Born of Swedish parents at Lidingö, Sweden 17 January 1948, Swedish citizen.
Married to Birgitta Bremer, two children, son Oscar born 1981 and daughter Hanna born 1983.
Ph. D. [Fil. Dr.] in Botany 1 June 1976 Stockholm University.
Professor of Systematic Botany at Stockholm University 1 February 2010 – October 2015.
President/Vice Chancellor of Stockholm University from February 2004 – January 2013.
Professor of Systematic Botany at Uppsala University 1989 – January 2010.
Head Curator [Förste intendent] at the Swedish Museum of Natural History, Department of Phanerogamic Botany, 1980-1989.
Research Associate and B. A. Krukoff Curator of African Botany at the Missouri Botanical Garden September 1985 to March 1986.
Assistant Professor [Forskarassistent] and Associate Professor [Universitetslektor] Stockholm University, Department of Botany, periodically 1972-1975 and full time 1976-1980.
Chairman of the board of Stockholm University of the Arts from 2014.
Member of the board of the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation from 2013.
Member of the board of the Marcus Wallenberg Foundation for international scientific cooperation from 2014.
Member of the board of Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study South Africa from 2015.
Commissioned by the government to investigate leadership and management functions in Swedish universities and university colleges 2014-2015.
Commissioned by the Swedish Research Council to investigate infrastructure funding and organization 2013-2014.
Chairman of the board of SUNET, the Swedish University Computer Network, 2011-2013.
Secretary General for Natural and Engineering Sciences at the Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet) 2001 – January 2004.
Secretary General of the Swedish Natural Science Research Council [Naturvetenskapliga forskningsrådet; NFR] from 2000, member of the Swedish Natural Science Research Council (NFR) 1992-1995, member of the Biology Committee (NFR-PuB) 1986-1995 and chairman of the Botany group 1991-1995, chairman of the Publications Committee (NFR-PuP) 1990-1992.
Dean of Biology at Uppsala University 1993-1999. Proposed, planned, promoted and supervised construction of the Evolutionary Biology Centre at Uppsala University ready January 2000 for 400 scientists and Ph.D. students in evolutionary biology.
Director [Prefekt] of the Department of Systematic Botany at Uppsala University 1992-1999.
Supervised 15 Ph.D. theses, by Arne A. Anderberg, Jens Klackenberg, Annette Wiklund, Per Ola Karis, Barbro Axelius, Mari Källersjö, Ulf Swenson, Mariette Manktelow, Mats H. G. Gustafsson, Anders Backlund, Johannes Lundberg, Elisabeth Långström, Jesper Kårehed, Annika Vinnersten, and Cajsa L. Anderson.
Coordinator in the international Angiosperm Phylogeny Group for a System of flowering plants.
Member of the board of the Association of Swedish Higher Education (SUHF) 2005-2010.
Member of the European Union High Level Expert Group for benchmarking research policies, mapping of excellence, and networking research programmes, 2000-2003.
Member of the European Science Foundation Life and Environmental Sciences Committee (ESF-LESC) and of the European Science Foundation Steering Committee of the European Research Conferences (EURESCO) 1995-1998.
Chairman of the Nordic cooperation board for Natural sciences (NOS-N) 2000-2001.
Fellow of the the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences [Kungl. Vetenskapsakademien], of the Royal Society of Sciences, Uppsala [Kungl. Vetenskaps-societeten], and of the Linnean Society of London.
Founding fellow and president 1985-1988 of the international Willi Hennig Society. Co-organiser of the Nobel symposium ”The Hierarchy of Life” 1988, proceedings published in a book with the same title 1989.
Member of the Government board for foreign expert taxation [Forskarskattenämnden] 2000-2003.
Honours and awards
Received H.M. The King’s Gold Medal 2006, Sankt Erik’s Medal from the City of Stockholm 2013, and Stockholm University Gold Medal 2017.
Elected Foreign Member of the Linnean Society of London 1998 and Corresponding Member of La Academia Nacional de Ciencias Exactas, Físicas y Naturales Buenos Aires 2009.
Received the Linnaeus Prize 1999 from the Royal Physiographic Society, Lund.
Paper on “Branch support and tree stability” 1994 (listed in Publications 1990-2003) identified by the Institute for Scientific Information in UK as the most highly cited in the Agriculture, Biology and Environmental Sciences field by an author in Sweden 1995-1999.
Flowering plants named Athanasia bremeri (South Africa), Memecylon bremeri (India) and Pseudoblepharispermum bremeri (Ethiopia).
Main research accomplishments
Introduced and promoted cladistics in botany, first together with H.-E. Wanntorp in Stockholm with the seminal paper ”Phylogenetic systematics in botany” published in Taxon 1978.
Worked on the phylogeny and classification of various groups of the sunflower family (Asteraceae) including extensive field work in South Africa, published the first cladistic analysis of the family, ”Tribal interrelationships of the Asteraceae” in Cladistics 1987, wrote a comprehensive book on the family.
Worked on a group of palaeotropical rain forest trees (Memecylon, Melastomataceae) including extensive field work in tropical Asia and contributed a family treatment for Flora of Ceylon.
Worked on family interrelationships of asterid flowering plants (sunflower alliances of families), participated in construction and coordination of the APG system of flowering plants.
Developed a new method for estimating support in phylogenetic trees, known as ”Bremer support”, first published in a paper on ”The limits of amino acid sequence data in angiosperm phylogenetic reconstruction” in Evolution 1988 (with >1500 citations).
Developed new methods for analysis of historical biogeography and dating phylogenetic trees, and analysed age and biogeography of flowering plants, in particular asterids and monocots.
100+ botanical publications, 16000+ citations, h-index 45 (Google Scholar).