Each year, the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography honors an aquatic scientist whose research leads to the identification, analysis or solution of critical environmental challenges with the Ruth Patrick Award. The 2021 Ruth Patrick Award will be presented to Dr. Bo Gustafsson for his outstanding contributions to the understanding and management of eutrophication and hypoxia in the Baltic Sea. The award will be presented to Dr. Gustafsson at the 2021 ASLO Aquatic Sciences Virtual Meeting in June.
Gustafsson, currently director of the Baltic Nest Institute at Stockholm University’s Baltic Sea Centre in Sweden as well as faculty member at the Tvärminne Zoological Station (University of Helsinki), has worked for much of his career on developing numerical models of large-scale biogeochemical cycles and ocean circulation. In recent years, Gustafsson has been focused on better understanding nutrient fluxes and potential climate change impacts in the Baltic Sea region. He was a co-author of the NEST model, which has been the foremost modelling tool for studying nutrient loading and impacts in the Baltic Sea. Gustafsson has also studied oxygen distributions, the carbonate system, and phosphorus and iron cycling in the Baltic Sea in response to eutrophication.
In addition to his numerous scientific contributions, Gustafsson has spent the past decade working with regional policymakers and the public to protect the Baltic Sea environment. His efforts have directly contributed to policies on nutrient reduction schemes adopted by the Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission (HELCOM). Gustafsson’s work with the NEST model was critical to the development of the Baltic Sea Action Plan which sets recommendations and objectives to restore the Baltic Sea environmental quality. In addition to working with policymakers and governmental entities on many other projects, Dr. Gustafsson can frequently be found on Swedish radio, TV, and newspapers discussing the environmental threats facing the Baltic Sea region with the public.
ASLO President, Roxane Maranger notes, “Bo Gustafsson’s outstanding work on regional-scale nutrient modelling has been instrumental to the protection and restoration of the Baltic Sea. He is a true leader in the field and a brilliant example of how to work at the boundary of science and policy. His devotion to building consensus to protect the Baltic across many different cultures, shows a remarkable capacity to make the best available science applicable and accessible to society in an actionable way. This is a truly inspiring achievement.”