Nanodiv - Diversity and dynamics of marine small eukaryotes in changing seas

The aim of this project is to reveal the diversity and seasonal dynamics of small eukaryotes from Norwegian coastal waters.

Forstørret foto av alge

The haptophyte Chrysochromulina sp. from the Oslofjorden viewed in the scanning electron microscope. Photo: Wenche Eikrem, UiO.


The oceans are the largest habitat on our planet, and the study of marine biodiversity has been of special interest for many decades. In view of a massive, irreversible loss of biodiversity due to human activities and climate change, it is important to investigate the role of biodiversity in ecological processes and potential consequences of dramatic changes in biodiversity for the functioning of marine ecosystems. Moreover, environmental quality, sustainability and functioning of marine ecosystems are closely linked to the species richness, diversity and abundance. In terms of eukaryotic microbial diversity marine habitats are still poorly described and under-sampled.


The main objective is to reveal the diversity and seasonal dynamics of tiny eukaryotic phytoplankton and protozoans (protists) from the Norwegian coastal waters and clarify how the species composition, diversity and abundance are affected by environmental factors, including pathogens (viruses in particular). This will provide new knowledge on the dynamics and structure in the marine plankton community. 

About the project

We have collected samples from the Outer Oslofjorden monthly through two years and from two depths and analysed the picoplankton (0.8 -3 µm) and nanoplankton (3-45 µm) protist community by metabarcoding and microscopy, and the virus community by metabarcoding. We have compared high-throughput sequencing data with quantitative microscopy data to assess their ability to estimate relative abundance of taxonomic groups and species and usefulness in environmental monitoring and ecological surveys.


  • Diversity and dynamics of small eukaryotes in the Skagerrak
  • Marine virioplankton and relation with phytoplankton
  • Heterotrophic – autotrophic protists relationship


UiO-funded (Kunnskapsdepartementet)

Tags: diversity, dynamics, environment, metabarcoding, Oslofjorden, phytoplankton, protists
Published Jan. 10, 2017 1:13 PM - Last modified Nov. 25, 2020 2:43 PM