Jan Jansen

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Jan Jansen

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Room Desk 213.16 , IMAS Waterfront Building

+61 3 6226 6379 (phone)

Dr Jan Jansen is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies. He investigates how physical and biological factors influence the distribution of marine biodiversity, how marine biodiversity changes through time, and how new research tools can be used to study these relationships more precisely and effectively. His research primarily focusses on diverse seafloor communities in the deep waters around the Antarctic and Australia. Research tools include statistical models, qualitative network models and deep-learning algorithms.


Jan completed his PhD in Quantitative Antarctic Studies at UTAS in 2019 investigating spatial, temporal and structural patterns in the distribution of Antarctic seafloor biodiversity.

Before starting his current position as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at UTAS in March 2019, he has held various casual positions at UTAS focussing on field-work and teaching, and a short temporary full-time position as a quantitative ecologist at UTAS mapping the distribution of biodiversity on the seamounts of South Tasmania and creating an ecoregionalisation of the deep Great Australian Bight.

Career summary


DegreeThesis titleUniversityCountryAwarded
PhD The spatial, temporal and structural distribution of Antarctic seafloor biodiversity University of Tasmania Australia 16/08/2019
MSc (research) Colony- and fertility-specific characteristics of the cuticular profile of the bumblebee Bombus terrestris (Hymenoptera: Apidae) University of Freiburg Germany 15/03/2012

Languages (other than English)

  • German
  • French


Professional practice

Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS)

View more on Dr Jan Jansen in WARP


Marine ecology and biodiversity, species distributions, mapping biodiversity, predicting biodiversity changes, deep-sea ecosystems

Research Themes

Jan’s research aligns largely to the University’s research themes of Marine, Antarctic and Maritime. His research interests focus on better understanding how the diversity of marine life is distributed, using a wide range of multidisciplinary approaches. His research focusses in particular on the distribution of Antarctic seafloor biodiversity, where he is leading a large international collaboration to map the distribution of biodiversity on the entire Antarctic continental shelf. The biodiversity of the Antarctic seafloor has never been mapped before because only very little data are available and because the tools to do so were missing. However, Jan’s previous work has helped to now make this achievable and the maps once produced will have a major impact on our ecological understanding of the continent and on how decisions to manage and conserve Antarctica can be made.


Dr Jansen is currently involved in a large international collaboration to map the distribution of seafloor biodiversity on the Antarctic continental shelf. He has established and fostered collaborations with researchers from CSIRO, Geoscience Australia, the Australian Antarctic Division, the Alfred-Wegener Institute in Bremerhaven (GER), the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge (UK), the Sorbonne University in Paris (FR), the Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle in Paris (FR) and the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) in Wellington (NZ).


2017                      Best Student Publication 2017 Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies

2015                      1st prize AMSA Tasmania Conference Funding Awards

2014-2018           Tasmanian Postgraduate Scholarship & Elite Top-Up Scholarship

2008-2009            Erasmus scholarship awarded by the DAAD and the University of Freiburg

Current projects

Machine-learning assisted annotation of seafloor images:
In collaboration with computer scientists from the University of Tasmania, Dr Jansen is developing deep-learning models to assist the detection and classification of animals in seafloor images. This research aims to speed up annotation and reduce human errors in analysis, critical for addressing the current bottleneck that exist in translating raw seafloor images into biodiversity data for management and conservation.

Predicting biodiversity distribution on the Antarctic continental shelf:
Antarctic seafloor communities are unique and highly diverse, but their distribution is poorly known because biological data are sparse. This project aims to develop an international database of underwater observations to, for the first time, predict the distribution of seafloor biodiversity over the entire Antarctic continental shelf for the present day and 2100. These predictions depend on a unique and validated approach to estimate the present and future distribution of surface primary production to the seafloor, and will enable calculating the amount of atmospheric carbon captured and stored at the seafloor. The maps will be at an unprecedented resolution (~2 km), and be invaluable tools underpinning policy, management and future science.

Fields of Research

  • Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology) (310305)
  • Ecosystem function (410203)
  • Ecological physiology (310303)
  • Environmental sociology (441002)
  • Neural networks (461104)
  • Community ecology (excl. invasive species ecology) (310302)
  • Pattern recognition (460308)
  • Knowledge representation and reasoning (460206)

Research Objectives

  • Marine biodiversity (180504)
  • Biodiversity in Antarctic and Southern Ocean environments (180404)
  • Expanding knowledge in human society (280123)
  • Terrestrial biodiversity (180606)
  • Assessment and management of coastal and estuarine ecosystems (180201)
  • Effects of climate change on Antarctic and sub-Antarctic environments (excl. social impacts) (190503)
  • Animation, video games and computer generated imagery services (220501)
  • Information systems, technologies and services (220499)


Dr Jansen has written several papers, some of which have received attention in the popular media and on social platforms. Altmetric scores for three of his papers are in the top 5% of all research outputs tracked, reflecting the high public attention these papers have received. In particular, Dr Jansen’s research has received worldwide attention in the news for his paper in Nature Ecology & Evolution (Jansen et al. 2018), with articles published in English, Chinese, Spanish, Swedish, Indonesian and Australian news-outlets. Videos explaining the research and showing footage of the Antarctic seafloor were widely shared and viewed close to a million times on social media, with contributions from National Geographic, the Australian Academy of Science and Australia’s Science Channel.

Total publications


Journal Article

(6 outputs)
2021Alexander KA, Fleming A, Bax N, Garcia C, Jansen J, et al., 'Equity of our future oceans: practices and outcomes in marine science research', Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries pp. 1-15. ISSN 0960-3166 (2021) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1007/s11160-021-09661-z [eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Alexander KA; Fleming A; Bax N; Garcia C; Pecl GT; Shaw J; Syme G; Ogier E


2020Jansen J, Dunstan PK, Hill NA, Koubbi P, Melbourne-Thomas J, et al., 'Integrated assessment of the spatial distribution and structural dynamics of deep benthic marine communities', Ecological Applications, 30, (3) Article e02065. ISSN 1051-0761 (2020) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1002/eap.2065 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 2Web of Science - 2

Co-authors: Hill NA; Johnson CR


2018Jansen J, Hill NA, Dunstan PK, Cougnon EA, Galton-Fenzi BK, et al., 'Mapping Antarctic suspension feeder abundances and seafloor food-availability, and modeling their change after a major glacier calving', Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 6 Article 94. ISSN 2296-701X (2018) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.3389/fevo.2018.00094 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 8Web of Science - 5

Co-authors: Hill NA; Cougnon EA; Galton-Fenzi BK; Johnson CR


2018Jansen J, Hill NA, Dunstan PK, Eleaume MP, Johnson CR, 'Taxonomic resolution, functional traits, and the influence of species groupings on mapping Antarctic seafloor biodiversity', Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 6 Article 81. ISSN 2296-701X (2018) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.3389/fevo.2018.00081 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 6Web of Science - 6

Co-authors: Hill NA; Johnson CR


2018Jansen J, Hill NA, Dunstan PK, McKinlay J, Sumner MD, et al., 'Abundance and richness of key Antarctic seafloor fauna correlates with modelled food availability', Nature Ecology and Evolution, 2 pp. 71-80. ISSN 2397-334X (2018) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1038/s41559-017-0392-3 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 21Web of Science - 22

Co-authors: Hill NA; Sumner MD; Galton-Fenzi BK; Johnson CR


2016Jansen J, Pokorny T, Schmitt T, 'Disentangling the effect of insemination and ovary development on the cuticular hydrocarbon profile in the bumblebee Bombus terrestris (Hymenoptera: Apidae)', Apidologie, 47, (1) pp. 101-113. ISSN 0044-8435 (2016) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1007/s13592-015-0379-5 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 4Web of Science - 4



(1 outputs)
2019Jansen J, 'The spatial, temporal and structural distribution of Antarctic seafloor biodiversity' (2019) [PhD]

[eCite] [Details]

Other Public Output

(1 outputs)
2018Jansen J, Johnson CR, Hill N, 'Antarctic seas host a surprising mix of lifeforms - and now we can map them', The Conversation, The Conversation Media Group Ltd, Australia, 06 August (2018) [Magazine Article]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Johnson CR; Hill N


Grants & Funding

Dr Jansen has helped securing more than $700,00 in grant funding so far, including a $660,000 ARC Discovery Project grant (DP190101858) to map the distribution of seafloor biodiversity on the Antarctic continental shelf.

Funding Summary

Number of grants


Total funding



Seafloor geological characterisation of the Great Australia Bight submarine canyons, potential hydrocarbon seeps and volcanic sea mounts - Stage 2 (2018)$67,377
The project aims to build models to characterise and map the distribution of select ecological units in the GAB and on Tasmanian Seamounts to improve our spatial and ecological understanding of these systems and, in the case of the Tasmanian Seamounts, to inform the design of upcoming surveys.
CSIRO-Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation ($67,377)
Contract Research
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Hill NA; Jansen J

Research Supervision




PhDQuantifying and Predicting Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems (VMEs) on the Antarctic Continental Shelf2020