Expertise Jeanine Olsen, RUG

Department of Marine Benthic Ecology & Evolution (MarBEE) Center for Ecological and Evolutionary Studies (CEES)University of Groningen (RUG)

The department’s research theme is “determinants of marine benthic diversity in space and time”. The lab focuses on questions related to population genetics, dispersal ecology, invasion biology and phylogeography of marine seaweeds (fucoids), seagrasses (Zostera spp.), demersal fish and corals. The Groningen group has extensive experience in the development of molecular markers for evolutionary and population-level questions in ecology. The move into ecological genomics began in 2005 with the construction of several EST libraries in Fucus and Zostera. Our goals are: 1) to develop new classes of selectively relevant markers (TAGs, SNPs)  to complement neutral markers (msats) to investigate adaptive population divergence; and 2) to develop comparative transcriptomics to experimentally investigate the role of stress (especially temperature, salinity and light) in natural settings.



  • qRT-PCR
  • cDNA
  • Converntional markers/genotyping (microsatellites, SSCP, RFLP)
  • New markers (SNPs, msat-associatedESTs)
  • Currently developing Agilant microarry with colleagues in Germany


  • Focus on: interaction between ecology and evolution of foundational species
  • Research objects: Seagrasses (marine angiosperm), fucoid seaweeds (multicellular protists in the same lineage as diatoms)
  • Main research discipline: Marine ecology, population biology, evolutionary biology

Project Topics:

  • Detecting footprints of selection in the intertidal: a population genomics project using EST-linked microsatellite loci in Fucus.
  • Gamete recognition genes and speciation in Fucus.
  • Understanding the flexibility of the coral-algal symbiosis on the Great Barrier Reef (Australia) as a mechanism to respond to environmental changes.
  • Mechanisms underlying the genetic structure of seagrass meadows: historical, stochastic events versus adaptation.
  • Inter-relationships between reproductive ecology, genetic structure and fitness in populations of the seagrass  Zostera noltii in the Wadden Sea.