Plant biodiversity and conservation

– Söderström Lab

Pleurozia purpurea growing on a tree stem on Réunion Island. Photo: Lars Söderström


We have two main focuses, studies of biodiversity and conservation of bryophytes (mainly liverworts), and studies of the effects of environmental changes (mainly global warming) on the forest-tundra ecotone.


Field work on Fiji. Photo: Lars Söderström


Biodiversity and conservation of bryophytes

We want to answer two main questions:

  • What species exist?
  • What are their distribution?

Answering the first question, we use modern DNA based methods to delineate taxa, some with a bit cryptic morphology. This leads to discovery of several new taxa that we did not know existed.

Answering the second question, we perform both field, herbarium and literature studies. Field studies are performed worldwide, including expeditions to Svalbard, Fiji, the Andes, Réunion, etc. as well as in Scandinavia. This gives us possibilities map current distribution as accurate as possible and use it to predict changes in occurrence due to e.g. global warming.

Much of the work is done under the umbrella of the Early Land Plants Today (ELPT) project, a collaboration project with Field Museum in Chicago, USA.


Field work on Svalbard. Photo: Per Harald Olsen/NTNU


Effects of environmental change on the forest-tundra ecotone

We are especially interested in the changes the global warming have on the forest–tundra ecotone to understand how  trees and shrubs reacts and possibly move higher up in the mountains, potentially having an effect on many alpine plants and animals. For this we use mostly dendrochronological methods to trace historical annual growth rates and relate it to e.g. climatic data and anthropogenic influences. This work is mostly in cooperation with NINA.


Forest-Tundra ecotone. Photo: Lars Söderström



Main collaborators


Ana Séneca (NTNU)

Matt von Konrat (The Field Museum)

Annika Hofgaard (NINA)

Projects and networks


Early Land Plants Today logo

Early Land Plants Today
(The Field Museum)