Background and activities
Current teaching and research fields
I am a biological oceanographer with strong interests in plankton ecology. My focuses are on phytoplankton-microzooplankton interactions and the role of heterotrophic protists in modulating and controlling phytoplankton blooms. Further, the transfer of matter and energy from one trophic level to the next and the role of micro-/protozooplankton (e.g. ciliates and heterotrophic dinoflagellates) as a trophic intermediary between microbial and traditional food webs are of major interest. In this context, I focus mainly on the top-down control of microzooplankton by consumers such as mesozooplankton and ichthyoplankton.
Further, predator-prey interactions in the plankton in relation to changes in abiotic conditions (e.g. temperature, light, nutrients) are major topics during my past and present research. Core questions of my current work is how climate change (global warming and ocean acidification) affects plankton diversity and marine food webs. While my main emphasis was originally on temperate marine ecosystems, the responses of plankton communities to future ocean conditions at low and high latitude regions are important aspects of my past and present research activities.
Approaches addressed range from field surveys to experimental marine ecology. To simulate future ocean conditions, small-scale laboratory experiments or large-scale indoor or outdoor mesocosms are set-up. The aim is to create near-natural conditions by using e.g. natural plankton communities and applying different stressors to the system (e.g. changes in temperature, pH, salinity, light or nutrients).
My main teaching activities at the Department of Biology at NTNU, take place within the Master program ‘Ocean Resources' (MSOCEAN) where I act as course responsible for BI3061/BI8061 ‘Biological Oceanography’. Further, I am involved in the BSc courses 'Marine Ecology' (BI2060) and 'Marine Biodiversity' (BI2036) at Department of Biology and the MSc courses 'Experimental Marine Methods' and 'Freshwater Ecology' (BI3037) at Department of Biology and 'Sustainable Use of Marine Resources' (TMR 4137) at Department of Marine Technology.
Past research activities
I studied biology with an emphasis on biological oceanography at Kiel University from 1994 to 2000. During my diploma thesis at the Max-Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology (Bremen, Germany), I focused on the responses of deep-sea benthic communities to a phytodetritus pulse using stable isotope techniques. Thereafter, I started a PhD project at the Max-Planck Institute for Limnology (Ploen, Germany) and the Alfred-Wegener-Institute Helmholtz Center for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) focusing on a comparison between microphytobenthic communities in marine and freshwater systems and on the role of benthic microalgae as food for consumers. After the completion of my PhD in 2004, I started a Postdoc position at the GEOMAR Helmholtz Center for Ocean Research in Kiel, Germany (2004-2006). During that time, I started to focus on planktonic systems with an emphasis on lower food-web dynamics and the impact of changes in abiotic conditions (e.g. temperature, nutrients). From 2006-2015 I worked as a research associate at the Biologische Anstalt Helgoland (BAH), Alfred-Wegener-Institute Helmholtz Center for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) where I focused mainly on food-web interactions in the plankton and especially the role of microzooplankton as a trophic intermediary between primary producers and consumers. Further, alterations in the planktonic food web resulting from changes in environmental conditions (e.g. global warming, ocean acidification) were of relevance during my past and present research.
Thomson Reuters ResearcherID: C-7366-2014
Research Gate profile: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Nicole_Aberle
ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3254-5710
Associate Editor of the journal 'Marine Biology' (Springer)
Scientific, academic and artistic work
A selection of recent journal publications, artistic productions, books, including book and report excerpts. See all publications in the database
- (2019) Seasonal dynamics of microzooplankton communities in the Sea of Oman (Arabian Sea). Aquatic Ecosystem Health & Management. vol. 22 (2).
- (2019) Community dynamics and barcoding of protozooplankton in the Trondheim Fjord, Norway. Genome. vol. 62 (6).
- (2018) Broad-scale distribution of the winter protozooplankton community in the North Sea. Journal of Sea Research. vol. 144.
- (2018) Dietary and seasonal variability in trophic relations at the base of the North Sea pelagic food web revealed by stable isotope and fatty acid analysis. Journal of Sea Research. vol. 141.
- (2018) Toxic algal bloom induced by ocean acidification disrupts the pelagic food web. Nature Climate Change. vol. 8.
- (2018) Plankton responses to ocean acidification: The role of nutrient limitation. Progress in Oceanography. vol. 165.
- (2017) Exploring the microzooplankton–ichthyoplankton link: a combined field and modeling study of Atlantic herring(Clupea harengus)in the Irish Sea. Journal of Plankton Research. vol. 39 (1).