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Tom J. Battin

Tom J. Battin


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Tom J. Battin is professor of environmental sciences at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL). He is leading the project Vanishing Glaciers – What Else Besides Water Is Lost?

Born in Luxembourg, Battin received a PhD in ecology at the University of Vienna (Austria) and completed postdoctoral work at the Stroud Water Research Center in the US, the University of Barcelona and the University of Vienna. He was a group leader at the WasserCluster Lunz (Austria), a research center on aquatic ecosystems, after which he became chair in limnology at the University of Vienna. Battin was head of the Department of Limnology and Bio-Oceanography at the University of Vienna and visiting professor at the Uppsala University and the University of Applied Arts in Vienna. He is the recipient of a Ramón y Cajal postdoctoral fellowship in Spain and the prestigious Start Prize in Austria.

Battin’s research focuses on the microbial ecology and biogeochemistry of stream ecosystems. His work has led to a better understanding of physical, chemical and biological process coupling in streams. He demonstrated the relevance of microbial biofilms for stream ecosystem processes, including stream hydraulics and has pioneered the field of microbial diversity dynamics from the small scale to entire fluvial networks. Battin has also contributed to the present day awareness that inland waters, particularly streams and rivers, are major components of the global carbon cycle. His notion of the “boundless carbon cycle” has greatly influenced global carbon cycle research. His current research focuses on the molecular underpinnings of the success of the biofilm mode of life in high-mountain streams and on the role these streams play in global biogeochemical cycles.

Tom J. Battin | Awards Film

Tom J. Battin | Insights Film

Tom J. Battin's News

Glacier-fed streams are undergoing a process of profound change, according to NOMIS researcher Tom Battin and other EPFL scientists in a paper appearing in Nature Geoscience. This conclusion is based […]

The NOMIS project Vanishing Glaciers — What Else Besides Water Is Lost? has been featured in an advertorial published in Science. “Glaciers are melting fast. Yet rising sea levels are […]

Since 2018, NOMIS researcher Tom Battin and the Vanishing Glaciers team have been traveling to the highest peaks around the world. On an expedition to the Himalayas, Fanny Arlandis and […]

Tom J. Battin's Insights

Abstract: The glaciers on Africa's 'Mountains of the Moon' (Rwenzori National Park, Uganda) are predicted to disappear within the next decades owing to climate change. Consequently, the glacier-fed streams (GFSs) that drain them will vanish, along with their resident microbial communities. Despite the relevance of microbial communities for performing ecosystem processes
Abstract: The biogeochemistry of rapidly retreating Andean glaciers is poorly understood, and Ecuadorian glacier dissolved organic matter (DOM) composition is unknown. This study examined molecular composition and carbon isotopes of DOM from supraglacial and outflow streams (n = 5 and 14, respectively) across five ice capped volcanoes in Ecuador. Compositional metrics