Karen Timmermann ved Vestkysten

DTU professor appointed to the new Biodiversity Council

Wednesday 10 Nov 21

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Karen Timmermann
Professor
DTU Aqua
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Professor Karen Timmermann from DTU Aqua has been selected to sit on a brand new Biodiversity Council to advise politicians. The council includes nine researchers from Denmark’s universities.

Professor Karen Timmermann from DTU Aqua has been appointed by the Minister of the Environment to participate in Denmark's first Biodiversity Council. The council is meant to advise the government and parliament on nature and biodiversity.

"I am very happy and honored about being appointed to the Biodiversity Council. I am sure that the Council can contribute to improving marine biodiversity, and in addition it is of course not insignificant that DTU and DTU Aqua are represented on the council,”says Karen Timmermann.

The new Biodiversity Council includes nine members from Denmark’s universities, all appointed on the recommendation of the Rector's College.

Head of Department at DTU Aqua, Fritz Köster, says about the appointment of DTU Aqua's board member:

“Research in marine biodiversity and related changes in the structure and function of ecosystems is a research area of increasing importance at national, international and global level, and DTU Aqua contributes to its best abilities to meet the necessary research needs.” 

"We must get the benthic vegetation and benthic animals back, and we must reduce oxygen depletion to make fish fry thrive, and to get food and good undisturbed habitats for the larger fish, seabirds and marine mammals."
Professor Karen Timmermann

“Karen Timmermann is one of the country's leading experts in the impact of human activities on our coastal environments - including eutrophication and climate change - and as such, her appointment to the Biodiversity Panel is entirely appropriate.” 

The Biodiversity Council is an independent and research-based expert body. The task is to contribute to the political efforts resting on professionally well-founded solutions that take into account both biodiversity, economics, legislation and outdoor life, as it says in the press release from the ministry.

According to Minister of the Environment, Lea Wermelin, the Biodiversity Council will play an important role in the work of raising Danish nature and biodiversity in the coming years.

The challenging aquatic environment

Karen Timmermann is part of the Section of Coastal Ecology at DTU Aqua, where she was appointed professor of biogeochemical modeling on 1 May 2020. 

She came from a position as a senior researcher at the Department of Bioscience at Aarhus University.

At DTU Aqua, Karen Timmermann researches man-made and natural influences on coastal waters.

“The loss of biodiversity in the aquatic environment is challenging compared to terrestrial ecosystems to document. And it is even more difficult to detect and quantify cause and effect and identify measures to stop and reverse the trend.” 
“This is especially true for coastal zones, which are affected by a large number of man-made activities with complex effects on biodiversity and the ecosystem in general,” says Fritz Köster.

About her role in the Biodiversity Council, Karen Timmermann says:

"We are in the middle of a global biodiversity crisis, where the number of species is declining and habitats are deteriorating both on land and in the sea. That trend needs to be reversed. As my area of expertise covers the coastal sea areas, I will have a special focus on the challenges that are in the coastal zone and contribute with knowledge about where and how we can best recreate the important habitats and protect the species found in the Danish coastal sea areas.”

A boost to Danish nature

The new Biodiversity Council is part of the nature and biodiversity package created December 2020 through an agreement between the government, the Radical Left, the Socialist People's Party, the Unity List and the Alternative.

According to the political parties which entered the agreement, the goal is to give a historic boost to Danish nature. And according to the press release, the questions that politicians will ask the new Biodiversity Council may sound: “How do we get more wild and exciting nature in Denmark, which can provide good nature experiences for all Danes? How do we offer nature the best conditions to thrive? ”

Big questions, but asked for a brief answer, what will Karen Timmermann, with her focus on the sea, say? 

“In Denmark, we are always close to the coast, so the opportunities to get fantastic coastal nature experiences are really good. But we must get the benthic vegetation and benthic animals back, and we must reduce oxygen depletion to make fish fry thrive, and to get food and good undisturbed habitats for the larger fish, seabirds and marine mammals,” says Karen Timmermann.

Karen Timmermann's answer is, of course, only a tiny intro to the work that is now underway with the other researchers in the Biodiversity Council.
The chairman of the council is Signe Normand, and she is a professor of ecoinformatics and biodiversity at the Department of Biology at Aarhus University.
The other researchers cover a wide range of knowledge related to biodiversity:

Biodiversity on land and in fresh water: Associate Professor Sara Egemose from the University of Southern Denmark, Professor and Center Leader Carsten Rahbek from the University of Copenhagen, Professor and Center Leader Jens-Christian Svenning from Aarhus University
Biodiversity in inland waters and the open sea: Professor Karen Timmermann from the Technical University of Denmark, Professor Niels Madsen from Aalborg University
Legal aspects of biodiversity: Professor Birgitte Egelund from Aarhus University
Socio-economic aspects of biodiversity: Professor Niels Strange from the University of Copenhagen.
Behavioral aspects of biodiversity, including outdoor life: Senior researcher Berit Kaae from the University of Copenhagen.
The chairman and members are appointed for the period 2021-2024.

Yearbook

Karen Timmermann has a master's degree in mathematics and environmental biology and a PhD. in environmental biology from RUC.

In 2006, Karen Timmermann was employed as a postdoc at the then Danish Environmental Research Institute, later part of Aarhus University. In 2007 she was employed in a research position, and in 2010 she became a senior researcher.
In 2020, Karen Timmermann was hired as a professor of biogeochemical modeling at DTU.

As head of a research group at Aarhus University, Karen Timmermann has provided the scientific basis for the Danish water area plans, which are to ensure that the Danish coastal waters achieve good ecological status. She has received research grants from i.a. The Innovation Fund and the Velux Foundation for studies of instruments that can improve the environmental condition of the coastal zone and reduce the negative effects of human impacts. For the past eight years, Karen Timmermann has advised authorities and politicians about the Danish aquatic environment.

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