Sara Sjöling

Sara Sjöling

Associate Professor


Professor in environmental science

+46 8 608 47 67 +4686084767

Natural Sciences, Technology and Environmental Studies


I am professor in environmental science. 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.

For example, this includes studies of carbon and nitrogen transformation in ecological systems of aquatic sediments and waters in the Baltic Sea (BaltResponse External link. project funded by Östersjöstiftelsen) and 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 also provides a unique alternative source of novel compounds for enzymes or environmentally sustainable processes, see e.g. the large scale EU project, the Metaexplore consortium (

I have an interest in inter- and transdisciplinary research combining ecological with social studies. With almost thirty 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.

I share 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.

Current research projects:

Response and recovery of benthic biodiversity andecosystemfunctions to chemical pollution and eutrophication Opens in new window.

Hydro-territorial Rights and Rural Sustainability in the Global South Opens in new window.


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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