I currently conduct a long-term ecology study of one selected marine habitat in the Red Sea, Ras Mohamed National Park (Anemonecity: first image below). 1993 - continued: planned to continue until 2023.
In preparation: student textbook about coral reef fish ecology
with an emphasis on Red Sea fish. All images by Arvedlund. All rights reserved.
I have a broad range of interests in the field of marine ecology and aquaculture within (but not limited to) marine tropical fishes and their habitats.
In addition, I monitor and assess aquatic habitats.
I explore 1) how fishes detect their habitat and mechanisms of post settlement, and 2) the behavioral ecology of fishes and other animals living temporarily or permanent in cnidarians or sponges. 3) Develop rearing protocols for marine ornamental fishes.
I use field collections, observations and experiments in conjunction with laboratory experiments to address such questions as: how anemonefishes are protected from their host sea anemones; microhabitat use and behavioral patterns of juvenile reef fishes other than anemonefishes living temporarily in host sea anemones; the use of environmental chemical cues in reef fishes for the detection of their habitat when settling and post settling; the possible existence of chemical imprinting mechanisms in reef fishes and the anatomy and functional development of the olfactory organs in reef fishes.
Within long-term monitoring and assessment of marine habitats I have for severeal years (1993 - planned to continue until 2023) monitored, together with my students, selected habitats in the Northern Red Sea, and will continue this work for as long as possible. One result from this project was published in 2004. More results are planned to be published later. In Japan I have monitored several microhabitats over several years regarding tropical marine fish ecology and behavior. This research has resulted in several refereed publications.
Within marine ecology and aquaculture I focus on research of fish larvae; first feed, growth, nutrition, behaviour and senses. Within marine ornamentals I am particularly interested in research on the improved rearing protocols for the sustainability and propagation of this industry and on closing the life cycle of selected marine ornamental fishes. This research involves the publication of science papers and a new type of rearing manual: "Reef Fish Rearing in a Bucket", which will be the second from my hand. The first book, on coral reef ecology, was published recently in Denmark and has received highest distinctions in all reviews. An English version will be published later.
During my post doc position in Japan (2003-2006), I conducted the first detailed review, field observations and laboratory experiments on juvenile wrasse living temporarily in giant sea anemones co-existing with anemonefishes. This was then followed up by a similar study on Indonesian coral reefs. During this time I also provided the first evidence that a coral reef fish settling to a nursery, i.e. sea grass or a mangrove habitat, can use chemical cues to detect this habitat. Finally, I have shown that newly-metamorphosed coral gobies living in an obligate relationship with scleractinian corals contain a well-developed olfactory organ that enables this species to detect its host by the aid of chemical cues among several hundreds non-hosts when settling at night on the reef.
Recently it has been shown that some reef fishes “home” similar to salmons homing behavior. This behavior is most likely based on chemical habitat imprinting. By rearing thousands of anemonefishes, some batches deprived of the natural closeness to their host as embryos, I have shown for the first time anywhere that the anemonefishes Amphiprion ocellaris (“NEMO”) and A. melanopus imprint as embryos to chemical cues secreted from their host sea anemone and later use this imprinting as a mechanism for fast detection of a suitable host when settling at night to the coral reef.