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Lars-Anders Hansson


My research interests within aquatic ecology are very broad, but initially I focused on competitive interactions between periphyton, phytoplankton and macrophytes, which was also the theme of my thesis. During my research career, I have focused mainly on aquatic food web interactions and on habitat shifts from sediment to water by algae and zooplankton. Most of my studies have been carried out in southern Sweden, but I have also worked in USA, as well as in polar regions, such as Siberia, Alaska, Canada and Antarctica. In these high latitude lakes, food web complexity is very low allowing tests of theoretical predictions which would not have been possible in more complex food webs.

I´m currently involved in three research groups, dealing with:

  1. Phenotypic integration in the landscape of fear,
  2. Effects of climate change on freshwater ecosystems,
  3. Nanoparticles in the environment.

Phenotypic integration in the landscape of fear

The NanoBiologyLab where behavioral experiments are performed

A common response to a threat is to move or migrate away from it. Movements and migration of larger animals, like birds and fish, can relatively easily be tracked by devices such as satellite transponders and passive integrated transponder (PIT) tags. However, with respect to small organisms (1-3 mm), existing tracking methods are far from sufficient, and a major problem when studying small organisms is that many questions, which are easily addressed for larger animals, are not possible to investigate due to too heavy tracking devices for the organism to act naturally. This has indeed hampered research on small organisms and has led to that some research areas still resemble black boxes, such as diel vertical/horizontal migration in zooplankton, escape from threats such as ultraviolet (UV) radiation or predation, and size-structured dispersal. Our research group has therefore developed tracking methods using fluorescent nano-sized particles which are easily carried even by small (mm-scale) organisms without affecting their behavior. We are currently using this novel and unique technique to study zooplankton compromises in responses to multiple, simultaneous occurring threats and are also aiming at disentangling the eco-evolutionary dynamics between behavior and environmental drivers. This research is funded by the Swedish Research Council (VR).

Nanoparticles in the environment

The production of nano-sized (10-9) materials, e.g. in cosmetics, paint etc., has increased tremendously during recent decades and a majority of those particles reach aquatic ecosystems through our sewage systems. Since little is known about their effects, our group, consisting of researchers in chemistry and biology, have focused on how different nanoparticles affect organisms and the function of aquatic food webs. Our aim is to assess if nanoparticles will become a future environmental threat and, if so, which measures have to be undertaken to counteract the threat. This research is funded by FORMAS.

Daphnia instestine with nanoparticles passing cell wall

Effects of climate change on freshwater ecosystems

Aquatic ecosystems will in the future face simultaneous threats from several environmental drivers such as changes in climate and water color (“brownification”). These threats will not be independent, but will act in concert leading to unpredictable, non-intuitive and hitherto unknown synergistic effects on species interactions, ultimately affecting ecosystem functioning of aquatic systems and their usefulness as resources for humans. So far, few investigations have studied the interactive effects of such multiple environmental drivers on aquatic systems. Our research group is using a combination of field monitoring and large-scale experiments to improve our understanding of how our “future water” will function. This research was funded by EU BiodivERsA and was 2017 assessed by the funder as a “success story”.

Researchers at the climate experimetal set-up


Retrieved from Lund University's publications database



Retrieved from Lund University's publications database


Retrieved from Lund University's publications database

Page Manager:
Lars-Anders Hansson
E-mail: lars-anders [dot] hansson [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se


Aquatic ecology

+46 46 222 41 69