Ruben SOMMARUGA Dr., Univ.-Prof.

Ruben Sommaruga

University of Innsbruck
Department of Ecology 

Head of the Research Group:
Lake and Glacier Ecology

Technikerstraße 25, Room 503
A-6020 Innsbruck

T: +43 512 507-51710

Ruben Sommaruga is Full Professor of Limnology at the Department of Ecology, where he acted also as Director between 2012 and 2020. He graduated in Biological Oceanography at the Faculty of Sciences in Montevideo (Uruguay) in 1989, and in 1993 received his doctor degree from the University of Innsbruck. His interest for aquatic sciences brought him as post-doc researcher to several institutes in Europe, USA, and South America. In 1998, he completed his habilitation requirements in the field of Limnology at the University of Innsbruck. His general field of scientific interest is aquatic ecology, and within this general area, he has expertise in (micro)plankton ecology, biogeochemistry, photoecology, and global change effects in mountain lakes. Research on these topics is done in different types of aquatic ecosystems mainly in the Alps, but also in the Andes, Himalaya, Bale Mountains, and Greenland. 

He is a member of the European Academy of Sciences, of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Granada, Spain, and Fellow of the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO), as well as he has been awarded several international prizes including the Baldi Memorial Award in 2024 from the International Society of Limnology (SIL), the Recognition of Professional Excellence in Limnetic Ecology by the International Ecology Institute, and the Scientific Award from the Principality of Liechtenstein among others. Between 2008 and 2020 he was member of the Scientific Board from the Austrian Science Fund (FWF)

Ruben Sommaruga is Subject Editor of Aquatic Microbial Ecology and acted before as Associate Editor of Photochemical and Photobiological Sciences and of FEMS Microbiology Ecology, as well as served the Editorial Board of Scientific Reports and Journal of Plankton Research.

Some selected publications (see all)

1) Sommaruga-Wögrath, S., Koinig, K, Schmidt, R., R. Tessadri, Sommaruga, R., and R. Psenner (1997) Temperature effects on the acidity of remote alpine lakes. Nature 387: 64-67.

2) Sommaruga, R. and F. Garcia-Pichel (1999) UV-absorbing mycosporine-like compounds in planktonic and benthic organisms from a high-mountain lake. Archiv für Hydrobiologie 144: 255-269.

3) Adrian, R., O’Reilly, C. M., Zagarese, H., Baines, S. B., Hessen, D.O., Keller, W., Livingstone, D. M., Sommaruga, R., Straile, D., Van Donk, E., Weyhenmeyer, G.A., and Winder, M. (2009). Lakes as sentinels of climate change. Limnology and Oceanography 54: 2283-2297.

4) Peter, H. and R. Sommaruga (2016) Shifts in diversity and function of lake bacterial communities upon glacier retreat. The ISME Journal 10: 1545-1554.

5) Peter, H., De Meester, L., Jeppesen, E. and Sommaruga, R. (2017) Changes in bacterioplankton community structure during early lake ontogeny resulting from the retreat of the Greenland Ice Sheet. The ISME Journal , DOI: 10.1038/ismej.2017.191

6) Rofner, C., Peter, H., Catalán, N., Drewes, F., Sommaruga, R. and Pérez, M.T. (2017) Climate-related changes of soil characteristics affect bacterial community composition and function of high altitude and latitude lakes. Global Change Biology 23: 2331-2344.

7) Bellas, C. and Sommaruga, R. (2021) Polinton-like viruses are abundant in aquatic ecosystems. Microbiome 9:13.

8) Bellas, C., Hackl, T., Plakolb, M.-S., Koslová, A., Fischer, M.G., and Sommaruga, R. (2023) Large-scale invasion of unicellular eukaryotic genomes by integrating DNA viruses. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, 120(16): e2300465120. Open access

9) Kopejtka, K., Tomasch, J., Kaftan, D., Gardiner, A.T., Bína, D., Gardian, Z., Bellas, C.M., Dröge, A., Geffers, R., Sommaruga, R. and Koblízek, M. (2022) A bacterium from a mountain lake harvests light using both proton-pumping xanthorhodopsins and bacteriochlorophyll-based photosystems. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, 119 (50): e2211018119. .

10) Jane, S.F., Hansen, G.J.A., Kraemer, B., Leavitt, P.R.,  Mincer, J.L.,  North, R.L., Pilla, R.M., Stetler, J.T., Williamson, C.E., Woolway, R.I., Arvola, L., Chandra, S., DeGasperi, C.L., Diemer, L., Dunalska, J., Erina, O., Flaim, G., Grossart, H.-P., Hambright, K.D., Hein, C., Hejzlar, J., Janus, L.L., Jenny, J-P., Jones, J.R., Knoll, L.B., Leoni, B., Mackay, E., Matsuzaki, S.-I. S., McBride, C., Müller-Navarra, D.C., Paterson, A.M., Pierson, D., Rogora, M., Rusak, J.A., Sadro, S., Saulnier-Talbot, E., Schmid, M., Sommaruga, R., Thiery, W., Verburg, P., Weathers, K.C., Weyhenmeyer, G.A., Yokota, K. and Rose, K.C. (2021) Widespread deoxygenation of temperate lakes. Nature 594: 66–70.


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