professor Bastiaan Ibelings
Director of the Department F.-A. Forel for environmental and aquatic sciences and professor in microbial ecology
+41 22 379 03 13
I am a microbial ecologist with 30 years of experience in aquatic research and consultancy, with an emphasis on cyanobacteria, microalgae and parasitic chytrid fungi. Presently I am Ordinary Professor in Microbial Ecology at the Department for Aquatic and Environmental Sciences and the Institute for Environmental Sciences at the University of Geneva. My studies on phytoplankton biodiversity vary from the population to the community and whole ecosystem level. Whenever possible I integrate processes in ecology and evolution and my interests range from the evolutionary origin of new microbial species, all the way up to the importance of phytoplankton diversity for (alpine) lake ecosystem services. Identifying the ecological and evolutionary processes that determine plankton community assembly is an important pre-condition to understand and ultimately predict the effects of climate change on aquatic ecosystems. Because of the direct link between functional diversity and ecosystem functioning, our efforts are focused on studying trait diversity in plankton communities. I believe that the most recent developments in instrumentation and IT-technology will allow us to study environmental change where it unfolds, the lake ecosystem, at the fine temporal and spatial scales that are relevant to plankton. In this I work intensively collaborate with colleagues worldwide, united in the grassroots network GLEON, where I have been elected as co-chair. I am (co)author of over 100 peer reviewed publications and have written numerous reports on water management and lake restoration efforts. The biggest threat to aquatic systems worldwide is still eutrophication and part of my research efforts focuses on the consequences of harmful cyanobacterial blooms for the lake-foodweb and associated risks for humans. Previous positions I held included Senior Scientist at the Netherlands Institute of Ecology, Group Leader at Eawag and Program manager Lakes at the Netherlands Institute for Inland Water Management. I have (co)supervised more than 20 PhD students and (co)obtained the funding for all these projects. At the University of Geneva I teach different courses at the Bachelor level for students in Biology and Earth Sciences and I have developed new courses for the interdisciplinary Master – MUSE - taught within the Institute for Environmental Sciences.