Characterizing the genetic basis of traits of importance for local adaptation and species recognition is a major aim for evolutionary biologists of today. We use a combination of genetic mapping, population genetics and comparative genomics approaches to study the speciation process, genetics of adaptation and patterns of genome evolution, primarily using birds and butterflies as study organisms.
We use a combination of in silico approaches and DNA sequencing and SNP analysis to study evolutionary processes at the sequence, genomic, expression and proteomic levels. Examples of areas in focus for our research include the genomic landscape of species differentiation, the role of evolutionary processes (like recombination) and genomic features (like methylation) on molecular evolution and the evolution of base composition, sex chromosome evolution and conservation genetics.
Our research group focus on the genetic basis of adaptive traits in natural populations and we are especially interested in the genetic mechanisms of phenotypic plasticity and the role of plasticity in adapting to changing environmental conditions. Check out our description of current research projects and publication list for more details. If you are interested in joining our lab see the instructions here.
Males and females commonly differ in traits from morphology and physiology to behavior and life histories. This is despite the fact that the sexes share most of the genome, which constrains independent evolution of the sexes. Using experimental and genomic tools, my research interests involve understanding what it takes to evolve sexual dimorphism, using mainly seed beetles as a model system.
Soil dwelling fungi complete their lives entirely or at least for the most part hidden from us humans. Using molecular methods we can start to estimate their diversity and function. We know today that only about 10% of all fungi have been described, and that a large part of the unknown diversity is comprised of soil fungi that live right under our feet but remain unknown. These fungi play important roles in nutrient cycling in soils; among the most striking are the mycorrhizal fungi that enable plant nutrient uptake. Conceptualizing soils as biological systems we explore ecological principles that control the tremendous diversity of soil fungi in natural ecosystems. We use phylogenetic analysis and occurrence in different niches to propose evolutionary processes such as adaptation to host or nutrients as drivers of speciation in soil fungi.
The genome is a common feature of all cellular organisms and contains a comprehensive record of evolution. At a closer look, the genome is in fact a ‘genomic microcosm’ – a smörgåsbord of interactions among/between host genes and parasitic genes, such as transposons and viruses. We study how these genomic parasites impact genome structure and speciation of birds, crocodilians, and parasitic nematodes. Beware, some of these jumping genes even jump between genomes!