New Department of Marine Sciences

1 July saw the creation of a new department at the University of Gothenburg: the Department of Marine Sciences.

The department brings together biologists, chemists, oceanographers, geologists and conservationists with a marine focus, and has around a hundred employees.

“I know we’re good, but when the department’s research was presented at our department days in early November I was reminded just how incredibly good we are, and how much breadth we represent,” says Head of Department Per Hall. “The department’s research covers everything from how the ocean moves to how new species of mollusc are formed.”

Per Hall, Head of the Department of Marine Sciences

Per Hall, Head of the Department of Marine Sciences

The aim of establishing the department was to strengthen cooperation between marine researchers at the university and to create a clearer profile.

“The University of Gothenburg’s infrastructure for marine research and education is unique, with two field stations and a new research vessel on the way. Now we want to take advantage of all these opportunities and develop our operations. Together with the new Centre for Sea and Society, we also want to increase collaboration with other organisations, businesses and authorities with marine links.”

Professor Hall is a marine biogeochemist, and his studies include processes in surface sediment. The Baltic Sea is usually oxygen-free, but around once every ten years there is an inflow of oxygenated salt water. The last time this happened was in early 2015. A new project will involve him and his colleagues studying what is happening in the Baltic Sea now that there is oxygen present, and comparing this with previous measurements from when the Baltic was oxygen-free.

“As the oxygen is gradually disappearing, there is reason to suspect that we will experience a worsened situation with nutritive salts since vertical mixing of sea water is made more difficult due to the stronger salt stratification. I look forward to working with this new project.”