Scientific sections

DTU Aqua's scientific sections

The research and advisory tasks of DTU Aqua are covered by nine scientific sections:  


Centre for Ocean Life

Head of centre: Thomas Kiørboe, ph. +45 35 88 34 01, and Ken Haste Andersen, ph. +45 35 88 33 99,

DTU Aqua heads the Centre for Ocean Lifea VKR Centre of Excellence. The Centre brings together Danish marine research across disciplines and universities to develop a fundamental understanding and predictive capability of marine ecosystems. The goal of the centre is to develop a fundamental understanding and predictive capability of marine ecosystems. It brings together biologists, physicist, chemists, and mathematicians from three Danish universities, funds PhD and postdoctoral fellows, offers PhD summer schools, international workshops, and operates a Researcher Visitors Centre.  


Section for Oceans and Arctic  

Head of Section: Karen Edelvang, ph. + 45 35 88 34 06,

The section for Oceans and Arctic is focused on research in the marine environment. The research spectrum is broad covering marine ecology, oceanography, observation technology and the Arctic. 

The research in marine ecology has a special focus on populations and ecosystems. The general field is quantitative marine ecology, i.e. establishing how processes affecting individuals shape populations and ecosystems. Our focus is on fish, but not exclusively as we also include lower trophic levels, and species and environmental interactions when relevant.

The research into oceanography integrates biological, physical and chemical parameters’ interactions in the ocean, ranging from individual plankton to regional seas. We focus on understanding the key processes that govern the structure and function of pelagic food webs, as well as climate and ecosystem interactions.

Observation technology is a multidisciplinary activity aimed at integrating traditional methods in acoustics, optics and image analyzes to support research in the section as well as across DTU Aqua.

Our Arctic research is a regional component that goes across the other research disciplines in the section. It is based on a close collaboration with the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources, combined with other research projects. Focus is on increasing activity in the Arctic across the other research disciplines.


Section for Freshwater Fisheries and Ecology

Head of Section: Anders Koed, ph. +45 35 88 31 46,

The research of the Section for Freshwater Fisheries and Ecology is focused on the relation between environmental parameters and various fish species in streams, lakes and coastal areas. This includes investigations of natural and man-made impacts on the populations including the effects of habitat deterioration, physical obstructions, eutrophication of lakes and development of new lakes and wetlands. The human dimension is increasingly important in management of recreational fisheries and thus an important focus area. Further, the work of the section includes research on stockings of eel, trout and salmon as well as monitoring and evaluating the effects of the stockings.

The research results are used to give advice on how populations of freshwater and diadromous fish can be restored, preserved and exploited in a sustainable way while the interests of society are considered.


Section for Aquaculture

Head of Section: Per Bovbjerg Pedersen, ph. +45 35 88 32 56,

The research in Section for Aquaculture is focused on farming technology, water quality and reduced discharge and on feed, nutrition and physiology.

Research within farming technology covers recirculation systems, biofiltration, water quality issues, waste treatment and reduced environmental impact. The research aims at developing rearing systems and methods that ensure cost-efficient production with minimum environmental impact. The research focus is on recirculation, biofilter kinetics, water quality, waste treatment and environmental efficiency. Research initiatives within land based saltwater aquaculture and species diversification are also enclosed.

Research within fish feed bridges water quality/discharge and fish nutrition, where subjects like amino acid/protein digestion and utilization (N-excretion), use of plant based ingredients, enzyme activity and fatty acids are studied. Effects of water quality and rearing conditions on respiration and stress physiology are also investigated.


Danish Shellfish Centre 

Head of centre: Jens Kjerulf Petersen, ph. +45 61 22 24 29,

Danish Shellfish Centre (DSC) performs research in shellfish and seaweed production with a special focus on promoting sustainable production of shellfish and seaweed in order to provide healthy food products and ecosystem services. An important part of DSC’s activities is research into the functioning of coastal ecosystems and habitats both as basis for shellfish and seaweed production and in relation to environmental impact of the production. The Centre is located on the island of Mors in Limfjorden, which is home to most of the Danish shellfish industry. The research results from the Centre are to a large extent converted into practice by management and the industry. The Centre has access to a range of facilities suited for aquaculture production of lower level trophic organisms. Furthermore, Danish Shellfish Centre has a dissemination center used for ocean literacy activities, where students and the public can learn about marine biology and ecology and experience shellfish production. Danish Shellfish Centre merged with DTU Aqua in 2014.


Section for Monitoring and Data

Head of Section in Lyngby: Marie Storr-Paulsen, ph. +45 35 88 34 41, 
Head of Section in Hirtshals: Kai Wieland, ph. +45 35 88 32 76,

Section for Monitoring and Data is responsible for planning and data collection on scientific monitoring surveys and from the commercial fishery. The data collection is conducted using the Institute’s own research vessels and from commercial ships at sea and in fishing ports around Denmark. Data collection also covers environmental variables (physical and biological oceanography, plankton and fish larvae sampling).

The section is also responsible for the data processing and data support for assessments as well as research projects using both data from the Institute's own scientific surveys and fishery-dependent data as well as ecosystems data. These comprehend information on fish and shellfish species' biology such as identification and distribution, age readings, sex ratios and maturity determination. Time series of these data are provided for the assessment of fish and shellfish stocks and are an essential contribution for e.g. studies on the effect of climate change on marine fisheries resources.

The section contributes to the development of new observation technologies and provides maintenance of scientific equipment at sea with RV Dana and on shore. Furthermore, the section provides the vessel crew for RV Havfisken and other smaller research vessels.


Section for Marine Living Resources

Head of Section: Henrik Mosegaard, ph. +45 35 88 34 61,

The Section for Marine Living Resources focuses on population genetics, statistical stock assessment models and bio-physical modelling from individual to system. All lines are aimed at providing strong and operational scientific support for sustainable management of the marine living resources.

Research in genetics encompasses evolutionary processes responsible for the biodiversity within and among aquatic populations. DTU Aqua develops and uses state-of-the-art molecular genomic tools for genetic traceability, and managing local genetic resources. 

Advanced mathematical and statistical models of aquatic populations and systems are developed based on knowledge of individual behavior and life history, population structure and dynamics as well as ecological mechanisms derived from controlled studies, natural and data storage tags as well as fisheries and oceanographic data.  


Section for Ecosystem based Marine Management

Head of section: Anna Rindorf, ph. +45 35 88 33 78,

The Section for Ecosystem Based Marine Management conducts research in the direct and indirect effects of fishing activities on the marine environment. The aim is to develop knowledge and tools for use in a knowledge based ecological and economical sustainable management of fisheries. 

The section consists of four research areas, Marine habitats, Fisheries technology, Fisheries management and Ecosystem effects of fishing.

Research in the area Marine habitats concerns the role of habitats as nursery areas for fish. The focus is on maintaining or improving the conditions for fish which are important either commercially, in recreational fishing or in ecosystem functioning. As many habitats have been significantly influenced by human activities, methods for marine habitat restoration are investigated as is the development of area based management methods.

Fisheries technology research is centered on the efficiency, selectivity and environmental impact of the fishing process. Selective, gentle and efficient catch methods, which allow a more targeted fishery, are developed. The aim is to reduce unwanted bycatch of fish, marine mammals or seabirds and the impact on the marine environment while the efficiency and competitive abilities of the fishery is retained or improved. 

The research in Marine fisheries management creates a scientific basis for advice on the effect of different management measures. New management measures, such as limits to the amount of fish landed, closed areas and multiannual management plans are evaluated to determine their likely effect on the ecosystem and the value of the fishery.

Research in Ecosystem effects of fishing is focused on quantitative analyses of indicators and reference levels for fishing impact in relation to Good Environmental Status in the European Marine Strategy Framework Directive,  on the interaction between fisheries and marine mammals, seabirds and benthos, as well as on methods used when providing advice on management of marine ecosystems and activities.


Unit for Fish and Shellfish Diseases

Professor Niels Jørgen Olesen, ph. + 45 35 88 68 31,

The Unit for Fish and Shellfish Diseases conducts research on host-pathogen interactions, disease prophylaxis and pathogen characterization. The group gives research-based advice and is at the forefront on the development of diagnostic tools and preventive measures of diseases in fish, bivalves and crustaceans. 

Furthermore, the Unit  is appointed as the  European Union reference laboratory for Fish Diseases—and also for crustacean diseases from 1 July 2018—and as the OIE reference laboratory for the fish disease viral haemorrhagic septicaemia (VHS). OIE is the World Organisation for Animal Health. 

The research area Fish and Shellfish Diseases was transferred from the National Veterinary Institute (DTU Vet) to DTU Aqua in 2018. Organizational, it is part of the Public Sector Consultancy at DTU Aqua.
26 FEBRUARY 2020