• E-mailselina.vage@uib.no
  • Phone+47 55 58 44 57
  • Visitor Address
    Thormøhlens gate 53 A/B
    5006 Bergen
  • Postal Address
    Postboks 7803
    5020 Bergen

I am interested in microbial ecology and evolution, theoretical biology and complex systems. 

Based on principles that have been described in microbial communities, I am currently working on a theory that can explain conspicuous yet enigmatic scaling laws between biomass and productivity in diverse environments, including macro-faunal communities. More specificially, in this theory, sub-linear scaling laws between predator-prey and virus-host ratios arise along resource gradients from density dependent selection of traits that are governed by trade-offs between resource uptake affinities (competitive abilities) and resistance to top-down control (defensive abilities).

I am also using idealized models to understand what determines success in the microbial part of the pelagic food web. Pelagic SAR11 bacteria are the most abundant organisms on Earth, and 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.

Another field of interest are physical-biological interactions in marine environments, in particular how microbial and other planktonic communities in polar regions are shaped by oceanic currents, water mass distributions and seasonal dynamics.

Teaching in the following subjects:

  • Computational Viral Ecology and Evolution
  • Evolutionary Biology
  • Marine Microbial Ecology
  • Marine Biodiversity
  • General Microbiology
  • Scientific Writing/Research methods

Public outreach:

Blog on Arctic microbial field work

Interview with Ben Knowles


Google Scholar Profile Selina Våge

Articles in peer-reviewed journals:

  • Pourhasanzade F, Iyer S, Tjendra J, Landor L, Våge S (2022) Individual-based model highlights the importance of trade-offs for virus-host population dynamics and co-existence PLOS Comp. Biol doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1010228

  • Acevedo-Trejos E, Cadier M, Chakraborty S, Chen B, Cheung SY., Grigoratou M, Guill C, Hassenrück C, Kerimoglu O, Klauschies T, Lindemann C, Palacz A, Ryabov A, Scotti M, Smith SL, Våge S, and Prowe AEF (2022) Modelling approaches for capturing plankton diversity (MODIV), their societal applications and data needs Front. Mar. Sci. doi:10.3389/fmars.2022.975414

  • Sandaa R-A, Saltvedt MR, Dahle H, Wang H, Våge S, Blanc-Mathieu R, Steen IH, Grimsley N, Edvardsen B, Ogata H, Lawrence J (2021) Adaptive evolution of viruses infecting marine microalgae (haptophytes), from acute infections to stable coexistence. Biological Reviews doi:10.1111/brv.12795 
  • Knowles B, Bonachela JA, Behrenfeld M, Bondoc K, Cael BB, Carlson CA, Cieslik N, Diaz B, Fuchs HL, Graff J, Grasis J, Halsey K, Haramaty L, Johns CT, Natale F, Nissimov JI, Schieler B, Thamatrakoln K, Thingstad TF, Våge S, Cliff Watkins C, Westberry TK & Bidle KD (2020) Temperate infection in a virus-host system previously known for virulent dynamics. Nature Communications. doi:10.1038/s41467-020-18078-4
  • Thingstad TF, Våge S, Bratbak G, Egge J, Larsen A, Nejstgaard JC, Sandaa R-A (2020). Reproducing the virus-to-copepod link in Arctic mesocosms using host fitness optimization. Limnol. & Oceanogr. doi:10.1002/lno.11549
  • Thingstad, TF, Våge S (2019) Host-virus-predator coexistence in a grey-box model with dynamicoptimization of host fitness. ISME J doi:10.1038/s41396-019-0496-7 
  • Våge S, Bratbak G, Egge J, Heldal M, Larsen A, Norland S, Lund Paulsen M, Pree B, Sandaa R-A, Foss Skjoldal E, Tsagaraki T, Øvreås L, Thingstad TF (2018) Simple models combining competition, defence and resource availability have broad implications in pelagic microbial food webs. Ecol Lett doi:10.1111/ele.13122
  • Leles SG, Mitra A, Flynn KJ, Stoecker DK, Hansen PJ, Calbet A, McManus GB, Sanders RW, Caron DA, Not F, Hallegraeff GM, Pitta P, Raven JA, Johnson MD, Glibert PM, Våge S (2017) Oceanic protists with different forms of acquired phototrophy display contrastingbiogeographies and abundance. Proc R Soc B doi:10.1098/rspb.2017.0664
  • Sandaa R-A, Pree B, Larsen A, Våge S, Töpper B, Töpper JP, Thyrhaug R, Thingstad TF (2017) The Response of Heterotrophic Prokaryote and Viral Communities to Labile Organic Carbon Inputs Is Controlled by the Predator Food Chain Structure. Viruses 9:238 doi:10.3390/v9090238
  • Våge, S, Pree, B. and Thingstad, T. F. (2016) Linking internal and external bacterial community control gives mechanistic framework for virus-to-bacteria ratios. Environ. Microbiol. doi:10.1111/1462-2920.13391
  • Record, N., Talmy, D., Våge, S. (2016). Quantifying tradeoffs for marine viruses. Front. Mar. Sci. 3:251 doi:10.3389/fmars.2016.00251
  • Pree, B., Larsen, A., Egge, J.K. , Simonelli, P., Madhusoodhanan, R., Tsagaraki, T., Våge, S., Erga, S.R., Bratbak, G., Thingstad, T.F. (2016) Dampened copepod-mediated trophic cascades in a microzooplankton-dominated microbial food web: a mesocosm study. Limnol Oceanogr doi:10.1002/lno.10483
  • Mitra A, Flynn KJ, Tillmann U, Raven JA, Caron D, Stoecker DK, Not F, Hansen PJ, Hallegraeff G, Sanders R, Wilken S, McManus G, Johnson M, Pitta P, Våge S, Berge T, Calbet A, Thingstad F, Jin Jeong H,  Burkholder JA, Glibert PM, Graneli E, Lundgren V (2016) Defining planktonic protist functional groups on mechanisms for energy and nutrient acquisition; Incorporation of diverse mixotrophic strategies. Protist doi:10.1016/j.protis.2016.01.003
  • Våge, S. & Thingstad, T. F. (2015) Fractal hypothesis of the pelagic microbial ecosystem - Can simple ecological principles lead to self-similar complexity in the pelagic microbial food web? Frontiers Microbiol. 6:1357, doi:10.3389/fmicb.2015.01357
  • Thingstad, T.F., Pree, B., Giske, J. & 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. & 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

Articles published without peer-review:

  • Fransson A, Bluhm B, Arumi M, Assmann K, Bårnås Gravelle AM, Bratrein M, Buvik K, Chierichi M, Ciesielski T, Cristea Anca, Eikrem W, Espinel N, Gardner J, Gawinski C, Hellerud E, Koenig Z, Lennert K, Lockwood-Ireland C, Lundesgaard Ø, Marquardt M, Ntinou IV, Ortiz G, Palmesen M, Raffel B, Sanchez N, Schuppe BK, Sen A, Sletteng Garvang E, Steer A, Svensen C, Vader A, Våge S, Van Dihn K, Wold A, Ziegler A (2022) Joint Cruise 2-2 2021: Cruise Report The Nansen Legacy Report Series doi:10.7557/nlrs.6413 

  • Grigoratou M, Montes E, Richardson AJ, Everett JD, Acevedo‐Trejos E, Anderson C, Chen B, Våge S et al (2022) The marine biodiversity observation network plankton workshops: plankton ecosystem function, biodiversity, and forecasting—research requirements and applications. Limnol Oceanogr Bulletin doi:10.1002/lob.10479 

  • Våge S, Eilertsen M, Øvergård A-C, Berg F, Nylehn J (2019) Learning outcomes at master level in biology. Current expectations and guidelines for the future. Proc MNT-konferansen 3(1):107-111

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. (https://bora.uib.no/handle/1956/7894)

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. (http://munin.uit.no/handle/10037/2456)

SIMPLEX (leader)

CONFECT (leader)

VirVar (member)

NansenLegacy (member)

Aquacosm (member)

Research groups