Dr Jörg D Hardege

Reader in Chemical Ecology

Faculty of Science and Engineering


01482 465496

For almost 30 years, Dr Hardege has studied how animals use chemical signals.

Our understanding of senses has greatly improved, but our knowledge of the importance of smell and odour in animal, microbial and plant communication systems is still relatively weak.

This is challenging in the face of climate change with the reduction in the oceans' pH affecting marine organisms' ability to use chemical signals.

We currently have no realistic idea as to whether animal signalling systems can adapt or have the plasticity to overcome what is known as 'olfactory disruption'. Most of Dr Hardege's research focuses on this topic.


Research Interests

  • Behavioural ecology and ecophysiology

  • Aquaculture and pest control applications of chemical ecology

  • Analytical chemistry of natural products

  • Climate change and ocean acidification

  • Ecotoxicology

  • The timing of the reproductive process of marine invertebrates

  • The role of chemical signals in mate choice, kin recognition and reproductive isolation

  • Water splitting to create hydrogen

Research groups

  • Dr Hardege's chemical ecology research team comprises ecologists and physiologists as well as chemists. It applies research to ecologically relevant problems.

  • Collaborative project with Osnabrück University looking at the development of new catalysts to create hydrogen by splitting water – a technique with great potential to improve efficiency in alternative energy production.


Roggatz C C, Hardege J D, Lorch M and Benoit D, 'Ocean Acidification Will Alter the Structure and Function of Peptide Signaling Molecules', Global Change Biology, 22: 3914–3926 (2016)

Chang P, Augustin K, Boddum K, Sun M, Terschak J A, Hardege J D, Chen P E, Walker M C and Williams R S B, 'A Possible Therapeutic Mechanism for the MCT Ketogenic Diet in Seizure Control through AMPA Receptor Inhibition', Brain, 139:431-443 (2015)

Wäge J, Hardege J D, Chapman E C and Rotchell J M, 'Exposure to Low pH Induces Molecular Level Changes in the Marine Worm Platynereis Dumerilii', Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety, 124:105-110 (2016)

Schäfer H, Sadaf S, Walder L, Küpper K, Dinklage S, Wollschläger J, Schneider L, Steinhart M, Hardege J D and Daum D, 'Stainless Steel Made to Rust: a Water-Splitting Catalyst with Benchmark Characteristics', Energy and Environmental Science 8:2685-2697 (2015)

Schäfer H, Stangl J, Müller-Buschbaum K, Hardege J D, Sadaf S, Kuepper K, Wollschläger J, Walder L, Volf A, Ichilmann S, Akram W, Steinhart M and Dühnen S, 'Electro Oxidation of Ni42 Steel: a Highly Active Bi-Functional Electrocatalyst', Advanced Functional Materials, DOI: 10.1002/adfm.201601581 (2016)

Full list


Modules list

  • Sensory Physiology of Animals

  • Skills for Biologists

  • Chemistry of Life

  • Reviews in Biology

  • Ecotoxicology

Research PhDs

Dr Hardege welcomes MSc and PhD projects that deal with animal ecology and physiology, especially when research on animal olfaction is involved.

His research group also has a major interest in applied projects in areas such as aquaculture and pest control, developing sensor for animals, plant fitness and research related to the impacts of climate change (i.e. ocean acidification). These are encouraged, as are projects linking these to past extinctions or predicting future extinctions.

The group's work spans areas from behaviour to physiology, including molecular aspects as well as chemistry.

Completed PhDs 

Over the past 17 years, Dr Hardege's research group has hosted 10 PDRAs and more than 40 postgraduate students, most of whom are now in academic positions worldwide – including in China, the USA, Portugal, Uruguay, Germany, Ghana, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the UK.

Some 18 PhD research projects have been completed under his supervision, with all but one of these externally funded.

Current PhD supervisions 

Alsheikh N, Effects of Ocean Acidification Upon Nereidid Polychaetes (first supervisor)

Alnemarie A, Impacts of Phtalates (Plastisizer) on Nereidid Polychaetes (first supervisor)

Professional highlights

Academic qualifications

  • BSc Biology, University of Oldenburg, Germany

  • MSc (first class) Biology, University of Oldenburg, Germany

  • Dr. rer. nat. (first class, summa cum laude) Biology, University of Oldenburg, Germany

Professional highlights

  • Won a range of research awards at international conferences

  • Presented work at more than 50 institutions and conferences

  • Edited book articles and UNESCO Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems chapters

  • Head of Biological Sciences and member of Senate and University Court (2004–09)

  • Head of Admissions (2013–2016)