Stefan Bertilsson


Scientific Lead for Planetary Biology at SciLifeLab

Key publications

(1) Bravo, A.G., Peura, S., Buck, M., Ahmed, O., Mateos-Rivera, A., Herrero Ortega, S., Schaefer, J.K., Bouchet, S., Tolu, J., Björn, E., Bertilsson, S. 2018. Methanogens and iron-reducing bacteria: the overlooked members of mercury methylating microbial communities in boreal lakes. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 84:e01774-18.

(2) Bravo, A.G., Bouchet, S., Tolu, J., Björn, E, Mateos-Rivera, A., Bertilsson, S. 2017. Molecular composition of organic matter controls methylmercury formation in boreal lakes. Nature Communications. 8:e14255.

(3) Eiler, A., Mondav, R., Sinclair, L., Fernandez-Vidal, L., Scofield, D.G., Schwientek, P., Martinez-Garcia, M., Torrents, D., McMahon, K.D., Andersson, S.G.E., Stepanauskas, R., Woyke, T., Bertilsson, S., 2016. Tuning fresh: radiation through rewiring of central metabolism in streamlined bacteria. The ISME Journal 10:1902-1914.

(4) Logares, R, Lindström, ES, Langenheder, S, Logue, JB, Paterson, HP, Laybourn-Parry, J, Rengefors, K, Tranvik, L, Bertilsson, S. 2013. Biogeography of bacterial communities exposed to long-term environmental change. The ISME Journal 7:937-948.

(5) Alonso-Saez, L, Waller, A, Mend, D, Bakker, K, Farnelid, H, Yager, P, Lovejoy, C, Tremblay, JE, Potvin M, Heinrich, F, Estrada, M, Riemann, L, Bork, P, Pedros-Alio, C, Bertilsson, S. 2012. Role for urea in nitrification by polar marine archaea. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 109:17989-17994.

All publications

Stefan Bertilsson

Professor in Functional Ecology of Freshwaters and Director of the Swedish Infrastructure for Ecosystem Science (SITES). Field of research: (i) Aquatic Microbial Ecology, (ii) Biogeochemistry, (iii) Environmental Genomics and single cell methodology. Ongoing research projects on microbial transformation and cycling of Carbon, Nitrogen, Mercury and associated elements in freshwaters, oceans, and the deep terrestrial biosphere.


My research focuses on the role of microorganisms in nature and foremost their ability to transform and redistribute central elements (e.g. carbon, nitrogen, mercury). In my research group, we rely on a combination of molecular (DNA and RNA-based) methods, isotope tracers, and analytical chemical tools to understand processes such as nitrogen fixation, autotrophic carbon fixation, mercury methylation (and demethylation), and degradation of biopolymers and organic pollutants. We also study predation, symbiosis, and other interactions between microorganisms (microbial ecology) and their evolution. We work both experimentally in the laboratory and in the field (lakes, oceans) and study microorganisms in more exotic environments such as polar ecosystems and the deep terrestrial biosphere.

Scientific Lead for The SciLifeLab Planetary Biology Capability

Chair of the steering group for the National Genomics Infrastructure/SciLifeLab Genomics Platform

Last updated: 2023-12-28

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