Katherine Richardson

Katherine Richardson


Medlem af:

    Born: May, 1954 (USA)
    Nationality: American and Danish 
    Family: Married (1983) to Jens Bjerregaard Christensen; Two grown children

    Current positions:

    Professor in Biological Oceanography, Section for Biodiversity, Globe Institute, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences and Leader, University of Copenhagen’s Sustainability Science Centre (sustainability@science.ku.dk).

    Adj. Senior Researcher, Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, Boothbay, Maine, USA

    Research Profile:

    The overall focus of my research is to better understanding of the role of biological processes and biodiversity on the cycling of carbon in the upper ocean and how this impacts food webs and the global carbon cycle. Currently, I lead the Queen Margrethe and Vigdís Finnbogadóttir Interdisciplinary Research Centre on Ocean, Climate, and Society (www.rocs.ku.dk).

    Most of my research has been on marine plankton (primarily phytoplankton). However, I have also studied higher trophic levels such as fish (both larvae and adults) and even harbour porpoises. I am a co-PI in The Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate (center leader Carsten Rahbek) supported by the Danish National Research Foundation. Current research foci include:

    • Climatic control of marine ecological processes, including predicting the influence of climate change on aquatic productivity, quantifying the role of biological processes, including biodiversity, on ocean uptake of atmospheric CO2 and how changes in ocean conditions influence the strength of the biological pump.
    • The importance of sub-mesoscale oceanographic features in maintaining genetic diversity of phytoplankton.
    • The vertical distribution of marine photosynthesis, including formation and productivity in deep chlorophyll maxima (DCM)

    I also am a core researcher in an international research team focusing on identifying “Planetary Boundaries”, i.e. identifying how much of specific Earth System Services that can “safely” be appropriated by humans.

    In 2009, I was Chairman of the Scientific Steering Committee for a large international scientific conference, CLIMATECHANGE: Global Risks, Challenges and Decisions (www.climatecongress.ku.dk) hosted by the International Alliance of Research Universitites (IARU) and in 2014, I was chair of the Scientific Steering Committee for the IARU hosted congress Global Challenges: Achieving Sustainability (https://sustainability.ku.dk/sustainability-lectures/previous/iarucongress2014/).

    I am currently co-editor in chief of Marine Ecology Progress Series.


    D.Sc. (2020) University of Copenhagen.

    Doctoral thesis: Using macroecological patterns in the distribution of marine phytoplankton and photosynthesis to better understand and quantify phytoplankton activity in the global ocean.

    Ph.D. (1980) University of North Wales, U.K. (Carried out while on a Marshall Fellowship from the U.K.).
    Thesis: The Role of Dissolved Organic Material in the Nutrition and Survival of Marine   Dinoflagellates. (Supervisors: Prof. G.E. Fogg, FRS; Dr. I.A.N. Lucas).

    B.A. (1976-magna cum laude) Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.

    Graduated (1972) from Yarmouth High School, Yarmouth, Maine.

    Other employment:

    February 1, 2007-31 January 2012: Vice Dean, Faculty of Science, University of Copenhagen.

    February 1, 2002-31 January 2007: Pro-rector, Aarhus University.

    May, 1998-February, 2007; Professor, Biological Oceanography, Aarhus University.

    September 1996-May 1998: Research Director of Department of Marine and Coastal Ecology, Danish Institute for Fisheries Research.

    January 1988-August 1996: Head of Department of Marine and Coastal Ecology, Danish Institute for Fisheries Research.

    June 1983-January 1988: Biologist, Danish Institute for Fisheries and Marine Research.

    January 1982-June 1983: Post-doctoral fellow on contract to Prof. J. A. Raven, University of Dundee, Scotland.

    October-December 1981: Computing and data analysis on contract to the Unit of Coastal and Estuarine Studies, University of Wales, U.K.

    Febuary-May 1981: European Scientific Exchange Fellow at the Department of Plant Physiology, University of Umeå, Sweden (sponsored by the Royal Society, London).

    October 1979-October 1981: Demonstrator in Marine Biology, University College of North Wales, Menai Bridge, U.K. 

    Work-related posts:

    2021 - Member, Arçelik R&D Advisory Board

    2020 - Member, Goodwings Advisory Board

    2020 - Member, International Advisory Board of the German Marine Research Alliance (Deutsche Allianz Meeresforschung, DAM)

    2019 - Member, Advisory board for Alfred-Wegener-Instituts-Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar-und Meeresforschung (AWI)

    2019 - Chairperson, JPI Climate and JPI Oceans Scientific Evaluation Committee

    2019 - Member, Scientific Committee of the Volvo Environment Prize

    2018 - Member, Advisory Board of BANOS CSA (Baltic and North Sea Coordination and Support Action)

    2018: Member, 2020 Vice Chair, European Research Council (ERC) Synergy Grants Evaluation Committee

    2017: Member, International Scientific Advisory Committee, Ocean Frontier Institute, Canada

    2016-2019: Member, Independent Group of Experts, Expert Panel appointed by UN Secretary General to draft the 2019 Global Sustainable Development Report

    2016 - Co-chair, SDSN Northern Europe Leadership Council

    2016-2017: Member, European Consortium for Ocean Research Drilling (ECORD) Evaluation Committee

    2016-2018: Chairperson, University of Gothenburg Marine Advisory Board

    2013-2016: Member, Advisory Group of Horizon 2020 Challenges 5, EU

    2013-2014: Member, Governing Board, European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT)

    2013 - Chairperson, DanBIF Governing Board and Head of the Danish Delegation to GBIF

    2012-2015: Member, Science Europe Committee for Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics

    2012-2017: Member; Vice Chair from 2015, EU Joint Program Initiative (JPI) Climate Trans-disciplinary Board

    2012 - 2020: Member; Vice Chair from 2017, of the Scientific Advisory Board, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)

    2011-2018: Member, Mistra EviEM Executive Committee, appointed by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences

    2011-2015: Panel Member, Evaluation Committee, European Research Council (ERC)

    2010-2017: Chairperson, Sciencific Advisory Board: EUROFLEETS

    2009-2011: Member, Steering Committee of the Sustainable Development Knowledge Partnership, established by United Nations Division of Sustainability

    2009-2010: Member, Scientific Advisory Board: ACCENT EU Project

    2008-2015: Board Member, ICROFS (International Centre for Research in Organic Food Systems)

    2007-2010: Chairperson, Evaluation (Earth System Science) Starting Grants

    2006-2007: Member, Scientific Advisory Board: Bjørn Carlson Stiftelse, Stockholm, Sweden, appointed by the Royal Scientific Academy in Sweden

    2005-2009: Member, EUROCEANS (EU Network of Excellence) steering committee

    2005-2008: Member, Scientific Advisory Committee Royal Netherlands Institute of Sea Research, Texel

    2005-2006: Board Member, NORDFORSK

    2004-2009: Member, Scientific Advisory Panel Leibniz - Institut für Meereswissenschaften, Germany

    2004-2009: Member, Scientific Advisory Council Plymouth Marine Laboratory, UK

    2004-2007: Member, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), Austria

    2003-2008: Member, ERASMUS MUNDUS Selection Committee

    2002-2006: Vice president, Scientific Committee, European Environmental Agency.

    2001-2007: Vice President, ESF (European Science Foundation)

    1999-2004: Member, IGBP (International Geosphere Biospere Program) Scientific Committee

    1998-2004: Member, Board of Trustees, ICLARM (International Center for Living Aquatic resource Management), Penang, Malaysia

    1998-2001: Member, Living Marine Resources Panel, Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS)

    1996-1999: Member, Nordisk Forskningspolitisk Råd (FPR)

    1995-1998: Member, Executive Council European Ocean Board (ESF)

    1992-1996: Chairperson, Advisory Committee on Marine Environment (ACME) - International Council for Exploration of the Seas (ICES)

    1988-1998: Member, Biological Oceanography Committee, ICES
    (Chairperson 1989-1992)

    1988-1992: Member, Advisory Committee on Marine Pollution (ACMP) (ICES).

    1985-1989: Chairperson, ICES Working Group on Phytoplankton Ecology

    1983: Lecturer on a UNESCO course on phytoplankton productivity (Santiago, Chile)


    2021 – Member, Board for Tænketanken Hav

    2020 - Member, Sustainability Council for Frederiksberg Municipality

    2019 - 2021: Chairperson, Advisory panel on Climate Change Landbrug og Fødevarer

    2019 - 2020: Member, Innovations Fondens Klimapanel

    2019 - 2020: Member, Finance Denmark’s Advisory Forum for Sustainable Transition

    2018 - Member, 2030-panel under ”Folketingets Tværpolitiske Netværk for Verdensmålene” at Parliament

    2018 - 2020: Member, Fra Filantropi til Forretning, SDG High Level Advisory Board, DI

    2017 - Member, the National Bioeconomy Panel (Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries of Denmark)

    2017 - Ambassador, Naturmødet

    2015 - Board member, Sydfyns Elforsynings Almennyttige Fond (SEAF)

    2015 - Member, the Government’s Climate Council (the Danish Ministry of Energy, Utilities and Climate)

    2015 - 2017: Member, the Climate Panel, Copenhagen Municipality

    2015 - 2017: Chairperson, the Education Minister’s Advisory Panel on Secondary Education, (Rådet for Ungdomsuddannelser)

    2014 - 2016: Member, Scandinavian Culture Collection of Algae and protozoa (SCCAP)

    2013: Member, Research Policy Committee on Interdisciplinary Marine Research (Ministry for Science, Innovation and Higher Education)

    2012 - 2020: Board Member, CONCITO Climate Think Tank

    2012-2017: Board Member, Global Lightning Protection Services, Herning, Denmark

    2011 - Chairperson, Committee on Trees and Environment (Repræsentantskab for Fonden for Træer og Miljø)

    2010 - 2016: Board Member, DHI (Danish Hydraulic Institute)

    2009 - Vice Chair; Chairperson since 2017, Danish Centre for Marine Research (Dansk Center for Havforskning)

    2008 - 2010: Chairperson, Danish Government’s Commission on Climate Change Policy

    2007 - 2020: Board Member; Vice Chair 2018 -2020, Chair: 2020 Aage V. Jensen Naturfond, Copenhagen

    2006 - 2014: Chairperson, Steering Committee for “Blue Reef project” an EU supported nature restoration project in the ocean

    2005 - 2009: Chairperson, Advisory Group to the Danish Education Minister on the reform of gymnasium education

    2005 - 2009: Board member, Danish Fund for Advanced Technology (Højteknologifonden)

    2004 - 2005: Chairperson, Karakterkommissionen (The Commission for examining the grading scale used in Danish education)

    2000 - 2002: Vice Chair, Danish Council for Research Education

    2000 - 2001: Vice Chair, Wilhjelmudvalget (Committee to propose to the Danish Government an action plan for meeting the commitments of the Biodiversity Convention)

    1997 - 2002: Adjunct Professor (Roskilde University)

    1996 - 2003: Member; Vice chair 1996-2002; Chairperson: 2002-2003, Danish Research Council (Danmarks Forskningsråd)

    1995 - 1996: Chairperson, Working group responsible for preparing input concerning Natural Sciences to the Danish national research strategy

    1995 - 1996: Chairperson, Danish Research Council for the Natural Sciences (Statens Naturvidenskabelige Forskningsråd)

    1993: Consultant, Øresundskonsortiet

    1992 - 2002: Member, Research Council for Developing Countries, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark (Rådet for Ulandsforskning, Udenrigsministeriet)

    1992 - 1993: Member, Danish/Swedish Committee to recommend a monitoring program to record any environmental effects of the Bridge over the Øresund

    1991: Member, "Expert Panel". Consensus Conference on nitrogen and phosphorus in the aquatic environment

    1991 - 2006: Member, Board of Directors, Danish Environmental Research Institute (Danmarks Miljøundersøgelser)

    1991 - 1996: Member, Advisory Board to the Environmental Ministry's Marine Research Program 90

    1991 - 1996: Chairperson, Subgroup on Marine and Freshwater. Strategic Environment Research Program (Strategisk Miljøforskningsprogram

    1991 - 1995: Member, Research Council for the Natural Sciences (Statens Naturvidenskabelige Forskningsråd)

    Teaching and supervision at the University level:

    1984 - 1998: Guest lecturer in phytoplankton ecology and biological oceanography, University of Copenhagen; external examiner for a number of Ph.D. and Masters Degree examinations at the University of Copenhagen and other Scandinavian Universities; External supervisor for 4 PhD students (Danish Technical University and the University of Wales, UK) and several Masters students (University of Copenhagen).

    Since 1998, teaching and graduate student supervision have been a part of my official job responsibilities the Universityies of Aarhus and Copenhagen and I have, in that time, supervised or co-supervised

    • > 20 PhD candidates and
    • > 50 Masters students.

    I have had responsibility for the development and execution of undergraduate and graduate courses (and examinations) on the following topics:

    • Phytoplankton Physiology
    • Biodiversity
    • Dynamics of the open ocean (biological oceanography)
    • Global Sustainability

    In addition, I have been a contributing lecturer/examiner in courses on.

    • Marine biology
    • Marine Ecology
    • Microbial Ecology and
    • Environmental Studies
    • Conservation Ecology
    • Applied Marine Biology

    I have received no formal pedagogical training. However, student evaluation of my teaching has been uniformly positive. Copies of these evaluations are on file at the Dept. of Biology, University of Aarhus.

    In collaboration with UCPH’s Centre for Online & Blended Learning I have composed 2 Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC’s). The first course on “The Sustainable Development Goals” (https://sustainability.ku.dk/studies/mooc/) with more than 66,000 participants was released in 2015. In 2020 I released another MOOC on “Transformation of the Global Food System” (https://www.coursera.org/learn/transformation-global-food-system) with more than 16,000 registrations so far. Several MOOC’s are currently under development.

    Public outreach:

    Lectures: I hold on the order of 100 lectures annually on my research for scientific and non-scientific gatherings both in Denmark and internationally. My non-scientific audiences range from school children to political fora and formal gatherings. Over the past 5 years, I have held over 40 invited international lectures at various scientific fora.

    Press and Electronic media: I frequently give interviews to the press on my research and, especially, climate change and sustainability related issues. I am experienced in television and radio appearances.

    Popular Science – books and articles: Over the past 15 years, I have authored or co-authored the following scientific publications aimed at a general audience (plus ~ 4 blogs/articles per year in newspapers and other printed outlets):

    Richardson, K. 2021. Et systemisk blik på klima og bæredygtighed. Klodens husholdningsregnskab er kommet i overtræk, derfor er vi tvunget i en bæredygtig retning (Kapitel 2). In: Højholdt, A. & Ravn-Pedersen T. (eds.). Håbets & Handlingens Pædagogik – Undervisning, Verdensmål & Bæredygtighed. Hans Reitzels Forlag. ISBN: 9788702318876.

    Richardson, K. 2021. At være verdensborger i den antropocæne tidsalder kræver værdiændringer. In: Væredygtighed – Indersiden af Bæredygtighed. Center for Væredygtighed. Dafolo.

    Richardson K. 2021. Hav og klima i den antropocæne tidsalder. In: TemaMagasinet Indblik. Inspirationsmaterialer om ny naturvidenskabelig viden. Rambøll Management Consulting, Københavns Professionshøjskole, VIA University College for Børne- og Undervisningsministeriet, Børne- og Undervisningsministeriet.

    Dinesen, L., Bendtsen, J., Canal-Verges P, Hansen JLS, Holmer M, Kaiser B, Lisbjerg D, MacKenzie BR, Markager S, Nissen T, Petersen IK, Petersen JK, Richardson K, Roth E, Støttrup JG, Stæhr PAU, Svendsen JC, Sørensen TK, Wisz MS. 2021. Genopretning af marin biodiversitet og bæredygtig anvendelse af havets resurser. Det danske IPBES samarbejde.

    Richardson, K. 2020. Hvordan skaber vi bæredygtig udvikling for alle? In the book series: ‘Moderne Idéer’. Volume: 17. Informations Forlag.

    Richardson, K. 2019. Agenda 2030 afspejler en udvikling i forståelse af bæredygtig udvikling. In: Special Issue of the magazine ‘Kognition & Pædagogik’.

    Richardson, K. 2019. De livsvigtige mikroalger. In: Vild med viden. Fokusserie 2: Tang. Bruhn, A., Holdt, Susan., Høslund, S., Krause-Jensen, D., Mouritsen, L., Pedersen, F.M., Rasmussen B.M., Richardson, K. Volume: 12. Forlaget Epsilon.

    Richardson, K. 2019. Jorden i det antropocæne. In: Globale Mål - Visionen om bæredygtig udvikling. Hildebrandt, S. and Josephsen L. Djøf forlag.

    Richardson, K. 2017. Bæredygtighed: begrebet der til stadighed er under forandring' Kaskelot, nr. 216.

    Richardson, K 2016, Galathea 3 bygger videre på arven fra Galathea 2. Geografisk Orientering, vol 46, nr. 5, s. 16-18.

    Richardson, K. & R. Dyball. 2016. Needed: New Knowledge for Sustainable Development. Solutions Journal, 7(3): 1-3.

    Richardson, K., Dyball, R. & W. Steffen. 2016. How will future historians tell the story of how we are tackling climate change today? Solutions Journal 7(3): 86-93.

    Rahmstorf, S & K. Richardson. 2016. Wie bedroht sind die Meere? (Chapter in a German book on sustainability)

    Richardson, K. 2016. Bæredygtig Global Udvikling – FN’s 17 verdensmål i et dansk perspektiv: Vores afhængighed af havet er enorm – og har mange dimensioner. Hildebrandt, S. Jurist- og Økonomforbundets Forlag. Republished 2019.

    Richardson, K. 2012. Grøn lov og Praksis Forord samt et kapitel “Grøn lovgivning som løftestang” (Forlaget Andersen)

    Richardson, K., W. Steffen, H.J. Schellnhuber, J. Alcamo, T. Barker, D.M. Kammen, R. Leemans, D. Liverman, M. Munasinghe, B. Osman-Elasha, N. Stern & O. Wæver. 2009. Synthesis Report: Climate Change, Global Risks, Challenges and Decisions. University of Copenhagen, Denmark. https://climatecongress.ku.dk/pdf/synthesisreport (peer reviewed)

    Richardson, K. 2009. Climate Change and Life on Earth. In: 100 places to remember before they disappear. Co + Life A/S.

    Rahmstorf, S. & K. Richardson. 2008. Our Threatened Oceans. Haus Publishing, London.

    Richardson, K. 2008. Broer og naturen i danske farvande. In: Landet, vandet og broen. Sund & Bælt Holding, A/S. Copenhagen pp.38-51.

    Rahmstorf, S. & K. Richardson 2007. Wie bedroht sind die ozeane? Biologische und physikalische Aspekte. Forum für Verantwortung. Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag 280 pp.

    Richardson, K., Mouritsen, L.T. 2006, "På vej mod et surt hav - udledning af CO2 ændrer verdenshavene", Aktuel Naturvidenskab, vol. 5, s. 4-7.

    Richardson, K., Mouritsen, L.T. & Sørensen, L.L. 2006. The marine carbon cycle from North to South along the Galathea route -an on going project investigating the global carbon cycle. IMBER Update December 2006.

    Richardson, K. 2005. Oceaner af vand. In: Viden om Vand. Kaufmann, I. & Keiding, S. R. (eds.). Aarhus Universitetsforlag. 176 pp. (a textbook for gymnasium students)

    Lund-Hansen, L.C., M.H. Nielsen, A. Bruhn & K. Richardson. 2005 ”Havets græsmark vokser ujævnt – om strøm og algevækst i Lillebælt” Aktuel Naturvidenskab vol 3, 15-18.

    Prizes and Honours:

    1976: Marshall Fellowship

    2004: Frøken Marie Lønggaards Rejselegat for kvinder (travel fellowship for women)

    2011: Ridderkors, (Danish order: Knight of the Dannebrog)

    2015: Ellen og Hans Hermers Legat

    2016: Galathea Medal (awarded for the Galathea 3 expedition)

    2019: Ebbe Muncks Hæderspris

    2021: Ridder af Dannebrogordenen af 1. Grad (Danish order: Knight of Dannebrog of the 1st degree)

    Editorial and Evaluation Activities: 

    I am co- Editor in Chief for Marine Ecology Progress Series. In addition, I review scientific articles on an ad hoc basis for a number of scientific journals including, Marine Ecology Progress Series, Limnology and Oceanography, Deep Sea Research, and Journal of Plankton Research. In addition, I am frequently asked to sit on evaluation panels for academic positions.

    Current External Funding:

    • EU H2020 project: ECOTIP - Arctic biodiversity change and its consequences: Assessing, monitoring and predicting the effects of ecosystem tipping cascades on marine ecosystem services and dependent human systems. A collaboration with DTU & Copenhagen University amongst others. 2020 – 2024; 1.498.195 DKK
    • Carlsberg Foundation: Queen Margrethe’s & Vigdís Finnbogadóttir’s Interdisciplinary Research Centre on Ocean, Climate and Society (ROCS) 2020 – 2025; 20 million DKK

    Cruise Participation:

    I have participated in >70 research cruises starting in 1975 (RV KNORR - WHOI). From 1979 - 1981, I sailed often aboard the RV Prince Madog (University of Wales) and was chief scientist on a number of occasions. Since 1983, I have participated (often as chief scientist) cruises aboard the Danish Fisheries Research Vessel, Dana. I was responsible for the largest research project on the Danish Galathea3 expedition, was on board for a total of approximately 3 months and was the overall cruise leader on one leg (Sydney to the Solomon Islands, December 2006). In May, 2008, I joined an American team of researchers on the RV KNORR studying plankton-mediated carbon flow in the North Atlantic. In August 2008, I was chief scientist on a cruise aboard RV Dana from Greenland to Denmark examining ocean-atmosphere flux of CO2 and carbon turnover in surface waters and participated in another cruise in the Greenland Sea in August-September 2012. In 2014, I participated on a cruise to the Sargasso Sea and, in 2016, I led a cruise in the North Sea.

    I June, 2021, KR led a 2 week cruise on the Icelandic research Vessel, Arni Fridiriksson in the North Atlantic collecting sediment cores for eDNA analysis and collection of chemical, physical, and biological data in the overlying water column.

    Publications and bibliometric data:

    >120 papers in international journals >100 papers in international peer-reviewed journals (incl. several in Nature and Science), numerous scientific books and peer-reviewed book-chapters, as well as over 100 other publications.

    Web of Science Citation analysis (January, 2022) found 155 publications: cited 17,766 times (excluding self-citations), average number of citations per item 153.2, h-index 41 (ResearcherID); 59 (Google scholar).

    ID: 1053678