Map from PhD thesis showing yearly averaged biomass of copepods. Graphic: Camila Serra Pompei.

PhD defence about trait-based models of plankton communities

Tuesday 17 Nov 20


Ken Haste Andersen
Professor, Head of Section
DTU Aqua
+45 35 88 33 99

On 27 November 2020, Camila Serra Pompei will defend her PhD thesis. The defence can be watched online.

Plankton play an important role in marine ecosystems. Plankton form the base of the food-web, fueling larger organisms such as fish. Furthermore, they remove CO2 from the atmosphere by contributing to the biological pump. In this process, atmospheric CO2 is first captured through photosynthesis. Next, part of this carbon, sinks to the bottom of the ocean in the form of excrements and dead organisms. Here, it remains sequestered from the atmosphere for hundreds to thousands of years. 

Climate change is altering plankton communities and associated ecosystem processes, such as energy transfer to fish and carbon sequestration. It is thus important to understand how the planktonic community will respond to climate change. 

PhD Student Camila Serra Pompei, DTU Aqua, and her colleagues have investigated the mechanisms driving the composition of the plankton community and associated ecosystem processes using mathematical models. The work is presented in the PhD thesis “Trait-based models of plankton communities: from individuals to ecosystem functions”.

Camila Serra Pompei has investigated how temperature affects microbial communities and shows that higher temperatures reduce carbon sequestration. Further, she presents a new modeling framework that improves the representation of zooplankton in plankton models. She uses the model to investigate the drivers of plankton community composition and the associated carbon export. Finally, the model is coupled to a global model of the oceans to investigate the role of zooplankton in driving carbon export efficiency at the global scale.

About the defence

Camila Serra Pompei will defend her PhD thesis "Trait-based models of plankton communities: from individuals to ecosystem functions” on Friday 27 November 2020 at 13:00 (CEST) via Zoom. Find link to Zoom in the box below.


  • Principal supervisor: Professor Ken H. Andersen, DTU Aqua
  • Co-supervisor: Professor Andy Visser, DTU Aqua
  • Co-supervisor: Professor Thomas Kiørboe, DTU Aqua


  • Associate Professor Marja Koski, DTU Aqua
  • Professor Dag L. Aksnes, University of Bergen, Norway 
  • Professor Andreas Oschlies, IFM-GEOMAR, University of Kiel, Germany

Chairperson at defence

  • Senior Researcher Patrizio Mariani, DTU Aqua
Learn more

A popular science summary of the thesis can be downloaded here

A copy of the thesis is available by e-mail. Please contact Karin Stubgaard,

Link to Zoom and guidelines for attending the defence

It is possible to attend Camila Serra Pompei’s defence on Zoom using this link:

Please, enter the meeting 10 minutes prior to the defence proceedings are scheduled to start. 

All participants are muted per default, but we ask you to double check that both camera and microphone are turned off at all times. 

There will be instructions regarding the proceedings in the beginning of the defence. After the members of the assessment committee have had time to raise their questions to the candidate, questions from the audience will be addressed if the remaining time allows for it.

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