Behaviour and Evolution



As the name implies, the Behaviour & Evolution Group focuses on studying and teaching evolution and behaviour.

There is a famous saying that “nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution”. Evolution is the process that has shaped all life forms, whether it’s trees and flowers, sparrows or elephants, bacteria that make us sick, or humans themselves. Animals and plants become adapted to their environments by natural selection. We owe the theory of natural selection and the fact that all organisms are related to Darwin’s “Origin of Species”. In later works, Darwin laid the foundation for behavioural science. Evolutionary and behavioural sciences have advanced greatly since Darwin’s days, but there are still a lot of unsolved puzzles and mysteries. That is why we so much enjoy working with Behaviour & Evolution, and why we welcome others to come and work with us.

When animals and plants adapt to their environments, they evolve to become better at tackling their physical, ecological and social environment. Evolutionary adaptation is about how animals and plants are built to be strong and efficient, but also about how they behave to obtain food, escape predators and parasites, find a good mate, and tend for their offspring. The dynamics of populations, biological communities, and ecosystems are ultimately the consequences of how each and every individual behave.

In the Behaviour & Evolution Group we work with “all sorts” of organisms, including plants, birds, fishes, mammals, insects and crustaceans. We work in Norway, in the tropics, and in other environments abroad. We combine fundamental research to unravel nature’s secrets with studies to provide a scientific basis for conservation and management of nature. For instance, we study how plants adapt to their pollinators, how animal personalities affect behaviour, how splitting of populations on islands affects genetics and morphology, and how evolution has shaped the sex and family life of animals. We collaborate with scientists all over the World but also in Norway, for instance with Norsk Institutt for Naturforskning (NINA) in Trondheim.

The Behaviour & Evolution Group warmly welcomes students for MSc and PhD studies, and national and international scientists wanting to collaborate. We have a strong track record for educating candidates with excellent scientific skills, ready to fill any job requiring a deep understanding of nature and science – from science careers to work in nature management, teaching, environmental consultancy, media, and more.

You find information about the research groups (labs) and scientists in Behaviour & Evolution at NTNU in the menu to the right.