cold-water coral research in Sweden  

curriculum vitae

Most of my university studies I accomplished at the Universtiy of Stockholm, however, I moved across Sweden and did my Master project at the University of Gothenburg and the Dept. of Marine Ecology's field station at Tjärnö. I finished my Master during the spring semester in 2007, supplemented with some statistics, and got my final Degree of Master of Science with a Major in Biology 2009.

Mean while, during 2007-2009 I was working as a project assistant. First I continued working with the same project I did my Master within - looking at settling panels that had been deployed at the Saekken reef, comparing species composition and abundances on panels at different distances to live coral colonies. The project was initiated by Tomas Lundälv and Lisbeth Jonsson at the Tjärnö lab.

Ideas was beginning to emerge and I managed to get funding from the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency to test the method of mineral accretion (Hilbertz and Goreau, 1996) and the possibility to use this in cold-water coral habitat restoration. The experiments resulted in a paper (see publications below). Ideas continued to emerge and I ended up with ideas for a full PhD, but no funding. It took three years and ten applications, but finally, with the help of three prominent professors at the Tjärnö lab (Kerstin Johannesson, Per Jonsson, and Henrik Pavia), funding was granted and I could get myself into some serious deep shit...

I commenced my position as a PhD student in March 2011.

CV and Degree Certificate


Strömberg S.M., Goreau T.J., Lundälv T. (2010) Suitability of mineral accretion as a rehabilitation method for cold-water coral reefs. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 395:153–161



Extensive areas of the cold-water scleractinian Lophelia pertusa have been damaged due to the impact of bottom-trawling and natural recovery is slow or absent. Here I evaluate a method for coral reef rehabilitation intended to enhance coral transplant survival and growth, i.e. mineral accretion by electrolysis in seawater. Electrolysis in seawater produces a semi-natural substrate in the form of aragonite (CaCO3). The method has been used in coral reef rehabilitation programmes in tropical coral habitats but has so far not been tested in temperate deep-water habitats. A controlled laboratory experiment was performed to test the effect of the substrate per se and different levels of applied current densities (0.00-2.19 A m-2), including galvanic elements (Fe|Zn), on coral fragments attached to the cathodes. The studied responses were; growth rate, budding frequency, mortality, and general health status (degree of polyp activity). I found that the budding frequency differed significantly between treatments, with higher frequencies in low current density treatments. Significant differences were also found in the frequency distribution of calices displaying a growth of ≥2 mm yr-1, with higher frequencies in the lowest applied current density (LI), controls, and galvanic elements. Growth rates were slightly higher in LI, although non-significant. Zero mortality was observed in the control group as well as in LI. The degree of polyp activity was not affected by the treatments. These results are in part congruent with earlier studies and the method is found suitable for L. pertusa. The positive effects were mainly restricted to the lowest applied current density treatment (0.06 A m-2). The optimal current density level is hereby found to be considerably lower than levels used in previous studies and provide new guidelines for what levels to use in rehabilitation programmes with this method.