Øystein Varpe » Members

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Øystein Varpe

Professor University of BergenDepartment of Biological Sciences
Address Department of Biological Sciences (BIO) University of Bergen Post box 7803 Bergen 5020 Norway Cell Phone: + 47 97 76 26 45 Website: Seasonal Ecology Group
Photo of Øystein Varpe

Research interests:

  • Evolutionary and Seasonal Ecology
  • Main aim: understand why we observe variation in life histories and behavior and how this variation influences interactions, populations and ecosystems.

I work in highly seasonal environments and study the scheduling of annual events and the trade-offs involved. Key traits: reproduction, energy storage, dormancy and migrations. What is the scope of state-dependent responses? What is the role of phenotypic plasticity versus evolution? Most of my work is on the ecology and evolution of birds, fish and zooplankton using mathematical models and statistical analyses of data. An important component of my work is to use the insights we gain to understand and predict how organisms respond to environmental variability and change, with pollution, harvesting and climate change as central stressors.

Student project opportunities:

If you find some of our research of interest and wish to do a student project (bachelor, master or PhD), please contact me for current opportunities or with own suggestions. Examples of past master students:

  • Marine Cusa (2016) The effect of seasonality on polar cod (Boreogadus saida) dietary habits and temporal feeding strategies in Svalbard waters.
  • Tom Jasper Langbehn (2015) Feeding success in an extreme-light environment: modelling seasonal prey encounter of Arctic fish.
  • Caitlin Frankish (2015) A meta-ecosystem model: seabirds as vectors
  • Samuel Louis Eglund Newby (2015) Feeding activity and diet of Arctic and boreal fish species during the polar night
  • Zofia Burr (2014) Breeding later at higher latitudes: explaining seabird reproductive timing in the northeastern Atlantic.
  • Jordan Grigor (2011) An investigation into strategies of protandrous emergence and arrival in Calanus spp.
  • Beke Regelin (2011) Purple sandpipers (Calidris maritima) feeding in an Arctic estuary: tidal cycle and seasonal dynamics in abundance.
  • Allison Bailey (2010) Lipids and diapause in Calanus spp. in a high-Arctic fjord: state-dependent strategies?
  • Anika Beiersdorf (2009) Foraging trip duration in relation to body mass: are little auks heavier following longer or shorter trips?

Please also visit the Seasonal Ecology Group – an umbrella for my work and supervision.

Running national and international projects (some expamples):

  • SEATIME – Timing of reproduction in seabirds: large-scale comparisons, and links to population dynamics, climate and lower trophic levels. (Fram Centre Flagship Project).
  • Numerical competence and student-active research (Thon stiftelsen)
  • Stochastic fluctuations and the evolution of zooplankton life histories in high latitude marine ecosystems (Polish Research Council)

Peer reviewed publications (see also Google Scholar or ResearchGate):

Selected popular science and outreach:


Fulbright Arctic Initiative Scholar 2015-2016

Video of talk on ecological consequences of sea ice changes in the Arctic.