Bo Barker Jørgensen receives prestigious international award

On Friday night, The Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO) honours Danish Professor Bo Barker Jørgensen with the prestigious 2017 A.C. Redfield Lifetime Achievement Award at the Aquatic Sciences Meeting in Honolulu.

2017.03.03 | Peter Bondo Christensen

Professor Bo Barker Jørgensen, Head of Center for Geomicrobiology, Aarhus University, Denmark. Photo: Lars Kruse, Aarhus University

Bo Barker Jørgensen has participated in numerous research expeditions around the globe. Here he is in Svalbard. Photo: Bo Barker Jørgensen

Bo Barker Jørgensen is interviewed for national television on board the research vessel Greatship Manisha. Photo: Carol Cotterill, ECORD IODP Expedition 347 Baltic Sea Paleoenvironment.

Dr. Bo Barker Jørgensen receives the prize for his lifelong and groundbreaking work advancing our understanding of marine sediment microbial ecology and biogeochemistry. His work has ranged from surface sediments to the deep biosphere, several kilometers into the seabed.

“Jaw dropping” influence on science

In their press release, ASLO writes, “Bo Barker Jørgensen has led the way in advancing our understanding of the biogeochemistry and microbial ecology of marine sediments. His papers have been cited more than 32,000 times, with two of his papers having over one thousand citations each. Colleagues say these statistics are evidence of Jørgensen’s “jaw dropping” influence on science and a tribute to the huge impact of his lifelong work.”

ASLO also highlights Bo Barker Jørgensen’s early research on the sulfur cycle in marine sediments presented in a paper in 1977. The method he developed for determining the rate of bacterial sulfate reduction in marine sediments is still in use today and his paper is of one of the most highly cited papers in marine sediment biogeochemistry.


Another highlight in a long and illustrious science career is the collaborative work of Bo Barker Jørgensen and, then graduate student, Niels Peter Revsbech who is now a professor and colleague at Aarhus University, Denmark. During the late 70’s and early 80’s they used oxygen microelectrodes for the first time to measure the distribution of oxygen in sediments, “…shocking the scientific community with their discovery that oxygen penetrates only a few millimeters into coastal sediments. Their introduction of microelectrodes revolutionized our understanding of the distribution and dynamics of oxygen and oxidants in marine sediments,” ASLO writes in their nomination.


Bo Barker Jørgensen is famous, not only for developing techniques, instruments and for publishing influential papers, but the A. C. Redfield award also recognizes his efforts and achievements as a mentor.  Many of the young scientists he advised have established successful scientific careers of their own.

“The list of students, postdoctoral fellows and colleagues who have been mentored by Jørgensen reads like a virtual ‘who’s who’ of marine microbiology,” the nomination reads.

Establishing world-leading research centers

Bo Barker Jørgensen's vision for microbial research is credited by colleagues as central for the establishment of the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology in Bremen, Germany. Bo Barker Jørgensen served as director of the Institute from 1992 to 2011, and established it as a world leader in research on marine microbes.

In 2007, Bo Barker Jørgensen founded the Center for Geomicrobiology in Aarhus, where he has built an international team of leading scientists focused on sediments in the deep biosphere. “He and his team are ’providing fundamental and new insights into the nature of what may be the largest, yet least known, biosphere on Earth,’” it is written in the nomination.



The ASLO Lifetime Achievement award is given to those who have excelled in limnological and oceanographic research, education, and service to the community and society throughout a lifetimes work.

The prize was first presented in 1994 and has since 2004 been named after Alfred Clarence Redfield, an American oceanographer whose major discovery was the quantitative coupling  between nitrogen, phosphorus, and carbon found in marine plankton (phytoplankton), also known as the Redfield ratio.

Dr. Jørgensen is Professor and Head of the Center for Geomicrobiology at Aarhus University in Denmark. In his long career, Bo Barker Jørgensen has received numerous prizes and honours for his impressive work:

Fellow of the Geochemical Society, 2001

The G. Evelyn Hutchinson Award (ASLO), Savannah, USA, 2004

The ECI Prize, International Ecology Institute, Germany, 2004

Doctor of Honor, Univ. Southern Denmark, 2006

Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology, 2009

Fellow of the European Academy of Microbiology, 2009

The German Environmental Prize, 2009

The Jim Tiedje Award, International Society for Microbial Ecology, 2010

Holst-Knudsen Research Prize, Aarhus University, 2013

A. C. Redfield Award (ASLO), Honolulu, USA, 2017


Contact information:

Professor Bo Barker Jørgensen
Center for Geomicrobiology, Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University
Tel: +45 20 10 21 23 

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