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The University of Southampton
Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre Southampton

Dr Sven Thatje Dipl. Biol., Dr. rer. nat. (PhD)

Associate Professor in Marine Evolutionary Ecology

Dr Sven Thatje's photo

Dr Sven Thatje is Associate Professor in Marine Evolutionary Ecology within Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre Southampton at the University of Southampton.


I am an Ecologist studying the evolutionary history of life in aquatic environments. I am particularly interested in adaptions of life to <extreme> ambient conditions, such as prevailing in polar and deep seas. I test and develop ecological theory of global significance.

Honours and Awards

 News Feature in Nature

Research interests

Specialism: Evolutionary Ecology – Life in Extreme Environments

I am studying the evolutionary history of life in the sea, with special focus on eco-physiological adaptations in invertebrates to extreme ambient conditions of polar and deep-sea environments. In doing so, my research utilises a highly multidisciplinary approach and with the attempt to unify the natural sciences ranging from physiology, molecular biology, geology and geophysics within the encompassing field of Ecology. Traditionally, the emphasis of my research has been on the response of life to Antarctic conditions. More recently, my group started to focus on evolutionary patterns in the radiation and speciation of deep-sea invertebrates, i.e. from chemosynthetic environment, utilising prototype high-pressure technology. 
Within macroecological concepts, I am particularly interested in temperature-driven traits in invertebrate reproduction as a result of latitudinal shifts and/or short-term decadal oscillation (ENSO). Such knowledge I believe is important to understand better how life has evolved and how it endured past climate oscillations, as well as it allows predictions to be made for the future of marine organisms in a world of climate change.

A key facility in this work is the deepsea pressure lab.

Another key involvement is the ABYSS2100 project:

The Pressure Lab at work

Research Supervision

Supervision for postdoctoral researchers:

Katie Smith Climate change and predatory invasion of the Antarctic benthos

Supervision for postgraduate research students:

Graihagh Hardinge The macroecology of globally distributed deep-sea jellyfish

Danja Hoehn Why is Aurelia common? Examining the plasticity of a widespread bloom forming jellyfish

Luca Peruzza Effects of hypoxia on the ecophysiology of a caridean shrimp


Research group

Marine Biology and Ecology

Research project(s)


MIDAS Managing Impacts of Deep-seA reSource exploitation

Editor-in-Chief, The Science of Nature (formerly Naturwissenschaften):

Head of High Pressure Lab:

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Book Chapter





SOES 6008 Deep-Sea Ecology (Module Coordinator)

SOES 6051 Reproduction of Marine Invertebrates (Module Coordinator)









Dr Sven Thatje
Ocean and Earth Science University of Southampton National Oceanography Centre Southampton European Way Southampton SO14 3ZH United Kingdom Office Contact Mrs Rumyana Voutchkova, Administrative Officer (Research) / PA to Sven Thatje ph: +44 (0)23 8059 2009 fax: +44 (0)23 8059 3059
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