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Gothenburg Global Biodiversity Centre

Newsletter May 2020

Fewer coffee breaks, but more walks outside? We hope everyone is taking advantage of the long hours of spring sunshine to explore their own backyard biodiversity. Next week is International Biodiversity Day, May 22nd, and we hope you take the time during the long weekend to dust off your binoculars, grab your flora and explore the natural world around you!

Need some inspiration? Check out our Facebook page for the latest biodiversity research and news from our partners, or go to the Biodiversity Day in Sweden webpage for information on biodiversity day activities.

Visit our Facebook page

Upcoming Events

Bird (c) Alexandre Antonelli

May 22nd: The International Day for Biodiversity

The International Day for Biodiversity is Friday, May 22nd. This year will undoubtedly be different as many physical events are cancelled. There are, however, still some places to visit to enjoy and learn about biodiversity around us, while still following national guidelines and recommendations.

Nordens Ark is open as usual but with distancing adjustments in place. During your visit, you can play "species bingo" and look for species found in the park, as well as wild Swedish species. Kids can also borrow an "explorer's backpack" and walk around the park as intrepid naturalists!

Havets Hus has a day filled with activities both indoors and outdoors, following the recommendations of the Swedish Public Health Authority. Come explore the biological diversity of the Swedish West coast!

Visit our partners on their Facebook pages for regular updates and interactive fun. You can explore exhibits via live-stream, watch gardening tutorials or find links to GGBC'ers talking biodiversity on the radio.
Visit the official Biodiversity Day in Sweden website to explore the in-person and remote events taking place on May 22nd!

Sea and Society Talk
Land2Sea: What will our future coasts look like?
Andreas Skriver Hansen, from the Department of Economy and Society and Matthias Obst, from the Department of Marine Sciences, University of Gothenburg. will present the research project Land2Sea. Land2Sea looks at the effects of coastal development, making models for three possible future scenarios: a development driven focus, a technology-based focus and a sustainability focus.
Venue: Zoom webinar
Date: May 19
Time: 12:05 – 13:00

Digital Seminar and Workshop: Biodiversity in Production and Retail

May 28th, 8:30-12:30
Audience: organisations in Western Sweden
Zoom seminar

Biodiversity is a key factor in sustainable development. But what challenges are production and retail faced with in incorporating it in their targets? This seminar hosted by Agenda 2030 i Väst together with GGBC will explore this topic. Researchers will speak about why biodiversity is important and how we can include it in our efforts to be more sustainable, followed by existing examples from the industry. You will also meet this year's winner of the WIN WIN Gothenburg Sustainability Award (not announced yet). The day will conclude with a workshop for biodiversity brainstorming among actors in Western Sweden.

This event will be held primarily in Swedish.


Find more information and sign up here

Call for Sessions at the Swedish Oikos Conference 2021

February 8th-10th, 2021
The Swedish Oikos Conference with a focus on ecological research has now opened open a call for sessions in their upcoming annual meeting in 2020. If you are interested in proposing a session, please send an e-mail to with the following:
  • Names and affiliations of the people proposing the session. 
  • A short paragraph describing the intended content. 
  • Suggestions for a potential keynote speaker. 
  • Give your e-mail the title: Oikos 2021 session proposal. 

Member News

Søren Faurby named Senior Lecturer in Zoological Systematics at the University of Gothenburg
Congratulations to Dr Søren Faurby on his new position as Senior Lecturer in Zoological Systematics at the department of Biological and Environmental Sciences!

Congratulations Dr Leon Green Ekelin

Leon Green Ekelin defended his PhD-thesis on the 17th of April. He held a great presentation that was followed by very interesting questions and discussions.

Leon's defense was one of the best-attended in department history: no less than 100 people tuned in for the defense via Zoom!
You can find Leon's thesis here

Licensiate defence on Biodiversity in Life Cycle Analysis

Well done on your defence "Towards inclusion of Biodiversity in Life Cycle Assessments" Emke Vrasdonk. Emke is a PhD student at the Dept. of Technology Management and Economics.

You can find Emke's thesis here

Alma Hodzic as expert advisor for WIN WIN youth award

Alma Hozdic, MSc-student in the NABiS program at the University of Gothenburg is the expert advisor for this years WIN WIN youth award, which has the theme biodiversity.

Read more here

Other News

Citizen Science Opportunity!
Help researchers safeguard the Koster Sea


Do you want to learn more about life in the sea, and also help researchers at the University of Gothenburg? 


At the new website Koster Seafloor Observatory, you (or your kids!) can assist scientists by watching snapshots of deep-water recordings and identify species in these short movies. The Koster Seafloor Observatory is an initiative created to better understand how climate change and human activities influence Sweden's marine ecosystems.

No experience necessary, and there is a tutorial to help you get started.

Read what the researchers behind it have to say about it here

Start identifying sea creatures!

Shark and ray breeding at Havets Hus

The breeding program for sharks and rays at Havets Hus are celebrating successes this month!

We're not the only ones in quarantine! Almost 50 lesser spotted dogfish, a small species of shark, have left their initial quarantine. A further 28 sharks have moved into bigger tanks. All of these sharks are part of a breeding programs, and will soon be released into the wild, contributing to the genetic diversity of lesser spotted dogfish on the West coast of Sweden.

The thornback rays have also just started to lay eggs (shown in the picture above): a good sign for this breeding project.

Image from
Naturally charismatic, 'flagship' species have distinct roles in their ecosystems
Robert Cooke, researcher at the Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, GU talks to Geographical Magazine about his study showing that species at threat from extinction often have irreplaceable roles in their ecosystems. The team also found a significant overlap between these ecologically distinct species and those that scored highly in public surveys of ‘willingness-to-pay for conservation’ and animal charisma.

Regardless of how you define them, biodiversity hotspots are in danger

New research in Nature Communications shows that defining the most important biodiversity hotspots depends a lot on the scale and biodiversity metric used. Researchers behind this study, including GGBC'ers Harith Farooq,  Søren Faurby and Alexandre Antonelli continue to point out that regardless of the methods used when measuring it, biodiversity hotspots are threatened.

See the news feature from the University of Gothenburg here

Member Research Highlights

Unravelling the Phylogenomic Relationships of the Most Diverse African Palm Genus Raphia (Calamoideae, Arecaceae)

Christine Bacon, Alexander Zizka and Alexandre Antonelli together with co-authors untangle the taxonomy of Raphia palms using a targeted exon capture approach and find that overall, morphologically based identifications agree well with the phylogenetic analyses showing that inflorescence morphology is phylogenetically useful.

Read more here
Functional diversity of marine megafauna in the Anthropocene

Daniele Silvestro and co-authors quantify the current functional diversity or marine mammals, predict future changes under different extinction scenarios, and introduce a new metric that identifies threatened species of particular importance for functional diversity. They identify species ranking high with the new metric and suggest a renewed focus on these species to preserve the ecosystem functions provided by marine megafauna.

Read more here
Megafauna decline have reduced pathogen dispersal which may have increased emergent infectious diseases

Søren Faurby and colleagues find that reduced pathogen dispersal following megafauna extinctions may have increased the emergence of zoonotic pathogens moving into human populations.

Read more here
Have you published recently using your GGBC affiliation? Email a link to the publication to Heléne Aronsson so GGBC can promote your paper!

The Gothenburg Natural History Museum has over 10 million objects in its collection out of which 10,000 are displayed in the permanent exhibitions. Pay them a visit!

The museum is open as usual but following the recommendations of the Public Health Authority to limit the number of visitors.

Contact information

Gothenburg Global Biodiversity Centre
Box 461, 40530, Gothenburg, SWEDEN
Copyright © 2020 University of Gothenburg, All rights reserved.

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