Øjvind was born on 15 December 1941. He grew up on the island of Funen and in Jutland, Denmark, where his father was a vicar. He started studying biology at the University of Copenhagen in 1962 with particular interest in zoology and initially intended to do his Master's degree on the cytology of flatworms. However, in 1965, he was contacted by Prof Tyge Christensen, who asked him to consider a job as demonstrator at the Institut for Sporeplanter which he accepted. In 1967, Tyge suggested Øjvind to accept an invitation from Prof Irene Manton, University of Leeds, England, the leading expert in ultrastructure of algae, to learn electron microscopy. It was there in 1968–1969, where Øjvind learned the techniques necessary for studying ultrastructural details of algae – and he has basically done this ever since. The topic for his Master's thesis was the ultrastructure of Vaucheria, and he revealed that the genus belonged to the golden-green algae. In the period 1970–1974, Øjvind held a position as assistant professor at the Institut for Sporeplanter and studied spermatozoids in different groups of algae. In 1972, a new transmission electron microscope was sponsored by the Danish Research Council, and Øjvind moved onto nanoflagellates inspired by a bloom in Kaikoura, New Zealand, including the description of two new haptophytes (Phaeocystis scrobiculata and Chrysochromulina novae-zelandiae). Øjvind began reconstructing the flagellar apparatus of several different flagellates, such as ChrysochromulinaMamiellaNephroselmisPyramimonasPseudoscourfieldia and Bicosoeca. which ultimately turned into a whole issue of Phycologia and was used as a DSc thesis at the University of Copenhagen in 1983.


Etymology of Gyrodinium moestrupii, Hafniomonas heom (heom=Hans Ettl; Øjvind Moestrup), MoestrupiaOchromonas moestrupii, Platychrysis moestrupii, Pyramimonas moestrupii, Resultomonas moestrupii. The Yasumoto Award 2012 was given to Prof Øjvind Moestrup for excellence in his lifetime dedication to research on the biology, taxonomy and ultrastructure of microalgae. In addition, he made an outstanding contribution, through the IOC Science and Communication Centre on Harmful Algae in Copenhagen and the IOC Reference List of Harmful Microalgae, to training and communication on the taxonomy of HAB species

Professional Career

Øjvind was only 33 when he was first appointed Chairman of the Department of Botany (1974–1976), and later Chairman for the Institut for Sporeplanter 1976–1979, 1985–1987 and 1989–1991. During 1999–2004, Øjvind was the director of the Botanical Institute; he also has been a member of the Faculty Council (1977–1980) and University Senate (1980–1986). In the period 1992–1996, Øjvind was chief editor of Phycologia, and later he was and is now again associate editor. During his period as editor, the printing quality of halftone plates has always had Øjvind's great attention. He has acted as Chairman of three international congresses: the 2nd International Phycological Congress, the 1st International Conference on Cyanobacteria, and in 2006 the 12th International Conference on Harmful Algae.

Key HAB contributions

During a yearlong sabbatical visiting Rick Wetherbee at Melbourne University, Australia, 1987–1988, he discovered a bloom of Alexandrium catenella in Port Phillip Bay (Melbourne). In 1982, a mussel-poisoning event on the Faroe Islands further spiked Øjvind's interest into explore ultrastructural details of the dinoflagellate Alexandrium tamarense isolated from the Limfjord, Denmark. Together with a former PhD student, Gert Hansen, studies on several other toxic and nontoxic dinoflagellates followed.

Øjvind fought for 2 years to obtain funding for the IOC Science and Communication Centre on Harmful Algae which opened formally in 1995, with Henrik Enevoldsen and Jacob Larsen as leader and teaching scientist, respectively. A tradition with international courses in toxic phytoplankton was initiated, and these are now considered a requirement for monitoring people in many countries worldwide. The need for high-resolution scanning EM facilities was realized after a detailed study of the toxic diatom Nitzschia navis-varingica with PhD student Nina Lundholm. During a later period in Øjvind's career, he focused on the ultrastructure and evolution of dinoflagellates. Øjvind's involvement in the use of molecular methods was initiated by PhD student Niels Daugbjerg, working on the phylogeny of prasinophytes, and the methods were later applied to and used along with the ultrastructural studies on a whole suite of dinoflagellates, notably a revision of Gymnodinium/ Gyrodinium and the creation of new genera Karenia and Karlodinium.


Øjvind has always been inspired by his students, and teaching has been an important part of his career. He supervised 47 Masters and 20 PhD students. Significant collaborators include: Antonio Calado, Niels Daugbjerg, Henrik Enevoldsen, Gert Hansen, Per Juel Hansen, Terumitsu Hori, Jacob Larsen, Nina Lundholm and Helge A. Thomsen.

10 Key HAB publications

Bergholtz T., Daugbjerg N, Moestrup Ø. 2006. On the identity of Karlodinium veneficum and description of Karlodinium armiger sp. nov., based on light- and electron microscopy, nuclear-encoded LSU rDNA and pigment composition. Journal of Phycology 42, 170–193.

Daugbjerg N, Hansen G, Larsen J, Moestrup Ø. 2000. Phylogeny of some of the major genera of dinoflagellates based on ultrastructure and partial LSU rDNA sequence data, including the erection of three new genera of unarmoured dinoflagellates. Phycologia 39, 302–317.

Hansen PS, Cembella AD, Moestrup Ø. 1992. The marine dinoflagellate Alexandrium ostenfeldii: paralytic shellfish toxin concentration, composition, and toxicity to a tintinnid ciliate. Journal of Phycology 28, 597–603.

Henriksen P, Knipschildt F, Moestrup Ø, Thomsen HA. 1993. Autecology, life history and toxicology of the silicoflagellate Dictyocha speculum (Silicoflagellata, Dictyochophyceae). Phycologia 32, 29–39.

Larsen J, Moestrup Ø. 1989. Guide to toxic and potentially toxic marine algae. Fish Inspection Service, Ministry of Fisheries, Copenhagen. 61 pp.

Lundholm N, Moestrup Ø. 2000. Morphology of the marine diatom Nitzschia navis-varingica, sp. nov. (Bacillariophyceae), another producer of the neurotoxin domoic acid. Journal of Phycology 36, 1162–1174.

Lundholm N, Moestrup Ø, Hasle GR, Hoef-Emden K. 2003. What is Pseudo-nitzschia pseudodelicatissima? – a study of the P. pseudodelicatissima/cuspidata complex (Bacillariophyceae). Journal of Phycology 39, 797–813.

Moestrup Ø, Hansen PJ. 1988. On the occurrence of the potentially toxic dinoflagellate Alexandrium tamarense ( = Gonyaulax excavata) and A. ostenfeldii in Danish and Faroese waters. Ophelia 28, 195–213.

Moestrup Ø, Thomsen HA. 2003. Taxonomy of toxic haptophytes (prymnesiophytes). In: Manual on harmful marine microalgae (Ed. by G.M. Hallegraeff, D.M. Anderson & A.D. Cembella ), pp. 433–463. UNESCO Publishing, Paris.

Vesk M, Moestrup Ø. 1987. The flagellar root system in Heterosigma akashiwo(Raphidophyceae). Protoplasma 137, 15–28.

Partially based on: Nina Lundholm and Niels Daugbjerg (2011). A Tribute to Øjvind Moestrup in His 70th Year. Phycologia 50:576-582 [with permission]