Österblom has a PhD in Marine Ecology from the Department of Systems Ecology at Stockholm University, and a Master’s Degree in Behavioural Ecology from the Department of Zoology at Uppsala University.
He is interested in ocean ecosystems and ways to improve stewardship of marine resources. Starting as a seabird ecologist, with a particular interest in social interactions between alcids, he has worked on understanding how the Baltic Sea is managed, how international collaboration emerged to address non-compliance in Southern Ocean fisheries, and how transnational corporations shape the present and future ocean. Ongoing work is focusing on the speed and role of science in society, global cooperation and altruism, and understanding cascading industry effects from novel sustainability approaches. He has worked at the Swedish Museum of Natural History, and as Special Advisor to the Swedish Government in the Secretariat for the Environmental Advisory Council.
Österblom is leading the Keystone Dialogues, a global co-production project including major private actors in global seafood, which has resulted in the establishment of the Seafood Business for Ocean Stewardship (SeaBOS) initiative, aimed to transform global seafood towards more sustainable practices. He is principal investigator in Nereus – Predicting the Future Oceans Program, and member of the IMBER Human Dimension Working Group, the Future Earth Knowledge Action Network and the Seas of Norden Network.
Österblom serves on the international advisory board of the South American Institute for Resilience and Sustainability Studies (SARAS²), as board member of Race for the Baltic, and represents Stockholm University in the United Nations Global Compact Action Platform for Sustainable Ocean Business. He is a member in the Expert Group for the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy.
Österblom represents the Stockholm Resilience Centre in the Section for Earth and Environmental Sciences at Stockholm University and is subject editor for Ecology and Society and PLOS One.