News & Events

General Information

Public Information



Research & Development

Library & Databases


External Links






Gunilla Toth


Herbivore-induced chemical resistance in seaweeds - effects of water-borne signals and increasing nutrients

Organisms with limited locomotion, such as plants, seaweeds, and sessile aquatic animals, often contain secondary metabolites that increase the resistance against consumers. The production of secondary metabolites can be induced if there are reliable environmental cues that organisms can sense and respond to. Nutrients can affect the production of secondary metabolites, but little is known about the effects of increased nutrient loading on inducible resistance in seaweeds. Furthermore, nutrient supply and consumer pressure have interactive effects on biodiversity in algal communities, which may be mediated by seaweed defensive metabolites. This project is aimed at elucidating the chemical nature, and physiological and genetic mechanisms behind herbivore-induced resistance in different seaweed species, and how increased nutrient loadings affect these responses, both in laboratory cultures and field populations. Furthermore, I will evaluate if seaweed defensive chemistry mediates the different effects of consumer pressure on biodiversity under differing nutrient regimes, and use seaweeds with different life histories as model organisms for studies on genetic variation and cost of secondary metabolite production.

Contact person: Gunilla Toth

Funded by: The Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences, and Spatial Planning (FORMAS).


Research area: Chemical Ecology

To my personal homepage