Ecology, genetics, evolution and conservation
Our focus is on important questions in the intersection between ecology, genetics, evolution and conservation.
The various threats to natural populations, such as habitat fragmentation, habitat change, pollution, and introduction/immigration of alien species, have the joint effects of population fragmentation and reduction of local population sizes.
Our overarching goals are therefore to understand how variation in population size and dispersal affect population dynamics and short-term evolutionary rates. Such knowledge is fundamental to predict populations’ ability to cope with ongoing physical and biotic changes in the environment and survive.
To reach our goal we develop state-of-the art genomic resources, such as a reference genome sequence and custom made high-density SNP-arrays, and use these on empirical data mainly collected from natural vertebrate populations in the wild. However, empirical data from experimental populations either in the wild or in the laboratory is also used to test specific hypotheses.
Our main study system consists of a long-term individual-based study on house sparrows (Passer domesticus) at the coast of mid- and northern-Norway. Furthermore, in collaboration with the Norwegian Institute of Nature Research (NINA) we are working on long-term data on Scandinavian Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) and red fox (Vulpes vulpes).
Another study system has recently been established at the coast of Helgeland in northern Norway, where we use water vole (Arvicola amphibius) as the study species.
Most of our research is carried out in close collaboration with other research groups either at NTNU, at other universities in Norway, or with research groups abroad.