Evolutionary Ecology

The overriding aim of evolutionary ecology research is to enhance our knowledge and understanding of the dynamics of genetic, functional, ecological and evolutionary mechanisms that interactively determine past, present and future patterns of biodiversity.

The research group is a part of Linnaeus University Centre for Ecology and Evolution in Microbial model Systems.

Our research

We live in a changing world. Today, anthropogenic activities influence ecosystems and climate worldwide, and extant species face environmental changes that probably occur faster than ever before in the history of life. Evolutionary theory predicts an interactive process, whereby environmental characteristics influence patterns of genetic and phenotypic variation in natural populations, while genetic and phenotypic diversity buffer populations against stress and allow for adaptive evolution in changing environments.

Our research questions are diverse and cover different levels of biological organisation, from the influence of genetic and environmental cues on phenotypic variation among individuals, via ecological consequences of colour polymorphism, and the role of dispersal and habitat choice for population divergence, to factors influencing geographic range distributions of species. As study organisms we mainly use insects (grasshoppers, butterflies and moths) but also fish, frogs, lizards, snakes and voles.

We use a combination of field studies, experiments, genetic markers, comparative analyses, modelling and literature reviews to answer our questions. We hope that our research will contribute to an increased understanding of life, to a better protection of biodiversity, and suggest routes to increased sustainable productivity in natural and managed biological systems.