07/15/2019 | short news | Katharina Bunk

IGB Acting Director Mark Gessner Receives Honorary Doctorate

The Université Toulouse III Paul Sabatier has awarded an honorary doctorate to Professor Dr. Mark Gessner for his scientific achievements in limnology. Mark Gessner and his partners in Toulouse can look back on 30 years of collaborative research. Together with other scientists in Europe, they have undertaken pioneering work on leaf litter breakdown in freshwater ecosystems – one of the most important processes in the biosphere, next to the production of plant biomass. Many of his publications on leaf litter in freshwater ecosystems have since become seminal papers in the pertinent literature.

Mark Gessner has been working at the Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB) and the Technische Universität Berlin (TU) since 2011. | Photo: David Ausserhofer

Verleihung der Ehrendoktorwürde in Toulouse The President of the Université Toulouse III Paul Sabatier (3rd from the right) with the eight recipients from the 2017 and 2018 “honorary doctoral cohorts”. | Photo: private

In his projects, often undertaken in close cooperation with his colleagues in France, Mark Gessner has, among other achievements, demonstrated the extraordinary importance of aquatic fungi for leaf litter breakdown, developed a process-based method for stream ecosystem assessment based on determining rates of litter breakdown and, using landmark outdoor experiments, shed light on various factors of global environmental change affecting ecosystem processes in freshwaters.

In his laudation, Gessner’s long-standing research partner Dr. Eric Chauvet at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique also paid tribute to his colleague’s “outstanding dedication to the scientific community” – acting as an editorial board member of various journals, as a widely solicited reviewer and member of scientific committees, and as a mentor for early career scientists, many of whom were able to benefit from the close exchange between the partner institutions.

Mark Gessner is a professor of Applied Freshwater Science at the Technische Universität Berlin, Acting Director of the Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB) and Head of the Experimental Limnology Department at IGB. In 2012, he and his colleagues at Lake Stechlin implemented the idea of building a large experimental field facility in a lake. They designed this globally unique research platform, the LakeLab, to explore the impacts of rapid environmental change on biodiversity and biogeochemical fluxes in lake ecosystems under near-natural conditions.

We congratulate Professor Gessner on this special honour awarded by the Université Paul Sabatier in Toulouse, and wish him continued inspiration for his research endeavours!

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