Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association

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Mats Björk

Professor of Marine Plant Physiology


Prof. Mats Björk is regionally and internationally renowned for his research on eco-physiological processes in seaweeds and sea grasses. He has supervised a number of PhD and MSc students working in the region from Stockholm University, Eduardo Mondlane University and the University of Dar es Salaam.

Prof. Mats Björk was born in Stockholm, Sweden in 1960. He moved to Uppsala for university studies, and earned his doctorate degree there in 1992. In 1996, he took up a research position at Stockholm University, where he currently is Professor of Marine Plant Physiology.

His research focuses on marine plants and their productivity in both tropical and temperate environments, and how they are affected by environmental change such as pollution and ocean acidification. He has worked extensively with academic institutions in Africa, contributing his expertise in the bilateral marine cooperation programme between Sweden and Tanzania which he coordinates after pioneering its establishment in 1990.

He has sourced funds for research over the past 10 years to ranging from USD 190,000-350,000 per year from the European Union, Sida/SAREC and others and has organized 7 training courses and 2 symposiums in the region on algae, seagrasses and mangroves. In collaboration with co-workers and students, he started compiling material on the flora and fauna of marine plants of the region which culminated in the book “Marine Plants of Tanzania- A Field Guide to the Seaweeds and Seagrasses of Tanzania”, published after 11 years of work, in 2006.

Prof. Bjork feels that one of the most rewarding tasks of his career has been the mentoring of young marine scientists.

The other task is serving on the editorial board of WIOJMS an experience that led to his appointment as Associate Editor of the International Journal of Phycologia.