Alf Norkko honoured with Royal Baltic Sea professorship

Alf Norkko from Tvärminne will receive the visiting professorship in Baltic Sea research which Stockholm University gave the King as a 70-year-gift. Professor Alf Norkko from Tvärminne Zoological Station at the University of Helsinki is an internationally renowned scientist in the field of ecological Baltic Sea research.

As a gift for King Carl XVI Gustaf's 70th anniversary in April 2016 Stockholm University appointed a visiting professorship for Baltic Sea research in the Kings name. The idea was based on the King’s great interest in Baltic Sea issues, and his special interest in the University's field station Askö Laboratory.

 – My decision to name Alf Norkko our Royal Baltic Sea visiting professor is particularly pleasing since he is from the University of Helsinki where we have a strategic partnership, says Stockholm University Vice-Chancellor Astrid Söderbergh Widding. Beside the fact that he is an internationally qualified ecologist who focuses on important Baltic Sea issues, it is also of importance that he already has established collaborations at our Askö Laboratory.

Diver and field-work enthusiast  

Alf Norkko is a professor in Baltic Sea research and has worked with seabed ecology in Finland, Sweden, New Zealand and Antarctica. He is particularly interested in understanding the role of biodiversity for how the sea works. He and his research team at Tvärminne specializes in carrying out large-scale experimental field studies, often by scuba-diving. The plan is to perform similar, comparative field studies and experiments at Askö, and also use the new vessel R/V Electra. The research will focus on the coastal environment. The role of seabed biodiversity is interesting.

 – This research will help us to understand how human activities affects the Baltic Sea, says Alf Norkko. Our ecosystem research combined with the Stockholm University expertise in ecosystem modeling and marine biogeochemistry will provide many answers to how the Baltic Sea works and how the ecosystem services that people depend on are produced.

Cooperation that creates added value

The new visiting professor will work part time at Stockholm University for four years, and have his workplace at the Baltic Sea Centre. He will participate with a lecture at the Baltic Sea Centre’s inauguration of R/V Electra af Askö on October 5th.

 – I look very much forward to this opportunity for further cooperation, and I hope to create added value for Baltic Sea research through the complementary expertise that exists at the two universities and their two field stations. It is important to create a solid knowledge base to support decision-making, for which basic research at top level is of key importance, concludes Alf Norkko.