Selina Våge






I am interested in theoretical and experimental microbial ecology and evolution, with a particular focus on virus-host interactions and ecological principles underlying diversity, structure and biogeochemical functioning of microbial food webs. 

In my early career, I have focused on conceptual models of the marine microbial food web to study what determines success of particular microbial strategies. For example, pelagic SAR11 bacteria are the most abundant organisms on Earth, and our research indicates that a combination of good competitive and anti-viral defense among different SAR11 strains may be key for their success. We also work on theoretical frameworks to explain inverse-rank abundance distributions of hosts and their viruses and link this to transfer efficiency of biomass from the microbial part of the food web to higher trophic levels. I also have a special interest in mixotrophic protists combining different foraging modes and understanding what regulates their success in the ocean. 

Trade-offs between fundamental life strategies, such as abilities to compete for limiting resources or defense against predation or parasitism, have been central in my theoretical work. In recent years, I have worked on methods to improve quantification of such trade-offs in living systems using infection and co-evolutionary experiments with pheontypic and genotypic characterizion of isolated virus-resistant host strains. 

For the future, I am interested in applying concepts of my research to study microbial communities in both natural and industrial settings, as well as to draw parallels to biological systems beyond microbes. For example, meta-data analyses suggest that biomass and productivity densities along resource gradients follow persistent scaling laws across ecosystems, which may arise from simple prinicples studied in my group (ongoing work). Also, understanding different microbial life strategies and what regulates success of particular taxa is highly relevant for management of microbial communities in industry, such as recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS). With this in mind, I envison to further work on integrating ecological theory with experimental work in different environmental settings. 



I am teaching in the following subjects:

  • General Microbiology
  • Computational Viral Ecology and Evolution
  • Evolutionary Biology
  • Marine Microbial Ecology
  • Marine Biodiversity
  • Scientific Writing/Research methods

Public outreach:

Animation on virus-host interactions

Blog on Arctic microbial field work

Interview with Ben Knowles

Vitenskapelig foredrag
Vitenskapelig artikkel
Faglig foredrag
Nettsider (opplysningsmateriale)
Vitenskapelig oversiktsartikkel/review

Se en full oversikt over publikasjoner i Cristin


Google Scholar Profile Selina Våge

Submitted articles:

Talmy D, Carr E, Rajakaruna H, Våge S, Willem-Omta A (submitted to Global Biogeochemical Cycles) Killing the predator: impacts of top- predator mortality on global-ocean ecosystem structure

Saltvedt M, Wang H, Lawrence J, Dahle H, Våge S, Edvardsen B, Bratbak G, Sandaa R-A. (submitted to PNAS) The paradox of virus-host coexistence

Landor L, Tjendra J, Erstad K, Krabberød A, Töpper J, Våge S (submitted to Envionrmental Microbiology) At what cost? Cost of bacteriophage resistance in Escherichia coli is mutation-dependent - Characterization of growth kinetics, protein synthesis and whole genome

Articles in peer-reviewed journals:

Tjendra J, Storesund J E, Dahle H, Sandaa R-A, Våge S (2023) Molecular evidence of parallel evolution in a cyanophage. PLOS One doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0281537

Landor L, Bratbak G, Larsen A, Tjendra J, Våge S (2023) Differential toxicity of bioorthogonal non-canonical amino acids (BONCAT) in Escherichia coli. J Microbiol Meth doi:10.1016/j.mimet.2023.106679

Pourhasanzade F, Iyer S, Tjendra J, Landor L, Våge S (2022) Individual-based model highlights the importance of trade-offs for virus-host population dynamics and co-existence PLOS Comp. Biol doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1010228

Acevedo-Trejos E, Cadier M, Chakraborty S, Chen B, Cheung SY., Grigoratou M, Guill C, Hassenrück C, Kerimoglu O, Klauschies T, Lindemann C, Palacz A, Ryabov A, Scotti M, Smith SL, Våge S, and Prowe AEF (2022) Modelling approaches for capturing plankton diversity (MODIV), their societal applications and data needs Front. Mar. Sci. doi:10.3389/fmars.2022.975414

Sandaa R-A, Saltvedt MR, Dahle H, Wang H, Våge S, Blanc-Mathieu R, Steen IH, Grimsley N, Edvardsen B, Ogata H, Lawrence J (2021) Adaptive evolution of viruses infecting marine microalgae (haptophytes), from acute infections to stable coexistence. Biological Reviews doi:10.1111/brv.12795 

Knowles B, Bonachela JA, Behrenfeld M, Bondoc K, Cael BB, Carlson CA, Cieslik N, Diaz B, Fuchs HL, Graff J, Grasis J, Halsey K, Haramaty L, Johns CT, Natale F, Nissimov JI, Schieler B, Thamatrakoln K, Thingstad TF, Våge S, Cliff Watkins C, Westberry TK & Bidle KD (2020) Temperate infection in a virus-host system previously known for virulent dynamics. Nature Communications. doi:10.1038/s41467-020-18078-4

Thingstad TF, Våge S, Bratbak G, Egge J, Larsen A, Nejstgaard JC, Sandaa R-A (2020). Reproducing the virus-to-copepod link in Arctic mesocosms using host fitness optimization. Limnol. & Oceanogr. doi:10.1002/lno.11549

Thingstad, TF, Våge S (2019) Host-virus-predator coexistence in a grey-box model with dynamicoptimization of host fitness. ISME J doi:10.1038/s41396-019-0496-7 

Våge S, Bratbak G, Egge J, Heldal M, Larsen A, Norland S, Lund Paulsen M, Pree B, Sandaa R-A, Foss Skjoldal E, Tsagaraki T, Øvreås L, Thingstad TF (2018) Simple models combining competition, defence and resource availability have broad implications in pelagic microbial food webs. Ecol Lett doi:10.1111/ele.13122

Leles SG, Mitra A, Flynn KJ, Stoecker DK, Hansen PJ, Calbet A, McManus GB, Sanders RW, Caron DA, Not F, Hallegraeff GM, Pitta P, Raven JA, Johnson MD, Glibert PM, Våge S (2017) Oceanic protists with different forms of acquired phototrophy display contrastingbiogeographies and abundance. Proc R Soc B doi:10.1098/rspb.2017.0664

Sandaa R-A, Pree B, Larsen A, Våge S, Töpper B, Töpper JP, Thyrhaug R, Thingstad TF (2017) The Response of Heterotrophic Prokaryote and Viral Communities to Labile Organic Carbon Inputs Is Controlled by the Predator Food Chain Structure. Viruses 9:238 doi:10.3390/v9090238

Våge, S, Pree, B. and Thingstad, T. F. (2016) Linking internal and external bacterial community control gives mechanistic framework for virus-to-bacteria ratios. Environ. Microbiol. doi:10.1111/1462-2920.13391

Record, N., Talmy, D., Våge, S. (2016). Quantifying tradeoffs for marine viruses. Front. Mar. Sci. 3:251 doi:10.3389/fmars.2016.00251

Pree, B., Larsen, A., Egge, J.K. , Simonelli, P., Madhusoodhanan, R., Tsagaraki, T., Våge, S., Erga, S.R., Bratbak, G., Thingstad, T.F. (2016) Dampened copepod-mediated trophic cascades in a microzooplankton-dominated microbial food web: a mesocosm study. Limnol Oceanogr doi:10.1002/lno.10483

Mitra A, Flynn KJ, Tillmann U, Raven JA, Caron D, Stoecker DK, Not F, Hansen PJ, Hallegraeff G, Sanders R, Wilken S, McManus G, Johnson M, Pitta P, Våge S, Berge T, Calbet A, Thingstad F, Jin Jeong H,  Burkholder JA, Glibert PM, Graneli E, Lundgren V (2016) Defining planktonic protist functional groups on mechanisms for energy and nutrient acquisition; Incorporation of diverse mixotrophic strategies. Protist doi:10.1016/j.protis.2016.01.003

Våge, S. & Thingstad, T. F. (2015) Fractal hypothesis of the pelagic microbial ecosystem - Can simple ecological principles lead to self-similar complexity in the pelagic microbial food web? Frontiers Microbiol. 6:1357, doi:10.3389/fmicb.2015.01357

Thingstad, T.F., Pree, B., Giske, J. & Våge, S. (2015) What difference does it make if viruses are strain-, rather than species-specific? Frontiers in Microbiology doi:10.3389/fmicb.2015.00320

Våge, S., Storesund E., J., Giske, J. & Thingstad, T. F. (2014) Optimal defense strategies in an idealized microbial food web under trade-off between competition and defense, PLoS ONE 9:e0101415 doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0101415

Thingstad, T. F., Våge, S., Storesund E., J., Sandaa, R.-A. & Giske, J. (2014) A theoretical analysis of how strain-specific viruses can control microbial species diversity. PNAS 111:7813-7818 doi:10.1073/pnas.1400909111

Mitra, A., Flynn, K. J., Burkholder, J. M., Berge, T., Calbet, A., Raven J. A., Granli, E., Glibert, P. M., Hansen, P. J., Stoecker, D. K., Thingstad, F., Tillmann, U., Våge, S., Wilken, S., & Zubkov, M. V. (2014) The role of mixotrophic protists in the biological carbon pump Biogeosciences 11:995-1005, doi:10.5194/bg-11-995-2014

Våge, S., Castellani, M., Thingstad, T. F. & Giske, J. (2013) Successful strategies in size structured mixotrophic food webs. Aquat. Ecol. 47(3)329-347, doi:10.1007/s10452-013-9447-y

Våge, S., Storesund E., J. & Thingstad, T. F. (2013) SAR11 viruses and defensive host strains. Nature 499:E3-E4, doi:10.1038/nature12387

Castellani, M., Våge, S., Strand, E., Thingstad, T. F. & Giske, J. (2013) The Scaled Subspaces Method: A new trait-based approach to model communities of populations with largely inhomogeneous density. Ecol. Model. 251:173-186, doi:10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2012.12.006.

Våge, S., Storesund E., J. & Thingstad, T. F. (2013) Adding a cost of resistance description extends the ability of virushost model to explain observed patterns in structure and function of pelagic microbial communities. Environ. Microbiol. 15(6):1842-1852, doi:10.1111/1462-2920.12077.

Våge, S., Basedow, S. L., Tande, K. S., & Zhou, M. (2011) Physical structure of the Barents Sea Polar Front near the Great Bank in August 2007. J. Mar. Syst. 130:256-262  doi:10.1016/j.jmarsys.2011.11.019

Articles published without peer-review:

Flynn KJ, Atkinson A, Beardall J, Berges JA, Boersma M, Brunet C, Calbet A, Caron D, Dam H, Glibert P, Hansen PJ, Jin P, Lomas M, Lønborg C, Mayor D, Meyer B, Millette N, Mock T, Mulholland M, Poulton A, Robinson C, Rokitta S, Rost B, Saiz E, Scanlan D, Schmidt K, Sherr E, Stoecker DK, Svensen C, Thiele S, Thingstad TF, Unrein F, Våge S (2024) Simulating Plankton - getting it right in the era of Digital Twins 46 of The Ocean; core features of plankton digital twins. Zenodo

Flynn KJ, Sherr E, Stoecker DK, Thingstad TF, Atkinson A, Beardall J, Boersma M, Bowler C, Calbet A, Dam H, Glibert PM, Hansen PJ, Jin P, Lomas MW, Lønborg C, Menden-Deuer S, Mock T, Needham D, Robinson C, Rokitta S, Rost B, Schmidt K, Thiele S, Våge S (2024) Simulating Plankton - getting it right in the era of Digital Twins of The Ocean; Building and challenging perceptions. Zenodo

Fransson A, Bluhm B, Arumi M, Assmann K, Bårnås Gravelle AM, Bratrein M, Buvik K, Chierichi M, Ciesielski T, Cristea Anca, Eikrem W, Espinel N, Gardner J, Gawinski C, Hellerud E, Koenig Z, Lennert K, Lockwood-Ireland C, Lundesgaard Ø, Marquardt M, Ntinou IV, Ortiz G, Palmesen M, Raffel B, Sanchez N, Schuppe BK, Sen A, Sletteng Garvang E, Steer A, Svensen C, Vader A, Våge S, Van Dihn K, Wold A, Ziegler A (2022) Joint Cruise 2-2 2021: Cruise Report The Nansen Legacy Report Series doi:10.7557/nlrs.6413 

Grigoratou M, Montes E, Richardson AJ, Everett JD, Acevedo‐Trejos E, Anderson C, Chen B, Våge S et al (2022) The marine biodiversity observation network plankton workshops: plankton ecosystem function, biodiversity, and forecasting—research requirements and applications. Limnol Oceanogr Bulletin doi:10.1002/lob.10479 

Våge S, Eilertsen M, Øvergård A-C, Berg F, Nylehn J (2019) Learning outcomes at master level in biology. Current expectations and guidelines for the future. Proc MNT-konferansen 3(1):107-111

PhD thesis:

Våge, S. (2014) Pelagic microbial food web organization. Extending the theory for structure and diversity generating mechanisms based on life strategy trade-offs. University of Bergen, Norway. (

M.Sc. thesis:

Våge, S. (2010) Structure and dynamics of the Barents Sea Polar Front near the Great Bank and associated plankton distribution in August 2007. University of Tromsø, Norway. (



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