Helga Ösp Jónsdóttir pathologist
Helga Ösp Jónsdóttir pathologist

Helga Ösp Jónsdóttir MSc has accepted the post of pathologist at the Icelandic Forest Research, the research division of the Icelandic Forest Service (IFS). Nine applications were received for the job.

Helga Ösp completed her bachelor's degree in natural and environmental science from the Agricultural University of Iceland in 2006. In her final project there, she studied rust resistance of black cottonwood clones to the poplar leaf rust Melampsora larici-populina and the spread of the pathogen under the guidance of plant pathologist Halldór Sverrisson. She studied forestry and management of natural areas at Høgskolen i Hedmark in Norway, followed by a master's degree in agriculture with a focus on plant diseases at the University of Copenhagen. There she did a master's project in plant pathology discussing the effects of poplar leaf rust on frost resistance in poplars. She defended her master's thesis in 2011 with great praise from the examiners. The thesis is entitled Effects of poplar leaf rust Melampsora larici-populina on frost resistance in poplars. Tests on frost damage and other work on the project was mostly done in Iceland. Supervisors for the project were Iben M. Thomsen at the University of Copenhagen and Halldór Sverrisson, scientist at the IFS and the Icelandic University of Agriculture.

During her studies, Helga Ösp worked as an assistant to experts at the Icelandic Forest Research. She has served three years as a specialist at MAST, the Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority but since 2016, she has held the position of an expert at the Environment Agency of Iceland.

There has not been a working plant pathologist at the IFS for a while since the retirement of Halldór Sverrisson. However, the need is urgent as it is important to closely monitor the health of plants, conduct research, collect data and respond to new emerging threats. With the introduction of a new organization at the end of the year, Land og skógur (Land and Forest), Helga Aspar's powers are also used for plant diseases in plants used for land reclamation work.

The Icelandic Forest Service welcomes Helga Ösp Jónsdóttir to work and congratulates her on her position.

News item: Pétur Halldórsson