Institut for Biologi

Aarhus University Seal / Aarhus Universitets segl

Kurt Thomas Jensen


K.T. Jensen
Se relationer på Aarhus Universitet



Research interests

 My main research is on the ecology of benthic animals in estuaries and intertidal areas. Apart from a general interest in processes controlling the structure and dynamics of benthic populations and communities, I have particular interest in: i) parasites in marine host populations and ii) the functional consequences of invasive species in shallow water ecosystems.

i) Trematodes in particular are diverse and abundant parasites in many marine gastrod and bivalve populations in shallow water systems. These invertebrates are typically intermediate hosts to many flukes using either fish or waterbirds as their final hosts. My studies of parasites in marine intermediate hosts deal with host effects, transmission-ecology and life-cycle plasticity. Mudsnails and cockles are my favored experimental organisms.

ii) Generally invasive species represent a serious threat to many local species and to the function of whole recipient ecosystems. During the last two decades the Pacific oyster (Magallena gigas) has spread to many Danish shallow water systems. Being an ecosystem engineer it may have great impact on structure and function of recipient ecosystems. In the Wadden Sea reefs formed by the Pacific oyster represent a new habitat type facilitating the establishment of other invading species. Currently we are studying two non-indigenous Asian Shore Crabs (Hemigrapsus sanguineus and H. penicillatus) now occurring in dense populations on oyster reefs.  In particular, their possible impact on recruitment of blue mussels (Mytilus edulis) could have negative consequences for other consumers in the Wadden Sea (Eiders, Oystercatchers, Shore crabs).

 Important results within the last decade: 

  • An understanding of haplotype diversity in trematode species in relation to the migration patterns of their final host (fish or waterbirds)
  • Identification of a new species of Razor shell (Ensis terranovensis) from Canada previously described as Ensis directus (now E. leei)
  • Patterns of haplotype diversity in cockle populations along a latitudinal gradient (from Morocco to Northern Norway)
  • Importance of biotic factors for transmission of fluke larvae between intermediate hosts
  • Recognition of the impact of trematodes to shellfish populations and the first observation of the trematode Monorchis parvus in cockles from Danish waters (a mystery given the missing final host)


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