Linnaeus University's cutting-edge research centre within ecology and evolution has been evaluated by an international group of reviewers. The group established that the centre carries out excellent research and plays an important societal role when it comes to dealing with future environmental and climate issues.
“The review group’s evaluation contains almost exclusively positive comments. It is quite unusual to receive this much cheer from a group of internationally renowned experts, and that’s good proof that what we are doing is important”, says Per Larsson, professor of marine ecology and one of the researchers at the centre.
The researchers within Linnaeus University Centre for Ecology and Evolution in Microbial model Systems, EEMiS, study the environments in and around the Baltic Sea. The research covers a wide range of topics – from the smallest microorganisms to fishes and birds.
Rapidly growing research centre
The development pace to becoming the strong research environment that EEMiS is today has been impressive, according to the group of reviewers. A total of 120 publications, many of which in highly-ranked international journals, and some 20 doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows who have been part of the centre during the past five years shows that it is an active environment, to say the least.
According to Per Larsson, the fact that the centre has experienced such great success in such short time is a result of the group being very diverse, regarding research interest as well as regarding nationality and age. “It is a creative environment with a lot of input from different areas. The younger researchers contribute to a constant development of new ideas and help ensure that we have the courage to think differently and in new ways”, Per Larsson continues.
Research with high societal relevance
The group of reviewers believes that the research being carried out within EEMiS contributes with important knowledge than can help society meet a number of future climate and environmental challenges. Some areas that are highlighted as particularly strong are sustainable fisheries, algal blooms, problems with dead bottom waters (anoxic sediments) spreading in the Baltic Sea, and the occurrence of pathogenic microorganisms.
“When it comes to the environment and the climate our future challenges are many. The scientific community can contribute with a lot, but we cannot solve everything. Today we know quite a lot about what needs to be done. The greatest challenge right now is to make reality of the research recommendations through political decisions. Many of the challenges we are faced with could actually be fixed if we could only bring about more efficient agreements across national borders”, Per Larsson concludes.
Some quotes from the evaluation report:
”The performance of EEMiS is excellent, and substantial synergies have evolved. The broad focus on marine microorganisms is of central importance to society for several reasons, for example sustainable fisheries, algal blooms, the widespread anoxic sediments (“dead bottom waters”) of the Baltic Sea, and the occurrence of pathogenic microorganisms, just to mention a few.”
”In summary, I find the outcome of the first period of EEMiS very exciting, and that it with no doubt meets the criteria for a successful Linnaeus University Centre. The plan for the second period is excellent.”
“The PIs at Linnaeus University were very well recruited and have now managed to turn their young centre into a leading national facility of science and education in aquatic microbial ecology and evolution, integrating a broad set of themes”.