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Robin Svensson

Biological invasions by exotic macroalgae: impact of chemical defences and consequences for biodiversity in new ranges.

The topic for my thesis is biological invasions, with particular interest in consequences of chemical defences on invasibility. My current projects involve the “Novel Weapons Hypothesis”, which predicts that species with allelopathic abilities will have a higher probability to invade new ranges. I have previously worked with experiments on effects of disturbance and productivity, and am still, to some extent, involved in projects on these topics.

I’m a 28-yearold marine biologist from the old workers neighbourhood, Majorna, in Gothenburg. Before joining the legions of science I had a most promising career as a musician and I also made major progress in the food processing industry.  My musical career as a drummer and singer in a blues band peaked at the age of fourteen and declined rather rapidly thereafter, but the advancements in the food processing industry lasted a bit longer. After achieving particular skills in marinating various food items I ended up spending most of my time under water, investigating random ecological stuff (i.e. mechanisms and processes). In contrast to a previously fairly active social life as an organizer of parties for students of science and also south shaolin Kung fu, the desolate and remote island that currently harbours me mostly allows explicitly antisocial activities, such as free-diving, underwater photography and bonding with my laptop. I do, however, still occasionally see other people during the weekly field-hockey battles and also at the sporadically arranged drinking sessions at the lab.  

Running projects:

  • Allelopathy as a mechanism of invasion by exotic macroalgae.
  •  Effects of chemical defences from exotic macroalgae on bacteria.
  •  Mutualisms between exotic and native macroalgae
  •  Mutualism between exotic macroalgae and native mesoherbivores as a mechanism of invasion


  • Maximum species richness at intermediate frequencies of disturbance: consistency among levels of productivity. Ecology 88: 830-838
  •  Equal rates of disturbance cause different patterns of diversity. Submitted
  • Physical and biological disturbance interact differently with productivity: implications for tests of ecological models. Manuscript
  •  Ambiguous hypotheses about biodiversity in ecological theory. Manuscript
  •  Effects of grazing and productivity on epibiotic assemblages of Fucoids. Manuscript
  •  Associated biota of exotic macroalgae. In preparation

My work is funded by:

  • FORMAS - The Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricutultural Sciences and Spatial Planning

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