Ecological and Environmental Change Research Group

Research with EECRG

The major research aim of the Ecological and Environmental Change Research Group (EECRG) is to study ecological and environmental change over a range of temporal (10-10000 years) and spatial scales (small areas to continents).

A montage of images indicative of EECRG research activities

It attempts to set contemporary ecological and environmental patterns and processes in the context of longer time-scale variability. Its primary goal is to reconstruct the past, study the present, and model the future and to study, quantify, and understand the natural variability of ecosystems and the environment and the multi-layered and ever-increasing impact of human activity on ecosystems. There are both strong quantitative and qualitative components, close interactions between modern ecological research, cultural landscape ecology, palaeoecological and palaeoclimatological studies, and predictive modelling and spatial approaches, and hence major links between "pure" and "applied" science and societal and nature conservation concerns. It builds on the broad vision of ecological change and landscape history pioneered by Knut Fægri.

It is the only research group in Scandinavia where modern ecological processes and patterns, statistical modelling, quantitative data analysis, Quaternary palaeoecology, and environmental change are studied together, unified by common concerns for quantification, rigorous project design, explicit hypothesis testing, mechanistic understanding of observed patterns, and inter-disciplinary integration. Organisms studied include vascular plants, bryophytes, lichens, diatoms, chironomids, oribatid mites, pollen grains and spores, plant macrofossils (seeds and fruits), and bark beetles. Our research can be split into two main themes - climate-related and biodiversity-related. The EECRG benefits from recently upgraded facilities in our palaeoecology lab. EECRG members are also investigators in a number of NFR-funded projects (follow Projects tab above).

EECRG currently includes 8 faculty staff, 3 professor IIs, 3 emerita professors, 7 post-doctoral or research fellows, 10 doctoral students, and 4 MSc students within the Department of Biological Sciences as well as technical support. Because research on ecological and environmental change is strongly multi-disciplinary, the EECRG also has close collaboration with researchers at the Bergen Museum, the Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research, NORCE, Department of Geography, NiBio, and NINA. 

EECRG has ongoing research and scientific collaboration in Norway, throughout Europe, North America, Costa Rica, Patagonia, Greenland, North Africa, and the Himalaya. It has attracted research funding from, for example, NFR, European Union, NATO, Nordic Council of Ministers, Swiss National Science Foundation, and the UK NERC. It hosted three EU Marie Curie Training Sites and an EU Research Training Network.