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Marine Scientist wins European award

Tuesday, 3 November 2015 9:29pm

Dr-Fede-Baltar-image
Dr Federico Baltar.

Dr Federico Baltar of Otago’s Department of Marine Science has won a major international research award – the European Geosciences Union Award for Outstanding Young Scientist in Biogeosciences.

The award recognises Dr Baltar’s research in biological oceanography integrating marine microbial ecology and biogeochemistry.

“It is a huge honour and privilege for me, but I feel that this award belongs of course not only to me but also equally to all those with whom I had and have the pleasure to work with,” Dr Baltar says.

Dr Baltar’s research is based on microbes, which are the engines driving biogeochemical cycles. He is concerned with trying to decipher how the marine carbon and nitrogen cycle is regulated in a bid to better constrain the potential consequences of climate change on marine ecosystems.

"Fede has been a bright spark in the Department since the day he arrived. He’s an enthusiastic, dedicated and well-respected teacher, an excellent supervisor and a terrific colleague."

Head of Marine Science Associate Professor Abby Smith says the Department is delighted with Dr Baltar’s award, but “isn’t a bit surprised”.

“Fede has been a bright spark in the Department since the day he arrived. He’s an enthusiastic, dedicated and well-respected teacher, an excellent supervisor and a terrific colleague. As this award shows, he is also a high-quality researcher of international standing. One comment we hear often from students is how amazing it is that he can make microbes sound fascinating!”

Dr Baltar joined the University of Otago in 2013, following a postdoctoral fellowship at the Centre for Ecology and Evolution in Microbial Model Systems at the Linnaeus University in Sweden.

Dr Baltar’s award is the third in a series of achievements for lecturers from Marine Science in the past few months. Dr Will Rayment was named Supervisor of the Year in August while in September Dr Christina Riesselman received the L’Oreal UNESCO For Women in Science Award.