Centre for Geobiology

Bergen Research Foundation scholarship awarded to Bjarte Hannisdal

Researcher Bjarte Hannisdal at the Centre for Geobiology recently received a prestigious Bergen Research Foundation Recruitment Grant for his project “Earth System Interactions and Information Transfer”

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Hannisdal, a post-doc researcher at the Centre for Geobiology (CGB) and the Department of Earth Science (GEO), was awarded the 4-year grant for his project entitled, “Earth System Interactions and Information Transfer”.

The Bergen Research Foundation (BFS) was established in 2004 with funds from industrial philanthropist, Trond Mohn. Working together with the University of Bergen (UiB) and Haukeland University Hospital, the Foundation contributes to the recruitment and establishment of future research leaders. Its Administrative Director, Kåre Rommetveit, said in an interview with Bergens Tidende that the Foundation aims to contribute to the realisation of international-level excellence in research. Rommetveit went on in the interview to explain that there had been 16 excellent applications in 2013. Six of these had been invited to submit extended proposal descriptions.


In the same BT article, Hannistal states that the grant will enable him to establish a research team that will be studying how the earth and life on earth have affected one another through geological time, as well as coming to understand more about how the different components of earth’s systems interact.

Hannisdal writes about his project: 

Earth System Interactions and Information Transfer

This project aims to develop and test novel methods for characterizing complex interactions from geological data, and to seek new fundamental insights into the coupling between Earth system components across time scales.

Earth scientists increasingly recognize the need to study not only the components of the Earth system (lithosphere-hydrosphere-atmosphere-biosphere), but also the complex and evolving nature of their coupling. Understanding these interconnections is crucial for global environmental projections, including climate tipping points, ocean acidification, sea level rise, biodiversity loss and mass extinctions. Although unprecedented in the history of human civilization, such dramatic upheavals have occurred repeatedly throughout Earth's history. Researchers therefore turn to the geological record for insights into causes, consequences, and time scales of global change in the past.

In this project, we will develop and test information-theoretic techniques for quantifying complex interactions from sparse data, and apply these methods to a wide range of geological records of Earth system history over thousands to billions of years. BFS and UiB funding will enable project manager Bjarte Hannisdal to assemble an interdisciplinary team to pursue these goals. In addition, the project will involve other research groups at the Department of Earth Science and the Centre for Geobiology, UiB, as well as an extensive network of international collaborators.

Nicola McLoughlin, another researcher at CGB and GEO, was a 2010 recipient of a BFS award.


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