He is from Sweden and was born in 1960. Since 1992, when he completed his PhD in Uppsala, he has dedicated the major part of his research efforts in eastern Africa. His first years as an independent researcher were much influenced by cooperating with the late Prof. Adelaida Semesi at the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
Since 1996 Prof Bjork has been a researcher at the University of Stockholm and, last year he was appointed Director of Studies in Physiology and also lectures part time. The funds he has sourced to support research in WIO is on average US$ 190,000 – 350,000 per year over the past 10 years, mostly obtained from the European Union, Sida/SAREC and others. He has sourced funds to organize in the WIO region 7 international training workshops, courses and 2 symposiums mainly on algae, seagrasses and mangroves.
Prof. Bjork has especially contributed his expertise in the bilateral marine cooperation programme between Sweden and Tanzania, which he now coordinates after pioneering its establishment in 1990. Through the years this programme has supported a large number of students in eastern Africa details of which can be found at the programme homepage http://www.botan.su.se/bilateral/
Other research initiatives Prof. Bjork has been involved with in WIO since 1991 include the management of seaweed resources of Africa through the expansion of its databases and support for PhD students from WIO.
In collaboration with coworkers and his students, he started compiling material on the flora of the marine plants of the region, which was much needed. Eleven years down the line and with financial support from Sida the book entitled: “Marine Plants of Tanzania - A field guide to the seaweeds and seagrasses of Tanzania”, was realized in 2006.
Prof Bjork has published over 33 titles in peer reviewed journals, and another 15 in edited/reviewed conference proceedings, edited three major proceedings of symposium and contributed chapters in books.
Ever since Prof Bjork started working in this region, one task that he feels has been most rewarding to his career is the mentoring of young marine scientists. The other task that has given him much personal satisfaction is being on the Editorial Board of WIOMSA’s scientific journal – WIOJMS as well as a member of the biennial Symposium Committee. “The experience I gained while performing the later task is probably what led to my appointment as Associate Editor of the International Journal of Phycologia”, He says, “Which has placed me in a strategic position to make research findings available to all”.