Eco seaweed (ØKOTANG) - Ecological sugar kelp - industrial production of a new Danish bioresource

Sugar kelp, which is a new bioresource, becomes ever more popular in Europe. The greatest barrier for a financially viable production is the mechanisation of the method of cultivation. ØKOTANG will develop a resource-effective method for production of ecological kelp at an industrial scale. Production potential and the environmental effects will be documented and the results will create a basis for an ecological model. The model will be used to identify suitable areas for production and quantify the ecosystem services that production of kelp can provide to marine areas. The project is an industrial PhD supported by Innovation Fund Denmark between Hjarnø Havbrug, Orbicon A/S and Aarhus University, Department of Bioscience (2018-2021).
Contact: Teis Boderskov, industrial PhD student; Annette Bruhn, university supervisor; Marie Maar, co-supervisor.

NOVAGRASS - Innovative eelgrass restoration techniques

NOVAGRASS, funded by the Danish Council for Strategic Research, 2013-2017, develops novel techniques for reestablishment of eelgrass in coastal areas and explores costs and benefits of protecting and restoring eelgrass meadows. AU, Bioscience, contributes in particular with knowledge on eelgrass reproduction and how environmental variables affect reproduction. - Project manager Dorte Krause-Jensen.

The pan-arctic monitoring programme: Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Programme (CBMP)

Aarhus University together with the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources and the North Slope Science Initiative in the US are project leaders of the pan-arctic monitoring programme for ecosystems and biodiversity in the Arctic. CBMP is organized under the Arctic Council in the working group Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna and its main purpose is to cooperate about the monitoring of the arctic ecosystems and the arctic biodiversity. There are four monitoring plans in CBMP: the marine ecosystem, the coastal ecosystem, the freshwater ecosystem and the terrestrial ecosystem. CBMP publishes overviews and assessments about status and trends of relevant indicators and the next big assessment about the arctic marine ecosystems is expected to be finished in 2017. More information is available at Project leader Tom Christensen.



COCOA - Nutrient cocktails in coastal zones of the Baltic Sea

The objective of COCOA is to identify major pathways of nutrients and organic material in various coastal ecosystems around the Baltic Sea. Nutrients and organic matter are transformed and retained along the land-sea continuum, and COCOA will quantify how physical and chemical conditions as well as the biological components of the coastal zone affect the biogeochemical processes. We will investigate if transformation and retention processes may have changed over time, and how coastal ecosystem services are affected by these changes. As a result, COCOA will outline management responses to improve the ecological status for coastal ecosystems degraded by eutrophication. - Project manager Jacob Carstensen.




MAB4 will bridge the gap between research, innovation and market within the macroalgae sector. The goal is to establish seaweed cultivation as a Danish discipline for providing seaweed biomass for the business sectors of food and feed ingredients, and cosmetics. MAB4 will breed and mature sea-farmed crops of seaweed by improved and new cultivation methods in Danish and Faroese waters, with particular attention to seasonal development of algae bioactive substances and their conservation during harvesting and storage. The results from MAB4 will provide guidelines for stakeholders from industry and for future seaweed cultivation. Project manager Annette Bruhn.


MacroFuels aims to achieve a breakthrough in biofuel production from macroalgae. The targeted biofuels are ethanol, butanol, furanics and biogas. MacroFuels will develop technology for the production of fuels which are suitable as liquid fuels or precursor thereof for the heavy transport sector as well as potentially for the aviation sector. MacroFuels will scale up the production of macroalgae as well as the biorefinery processes. Macrofuels is a 4-year H2020 project. Project manager Annette Bruhn.

Intercalibration Danish waters

The purpose of the project is to make an intercalibration of chlorophyll a in the eastern part of the Baltic and in Kattegat between Denmark, Sweden and Norway in order to be able to determine the values of the classification of high-good and good-moderate boundaries of chlorophyll a. Furthermore, the project will contribute to EU technical reports about intercalibration of macro vegetation between Sweden and Denmark and Germany and Denmark. Finally, a technical note will be written with an overview of the processes and the work, in which AU/DCE has participated in relation to intercalibration. Project manager Jacob Carstensen.



Nuuk Flora and Fauna

The project is financed by the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources and is part of the basic monitoring of the Greenland Ecosystem Monitoring programme GEM – We are responsible for the monitoring of marine flora in Nuuk. We focus on the rockweed (Ascophyllum nodosum) which is a key species in the coastal areas and its growth in Greenland is stimulated by warming. Project leader Dorte Krause-Jensen.

MARFOR - Functional variability and dynamics of responses of marine forests to global change

Marine forests - forests of large brown algae/kelps – are hotspots for production and biodiversity. Global warming moves the northern distribution of the forests further north and thus affects the marine ecosystems. The aim of the project is 1) to understand the most important factors (adaptation, physiology, genetic biodiversity and connectivity), which support the ecological function of the forests and 2) use this information to model and predict effects of climate change on the ecosystem function of the forests and viewed in the light of these facts make suggestions for strategies for sustainable management of marine forests. Project leader Dorte Krause-Jensen.

Oxygen depletion model

The purpose of the project is to update the national oxygen depletion model which is used to describe the areal distribution of oxygen depletion in the inner waters (mainly Danish waters). The oxygen depletion model is used in connection with the preparation of the yearly oxygen depletion reports. There are a number of issues connected with the modelling which partly concern the model itself and partly the data (number of stations and measuring frequency) – the update concerns only the model part. The model describes the areal distribution of oxygen depletion by combing information about the oxygen profile (from the monitoring data) for a given locality with the depths in the area. The Danish Environmental Protection Agency /the Ministry of Environment and Food of Denmark funds the update of the model under the framework agreement with DCE.

Project leader Jens Würgler Hansen

MuMiPro: Mussel farming -mitigation and protein source for organic husbandry

The overall objective of MuMiPro is thus to develop and optimize new mussel production concept, i.e. producing mussels as an organic protein rich feedstuff for organic husbandry and as a tool to mitigate effects of excess loading of nutrients to coastal waters thus increasing sustainable production and job opportunities. MuMiPro will focus on new ways to produce mussels at as low costs as possible. Processing technologies will be developed in order to produce high quality feedstuffs at competitive costs resulting in new business plans for the production of mussels and feed ingredients. Scientific and administrative tools for optimal site-selection and prediction of the mitigation potential will be developed. Payment mechanisms for the nutrient uptake by mussel farms will be analysed and the effect of alternative design estimated. Mitigation mussel farming will provide a new business area with creation of jobs in rural areas. At the same time organic farmers will get access to new sustainable protein-rich feedstuff and environmental management will benefit from the development of a marine mitigation measure. Project runs in the period 2017-2020 and is financed by Innovation Fund Denmark.


Project leader Karen Timmermann

SeaStatus: Innovative Technologies for Quantification of Sea Status

SeaStatus will exploit the potential of combining novel and traditional measurement techniques with ecosystem modelling to improve the information basis for management. New routines for standardisation, integration and processing of large and differentiated data sets are required in order to extract the embedded information and integrate this into model-based decision support tools. Applying a broad range of classical and new statistical analyses, rooted in data mining and big data analytics, as well as grey-box and mechanistic modelling approaches, we will develop a framework for improved real-time description and predictions of the marine environment. The focus on adaptive management and easily accessible models that provide estimates of uncertainties and allow for risk assessments is new in ecosystem management. The vision is to support decisions and introduce adaptive environmental management. The beneficiaries of the project comprise both public institutions and private enterprises. Applying new cost-effective approaches is the key to maintaining and strengthening the strong Danish position in the world market and supporting Danish export of environmental knowledge and technology. Project runs in the period 2017-2020 and is financed by Innovation Fund Denmark.


Project leader Karen Timmermann

Seaweed now has focus on four species: Sugar kelp, sea lettuce, bladderwrack and dulse. Over the coming four years we will deliver essential results contributing to a thorough, balanced and sustainable management plan for our production systems on land and in the sea, with regard to marine spatial planning, as well as food and feed safety. The project gathers 27 partners from industry, authorities and knowledge institutions. We will collect and generate knowledge through focused experimental work, as well as exchange of existing and new knowledge across professional boundaries.

The project is funded by THE VELUX FOUNDATIONS and runs from 2017-2020. Senior researcher Annette Bruhn, Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University, is project leader.


INTAROS - Integrated Arctic Observation System -  is a large international project with 49 partners from 20 countries. The project runs from 2016 to 2021 and is financed by EU’s Horizon 2020 with 15.5 million €. The accelerating climate change in the Arctic calls for better and more coordinated data collection in the region in order to:

  1. improve our understanding of climate change and its consequences for the Arctic ecosystem
  2. be able to develop and improve the Arctic society and economies as well as respond to the harmful effects of climate change

AU’s role in the project is to contribute with knowledge from the Greenlandic monitoring programme, Greenland Ecosystem Monitoring, and by means of existing data and ecological models to study how the marine ecosystem – and especially commercial fish species – is affected by climate change.

Project manager: Mikael Kristian Sejr


This is the marine component of the climate monitoring programme in East Greenland situated at the research stations Daneborg and Zackenberg. Aarhus University together with the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources are responsible for collecting data every summer and have been doing this since 2003. The monitoring programme often involves research projects, master’s thesis and PhD projects. A list of research projects is available from the website of the Arctic Research Centre -

Project manager: Mikael Kristian Sejr

The coupling between fiords and the ice sheet

The melting of the ice sheet has accelerated dramatically during the last 20 years and the amount of meltwater, which has run into the Greenlandic fiords, has thus increased. During the last five years, we have studied the effects closely at the research stations in Daneborg and Nuuk. The objective of this project is to visit a number of new fiords in West and East Greenland to find out if the knowledge we have from the two monitored fiords is representative of other areas in Greenland. In 2016, the project made a long expedition in the area between Disko Bay and Upernavik and the plan is to do a similar expedition in East Greenland in the summer of 2018.

Project manager: Mikael Kristian Sejr