Selina Våge's picture
Post doctor
Visit Address: 
Thormøhlensgt. 53 A/B
5020 Bergen
Postal Address: 
Postboks 7803
5020 Bergen
+47 55 58 44 57
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I am interested in marine microbial ecology, evolutionary dynamics, mathematical ecology and oceanography. Currently I am working with theortical aspects of pelagic microbial food web structure using idealized models to understand pattern- and diversity generating mechanisms. A focus in this work is how trade-offs between different life strategies, such as strong abilities to compete for limiting resources, or strong defensive abilities against viral infections or predation, are fundamental to understand microbial community structure.

Recently, I have been working on the question of what determines success in the microbial part of the pelagic food web, with a focus on the discussion of why the highly abundant SAR11 bacteria are so successful. Our research indicates that a combination of good competitive and defensive abilities among different SAR11 strains seems key to success, rather than an extreme investment into either competition or defense.

Besides virus-host interactions, I have also a special interest in mixotrophic organisms combining different foraging modes and understanding when mixotrophy is a successful strategy in the ocean. Our work indicates that mixotrophs can under a variety of conditions successfully coexist with organisms specializing in a single foraging strategy, even at high costs of mixotrophy relative to specialized foraging. These theoretical results confirm findings of highly abundant and widespread mixotrophs in marine environments.

Teaching assistance in the following subjects:

  • Evolutionary Biology
  • Marine Microbial Ecology
  • Marine Biodiversity
  • Microbiology

Articles in peer-reviewed journals:

  • Thingstad, T.F., Pree, B., Giske, J. and Våge, S. (2015) What difference does it make if viruses are strain-, rather than species-specific? Frontiers in Microbiology doi:10.3389/fmicb.2015.00320
  • Våge, S., Storesund E., J., Giske, J. and Thingstad, T. F. (2014) Optimal defense strategies in an idealized microbial food web under trade-off between competition and defense, PLoS ONE 9:e0101415 doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0101415
  • Thingstad, T. F., Våge, S., Storesund E., J., Sandaa, R.-A. & Giske, J. (2014) A theoretical analysis of how strain-specific viruses can control microbial species diversity. PNAS 111:7813-7818 doi:10.1073/pnas.1400909111
  • Mitra, A., Flynn, K. J., Burkholder, J. M., Berge, T., Calbet, A., Raven J. A., Granli, E., Glibert, P. M., Hansen, P. J., Stoecker, D. K., Thingstad, F., Tillmann, U., Våge, S., Wilken, S., & Zubkov, M. V. (2014) The role of mixotrophic protists in the biological carbon pump Biogeosciences 11:995-1005, doi:10.5194/bg-11-995-2014
  • Våge, S., Castellani, M., Thingstad, T. F. & Giske, J. (2013) Successful strategies in size structured mixotrophic food webs. Aquat. Ecol. 47(3)329-347, doi:10.1007/s10452-013-9447-y
  • Våge, S., Storesund E., J. & Thingstad, T. F. (2013) SAR11 viruses and defensive host strains. Nature 499:E3-E4, doi:10.1038/nature12387
  • Castellani, M., Våge, S., Strand, E., Thingstad, T. F. & Giske, J. (2013) The Scaled Subspaces Method: A new trait-based approach to model communities of populations with largely inhomogeneous density. Ecol. Model. 251:173-186, doi:10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2012.12.006.
  • Våge, S., Storesund E., J. & Thingstad, T. F. (2013) Adding a cost of resistance description extends the ability of virushost model to explain observed patterns in structure and function of pelagic microbial communities. Environ. Microbiol. 15(6):1842-1852, doi:10.1111/1462-2920.12077.
  • Våge, S., Basedow, S. L., Tande, K. S., & Zhou, M. (2011) Physical structure of the Barents Sea Polar Front near the Great Bank in August 2007. J. Mar. Syst. 130:256-262  doi:10.1016/j.jmarsys.2011.11.019


PhD thesis:

  • Våge, S. (2014) Pelagic microbial food web organization. Extending the theory for structure and diversity generating mechanisms based on life strategy trade-offs. University of Bergen, Norway. (

M.Sc. thesis:

  • Våge, S. (2010) Structure and dynamics of the Barents Sea Polar Front near the Great Bank and associated plankton distribution in August 2007. University of Tromsø, Norway. (

Research groups