Svante Hultengren

Biologist Svante Hultengren new honorary doctorate


Biologist and physical geographer Svante Hultengren has been appointed honorary doctorate at the Faculty of Science. Svante Hultengren is a versatile biologist with lichens as his main interest. Over the years, he has taught, supervised graduate students and participated in research at the University of Gothenburg.

Congratulations on being named an honorary doctor!

- Thank you, I'm almost a little shocked. At first I wondered if it was some kind of prank call. It's exhilarating and feels incredibly honourable. I was a student at the University of Gothenburg in the late 1970s and have worked in ecology since I graduated. I often borrow what the researchers come up with and implement it in practical work. I have worked as a consultant for many municipalities, authorities and large companies in nature conservation matters.

How did you get so interested in lichens?

- They sit still and can be examined all year round! It was also a group of organisms where there was much left to discover. In addition I had a couple of very inspiring teachers at the university.

You have shared your knowledge by publishing several books on lichens.

- Yes, my own interest began, among other things, when I read a lichen flora that was first published in 1982. After many reissues, a new updated book was finally needed which I did together with the author of the flora.

The result was the books Lichens a field guide and Mosses a field guide, both published in 2016 and widely used in the education in conservation biology at the University of Gothenburg. But as the research methods develop, the content needs to be revised. Among other things, the DNA technology has lead to a minor revolution. So now Svante Hultengren gets more to do, just in time when he turns 65 years old and was thinking about stepping down from the consultant company.

Portrait of Svante Hultengren
Biologist Svante Hultengren is an expert on lichens.

- I am doing the revising for a fifth edition of Lavar a field guide. A lot has happened thanks to DNA technology - various lichen species have changed both their names and families, says Svante Hultengren.

You have also enriched the lichen populations in Gothenburg through an experiment with tree lungwort?

- The tree lungwort is one of the most sensitive lichens to air pollution, especially sulphur dioxide. In 1993, the air quality had improved, and then I transplanted this very sensitive lichen in six places in Gothenburg, and it has now established itself in the city park Slottsskogen, among other places. The tree lungwort is a good indicator that the air has actually improved in recent years.

The promotion ceremony takes place on March 24, 2023.