Sara Sjöling

Sara Sjöling

Associate Professor


+46 8 608 47 67 +4686084767

Natural Sciences, Technology and Environmental Studies


I am associate professor, docent, in microbial ecology and the Chair of Research Education in Environmental Studies. I am also the research leader of the microbial ecology group.

My research concerns ecological questions related to ecosystem functions and interactions of microbial communities with other communities and the environment. The research addresses how ecosystem functions and processes relate and respond to environmental change, particularly during eutrophication, hypoxia, pollution and climatic variation.

This includes studies of ecological systems of aquatic sediments and waters, in the Baltic Sea (BaltResponse External link. project funded by Östersjöstiftelsen) (Anammox, a missing piece of the nitrogen cycle, completed project) and the comparison with Arctic and Antarctic systems through an international and collaborative community sequencing project (CSP External link.) funded by the U.S. Dept of Energy Joint Genome Institute and linked to the Earth Microbiome Project External link. using tools such as environmental genomics, functional metagenomics and metaranscriptomics analysis.

The vast diversity of functional capacities of environmental bacteria provides a unique alternative source of novel compounds for environmentally sustainable processes. Biocontrol compounds for crop pathogens in agriculture, or enzymes useful in waste treatment, have been accessed by functional metagenomics, see e.g. the large scale EU project, the Metaexplore consortium (

I have an interest in interdisciplinary research combining ecological with social studies. With twenty years of experience of collaboration in Tanzania, Kenya and South Africa, through Sida funded projects External link, opens in new window., the collaborative interdisciplinary projects have focused on using different lenses to study the sustainability of community based natural resource management, but also the environmental reservoir in cholera outbreak and control.

As a Wenner Gren Fellow I transferred from Stockholm University to the University College of London in the UK and then to Södertörn University. Purdue University in the US, the Western Cape University in South Africa, University of Dar es Salaam and Technische Universität in Munich are other places where I have had the privilege to spend research time via collaborations.

Since then I have shared my time between research and teaching at undergraduate and graduate programs, mainly in environmental and developmental studies, with several assignments, including as a member of the University board at Södertörns högskola.

For information in Swedish about our research on Baltic Sea microbial communities and ecosystem functions see this by Södertörns högskola students (


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