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  • Huvudmeny

Vivi Vajda

Professor, Head of Department


Phone: +46 (0)8-519 542 66
E-mail: Vivi.Vajda@nrm.se

Billing and Mailing Address:

See the Staff and Contacts page.


BSc Lund University, Sweden, 1989

Ph.D. Lund University, Sweden, 1998


My responsibilities involve the strategic decisions regarding the research and the care of collections at the Department of Palaeobiology. I also have responsibility for the staff and the aim is to ensure that everyone has a good working environment and that we collectively work towards the goals and aims of the museum. Microfossils are my main responsibility within the collections. I give lectures in palaeobotany within several courses at different academic levels at Stockholm University and Lund University.

Research Interests

I am a geologist, specializing in microscopic fossils and I mostly deal with pollen, plankton, algae and fungi from Earth’s earlier history. The geological formations of our planet preserve a remarkable and invaluable archive of the evolution of life and I am interested in resolving questions concerning extinction and evolution of ecosystems but also individual species, related to major mass extinctions.

My research focusses mainly on vegetation changes, and plant communities are known to respond immediately to changes in the environment. The main tools in my scientific toolbox are the microfossils combined with sedimentology and geochemistry. With this set of proxies, I can trace changes to Earth’s biological and physical systems through geological time. Along with my research team, I have been successful in clarifying the consequences for life on Earth of an asteroid impact that hit Mexico 66 million years ago, the so called Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) extinction event, that wiped out 75% of the species on Earth, among others the non-avian dinosaurs. By comparing the magnitude of the extinctions, the timing and the recovery patterns, etc., traced in the fossil vegetation, we can find answers to several questions concerning other extinctions in Earth's history.

My research is supported by the Swedish Research council (VR) and by UNESCO-IUGS.

Other Professional Roles

  • Chair of the Swedish National Committee for Geology (Swedish IUGS committee), 2012-
  • Chair of the International Geoscience Program (IGCP), UNESCO HQ, Paris, 2009-2012
  • Chair of the Geological Society of Sweden, 2010-2012
  • Chair of the Swedish IGCP Committee, 2006-2012
  • Swedish representative of the European Federation of Geologists (EFG), HQ Brussels, 2006-2008
  • Elected member of the Royal Physiographical Society in Lund, 2012
  • Vice coordinator of the Centre of Excellence, the Linnaeus Centre LUCCI, 2009-2013
  • Coordinator of the Linnaeus Centre LUCCI and Workpackage leader, 2014-2015
  • Secretary of the Geological Society of Sweden, 2008-2009


Geologist of the Year 2010

Awarded by the Swedish Association of Geologists: “For moving the topic of geology ahead in society by communicating interesting scientific results to the public and for advancing the position of the Earth Sciences in schools by obtaining a place for the subject in the high school curriculum.”