ecological health assessments, and management implications of global trade dynamics and geopolitics.

The theme uses theories and methodological approaches from both natural science and social science. It critically seeks to improve and extend its analytic toolbox by continuously developing new transdisciplinary methodological frameworks. Researchers within the theme collaborate closely with several other themes at the Centre and leading international research institutes around the world, including Princeton and Stanford Universities, and the University of British Columbia.

Theme contact

Staff details

Theme contact

Theme contact

Max Troell



Maintained functional diversity in benthic communities in spite of diverging functional identities

Weigel, B., T. Blenckner, E. Bonsdorff

2015 - Journal / article

Ecological studies based on time-series often investigate community changes centered on species abundance or biomass but rarely expose the consequential functional aspects underlying such changes. Functional diversity measures have proven to be more accurate predictors for ecosystem functioning than traditional taxonomic approaches and hence gained much attention. There are only limited studies available that analyse the functional implications behind decadal changes of entire communities. We studied zoobenthic communities of two habitats, sheltered and exposed, of a coastal system subject to contrasting changes in community composition over the past four decades. Besides eutrophication and climate-related impacts, the system has been invaded by a non-native polycheate  Marenzelleria  spp., adding altered functional properties to the communities. The functional dispersion (FDis) metric was used as a measure for comparing the functional diversity of the contrasting habitats, with special focus on the role of  Marenzelleria  for the entire communities. We highlight changes in the functional identity of the communities, expressed as community-weighted means of trait expression (CWM), using multivariate techniques, and investigate the relationship between taxonomic and functional changes. Despite contrasting community developments in the two habitats, with characteristics traditionally suggesting different environmental quality, we found that the FDis in both habitats remained similar and increased with the introduction of  Marenzelleria . Although showing maintained functional diversity across time and space, the functional identity (CWM) of communities changed irrespective of taxonomical differences. Examples include inter alia alterations in palatability proxies, feeding position and sediment transportation types, indicating changed functionality of zoobenthos in coastal systems. We show, when focussing on qualitative functional changes of communities, it is important to evaluate the underlying functional identity, and not only rely on measures of the diversity of functions per se, as the quality indication of expressed functional traits can be concealed when using multi-functionality approaches.


Baltic Health Index

The Baltic Health Index is a regional study under the global Ocean Health Index framework. The aim is to provide a tool for decision-makers to guide management of the Baltic Sea region towards increased sustainability. Read more here

Sustainable Poverty Alleviation from Coastal Ecosystem Services (SPACES)

SPACES aims to understand the complex relationship between ecosystem services and the wellbeing of the poor in coastal Kenya and Mozambique. Read more here

Stockholm Resilience Centre is a collaboration between Stockholm University and the Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences

Stockholm Resilience Centre
Stockholm University, Kräftriket 2B
Phone: +46 8 674 70 70

Organisation number: 202100-3062
VAT No: SE202100306201