The vision behind the Centre for Biodiversity Dynamics at NTNU is to develop an interdisciplinary centre for research into changes in time and space of biological diversity at different organismal levels.

CBD focuses on three primary research areas, in which we believe it is important to increase knowledge for the sustainable conservation of biodiversity in a changing world.

CBD includes researchers primarily from the following institutions:
Department of Biology, NTNU
NTNU University Museum
Department of Mathematical Sciences, NTNU
Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA)



Maja Tarka (25.11.2014)
Maja Tarka is starting a post-doc at CBD with C. Pelabon, B.E. Sæther and T.F. Hansen (UiO). Maja  has defended  her PhD  at Lund University in 2012. She has worked on the evolutionary dynamics of migration and breeding of wild birds with D. Hasselquist and B. Hansson. She had a first post-doc on genomics of speciation in endemic finches on remote islands at CIBIO in Portugal with M. Melo and B. Hansson. Maja will now work on various subjects including temporal variation in fitness in bird populations and trying to understand why quantitative traits differ in their evolvability.

Science/AAAS News story on CBD research from Svalbard (21.11.2014)
A cross-disciplinary study led by Brage B. Hansen has drawn media attention,  both nationally (e.g. Dagsavisen) and internationally (e.g. Science/AAAS News, Scientific American, The Independent).  The paper is published in Environmental Research Letters and characterizes an extreme weather event and its widespread implications in High Arctic Svalbard. A video summary in Norwegian can be watched at Youtube here: .

Field work in Costa-Rica (15.10.2014)
Elena Albertsen and Øystein H. Opedal have reached  Costa-Rica and located their first Dalechampia populations. They will both stay in Costa-Rica until early January 2015 to study the effects of local variation in pollinator fauna on the morphology of the Dalechampia blossom.  Their main questions are 1) to analyze how selection exerted by pollinators and seed predators on several traits of the Dalechampia blossom varies spatially and temporally, and 2) whether the degree of herkogamy (spatial separation between male and female flowers to prevent self-pollination) varies with the availability of pollinators. This work is done in collaboration with R. Pérez-Barrales and W. S. Armbruster from Portsmouth university who will soon join them on the field for few weeks.

Linn-Karina Selvik (19.09.2014)
Linn-Karina started working as a research technician at CBD 1 September. She will be part of the research group of Dr. Henrik Jensen and employed on the project "The effect of population size on short-term rates of evolution in natural populations" funded by the Norwegian Research Council. Her responsibilities will be to carry out molecular genetic laboratory work and various bioinformatics analyses related to our research on genetics and genomics of house sparrows. In addition, she will manage and  maintain the house sparrow BioBank, which now consist of more than 36 000 DNA and RNA samples from individual house sparrows. Linn-Karina has a strong background in molecular biology, has previously carried out research on the effects of gastrin on gene expression in cancer cells, and finished her PhD-thesis in Molecular medicine in 2013.

Erlend Fossen (01.09.2014)
Erlend will work with the highly suitable model organism Daphnia (waterfleas), which is representative for a wide range of key species in freshwater and marine food webs, and focus on one easily controlled environmental factor (temperature). He will study some target traits which may have effects on fitness that depend on both temperature and population density, and determine their potential for evolutionary changes. He will quantify how variation in temperature- and density-responses in these traits influences fitness across thermal regimes and population densities. The results obtained are expected to yield novel understanding of links between evolutionary and ecological responses to environmental change in general, and more specifically for temperature changes.

Varvara Iashchenko (26.08.2014)
Varvara Iashchenko started on 11-th of August as a research technician at the CBD, she will be working in the Dapnhia lab on the project "Eco-evolutionary dynamics of thermal reaction norms" funded by the Norwegian Research Council.
Varvara graduated in 2004 from the Saint-Petersburg State University with specialization on zoology of invertebrates and later worked on fresh-water symbiosis of alga and ciliates. She will be responsible for Daphnia pulex cultures, their maintenance and growth, establishing protocols for measurement experiments, helping researchers with routine tasks and methods.

Mathilde Le Moullec (22.06.2014)
Mathilde Le MoullecCBD welcomes Mathilde Le Moullec, which on 1 August started her PhD position at CBD. The position is financed by the NT Faculty. Mathilde did her undergraduate studies in Lyon, Tromsø (UiT) and Svalbard (UNIS), with the following title of the MSc thesis: "Ungulate population monitoring in a tundra landscape: evaluating total counts and distance sampling accuracy".
Mathilde's PhD research will focus on how climatic variation and large-scale weather patterns influence the long-term dynamics of high Arctic terrestrial ecosystems and the interactions among their key components. Collaborators include Univ. Aberdeen, NPI and NINA. Supervisors at CBD/NTNU will be Brage Bremset Hansen and Bernt-Erik Sæther.

Håkon Holand gets his PhD-title (20-06-2014)
This Friday Håkon Holand defended his PhD-thesis entitled "The parasite Syngamus trachea in a metapopulation of house sparrows". Håkon first gave a trial lecture on the assigned topic "Pattern and process in spatio-temporal dynamics of parasite-host dynamics", before he discussed his work with the two opponents Professor Peter J. Hudson, Penn State University, US, and Professor Xavier Lambin, University of Aberdeen, UK. CBD contratulates Håkon with a well deserved degree.

CBD-member offered position at Department of Biology (19-06-2014)
Dr. Henrik Jensen was today offered the position as associate professor in population genetics at the Department of Biology, NTNU. Dr. Jensen has been a member of CBD for most of his research career. CBD congratulates with the great achievement.



Eirin Marie Bjørkvoll defended her PhD (06-06-2014)
After a trial lecture on the topic "Cost of reproduction and their influence on life-history evolution", and a public discussion of her thesis (Life-history variation and stochastic population dynamics in vertebrates) with the two opponents, prof. Jeffrey A. Hutchings, Dalhousie Unviersity, Canada, and dr. Michael Schaub, Swiss Ornithological Institute, Eirin Marie Bjørkvoll obtained her PhD today. CBD congratulates with a well deserved title.

The Sparrow-projct in media (05-05-2014)
This weekend the house sparrow project was covered in commercial media, with comments from Prof. Bernt Erik Sæther. Read more at VG and

Report from the Field (21-03-2014)Fieldworker Malene Dimmen has just captured a female house sparrow
The winter's house sparrow fieldwork is well under way, and has been very successful so far. PhD student Ane Myhre and her fieldworkers are carrying out experiments to alter demographic stochasticity and effective population size in a set of natural populations. In another set of natural populations postdoc Bernt Rønning and his team of PhD-students, MSc-students and fieldworkers is doing large-scale experimental studies of basal metabolic rate.

Bernt Rønning and Kenneth Nygård make preparations for the night's metabolic measurements

Malene Dimmen, Ane Myhre and Nina Myhr celebrate after completing the fieldwork in the Austbø population





More news from CBD here >>.

Next event

November 25
Arnaud le Rouzic from the CNRS lab, lectures on: "Estimating the strength of natural selection from evolutionary time series using population genetic models".
Here is the link to his web page: >>

More events here: >>

Visitors at CBD

November 24-25:
Researcher Arnaud Le Rouzic

November 11-15:
Prof. Russ Lande.
Prof. Otso Ovaskainen.

January 19-22:
CBD's SAB-members are visiting.

January - June:
Prof. Subhash Lele

Recent publications from CBD

Hansen, B.B., Isaksen, K., Benestad, R.E., Kohler, J., Pedersen, Å.Ø., Loe, L.E., Coulson, S.J., Larsen, J.O. & Varpe, Ø. 2014.
Warmer and wetter winters: characteristics and implications of an extreme weather event in the High Arctic. Environmental Research Letters 9 (11): 114021. >>

Engen, S., Kvalnes, T. & Sæther, B.-E. 2014
Estimating phenotypic selection in age-structured populations by removing transient fluctuations. Evolution 68 (9):2509-2523 >>

Holand, H., Jensen, H., Tufto, J., Soliman, M., Pärn, H., Sæther, B.-E. & Ringsby, T. H. 2014
Lower survival probability of house sparrows severely infected by the gapeworm parasite. Journal of Avian Biology 45 (4): 365-373 >>

Steinsland, I., Thorrud Larsen, C., Roulin, A. & Jensen, H. 2014
Quantitative genetic modeling and inference in the presence of non-ignorable missing data. Evolution 68 (6): 1735-1747 >>

Schielzeth H. & Husby, A. 2014
Challenges and prospects in genome wide QTL mapping of standing genetic variation in natural populations. The year in Evolutionary Biology. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 1320: 35-57 >>

Husby, A. & Husby, M. 2014
Interspecific analysis of vehicle avoidance behaviour in European birds. Behavioural Ecology 25 (3): 504-508 >>

Baalsrud, H.T., Sæther, B.-E., Hagen, I.J., Myhre, A.M., Ringsby, T.H., Pärn, H. & Jensen, H. 2014
Effects of population characteristics and structure on estimates of effective population size in a house sparrow metapopulation. Molecular Ecology 23 (11): 2653-2668 >>

Westneat, D.F., Bókony, V., Burke, T., Chastel, O., Jensen, H., Kvalnes, T., Lendvai, A.Z., Liker, A., Mock, D., Schroeder, J., Schwagmeyer, P.L., Sorci, G. & Stewart, I.R.K. 2014
Multiple aspects of plasticity in clutch size vary among populations of a globally distributed songbird. Journal of Animal Ecology 83 (4): 876-887 >>

Robertsen, G., Armstrong, J.D., Nislow, K.H., Herfindal, I., McKelvey, S. & Einum, S. 2014
Spatial variation in the relationship between performance and metabolic rate in wild juvenile Atlantic salmon. Journal of Animal Ecology 83 (4): 791-799 >>

Pélabon, C., Firmat, C., Bolstad, G.H., Voje, K.L., Houle, D., Cassara, J., Le Rouzic, A. & Hansen, T.F. 2014
Evolution of morphological allometry. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 1320: 58-75 >>

Armbruster, W.S., Pélabon, C., Bolstad, G.H. & Hansen, T.F. 2014
Integrated phenotypes: Understanding trait covariation in plants and animals. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B. 369 (1649): 20130245 >>

Firmat, C., Lozano-Fernández, I., Augusti, J., Bolstad, G.H., Cuenca-Bescos, G., Hansen, T.F. & Pélabon, C. 2014
Walk the line: 600,000 years of molar evolution constrained by the static allometry in the fossil rodent Miomys savini. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B. 369 (1649): 20130257 >>

Bolstad, G.H., Hansen, T.F., Pélabon, C., Falahati-Anbaran, M., Perez-Barrales, R. & Armbruster, W.S. 2014
Genetic constraints and evolutionary divergence in Dalechampia blossoms. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B. 369 (1649): 20130255 >>

Rosvold, J., Herfindal, I., Andersen, R. & Hufthammer, A.K. 2014
Long-term morphological changes in the skeleton of red deer (Artiodactyla, Cervidae) at its northern periphery. Journal of Mammalogy 92 (3): 626-637 >>

Engen, S. & Sæther, B.-E. 2014
Evolution in fluctuating environments: Decomposing selection into additive components of the Robertson-Price equation. Evolution 68 (3): 854-865 >>

Einum, S. 2014
Ecological modeling of metabolic rates predicts diverging optima across food abundances. The American Naturalist 183 (3): 410-417 >>

Eftestøl, S., Tsegaye, D., Herfindal, I., Flydal, K. & Colman, J.E. 2014
Measuring effects of linear obstacles on wildlife movements: accounting for the relationship between step length and crossing probability. European Journal of Wildlife Research 60 (2): 271–278 >>

List of all publications