Research Group Degen

Research Topic

Polar Benthic Ecology

Research Interest

The Arctic is warming about twice the rate than the global average, most prominently visible in the drastic decrease of sea ice extent and thickness. We are interested how these changes affect specifically the benthic macro- and megafauna communities. By applying a biological trait approach on a pan-Arctic scale we aim to get insight in the benthic functional variability, identify the functions and regions most susceptible to change, and predict benthic eco system functioning in a future, seasonally ice-free Arctic Ocean.

Dr. Renate Degen

Department of Limnology and Bio-Oceanography, University of Vienna



  • Univ.-Prof. Dr. Monika Bright (University of Vienna)
  • Prof. Dr. Bodil Bluhm (Arctic University of Norway in Tromsø)
  • Irina Zhulay, PhD Student (Arctic University of Norway in Tromsø)

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Monika Bright


Prof. Dr. Bodil Bluhm


Irina Zhulay

Selected Publications

  • Degen R & Faulwetter F (2019) The Arctic Traits Database – a repository of Arctic benthic invertebrate traits. Earth Syst. Sci. Data 11, 301-321. https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-11-301-2019
  • Degen, R., Aune, M., Bluhm, B. A., Cassidy, C., Kędra, M., Kraan, C., Vandepitte, L., Włodarska-Kowalczuk, M., Zhulay, I., Albano, P. G., Bremner, J., Grebmeier, J. M., Link, H., Morata, N., Nordström, M. C., Shojaei, M. G., Sutton, L. and Zuschin, M. (2018) Trait-based approaches in rapidly changing ecosystems: A roadmap to the future polar oceans. Ecological Indicators 91:722–736. doi: 10.1016/j.ecolind.2018.04.050
  • Degen R., Jørgensen L.L., Ljubin P., Ellingsen I., Pehlke H., Brey T. (2016) Higher Benthic Secondary Production in the Northern, Seasonally Ice-Covered Barents Sea. Marine Ecology Progress Series 564:1-16
  • Majaneva S., Peeken I., Choy E., David C., Degen R., Górska B., Jørgensen L., Kirievskaya D., Mazurkiewicz M., Narcy F., Richard J., Rastrick S., Kedra M., Berge J., Bluhm B. (2015) Marine Biodiversity: From Individuals to Pan-Arctic. ART Priority Sheets
  • Degen, R. (2015) The Future Arctic Biosphere – Environmental Drivers of Change in Arctic Benthic Biota (Thesis, University of Bremen)
  • Degen R., Vedenin A., Gusky M., Boetius A., Brey T. (2015) Patterns and trends of macrobenthic abundance, biomass and production in the deep Arctic Ocean. Polar Research 34, 24008, http://dx.doi.org/10.3402/polar.v34.24008
  • Kedra M., Moritz C., Choy E.S., David C., Degen R. et al. (2015) Status and trends in the structure of Arctic benthic food webs. Polar Research 2015, 34, 23775, http://dx.doi.org/10.3402/polar.v34.23775

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