The Norwegian Research Council funds a CBD project

CBD congratulates professor Henrik Jensen most strongly with the funding of  the project “The importance of inbreeding and drift in conservation of subdivided populations” from the FRIPRO-program of the Research Council of Norway. A great achievement, especially considering the few projects in ecology and evolution that received funding this time. 


7th EvoDemoSoc Annual Meeting hosted by CBD

The 7th Annual Meeting of the Evolutionary Demography Society is hosted by CBD in Røros, Norway. From 15 to 19 April 2020, all evolutionary demographers across the world are invited to present their latest research as well as develop new collaborations, ideas and projects on the interplay between demography and evolutionary biology. The theme of this year’s meeting is Evolutionary Demography under Global Change.

Important deadlines:

  • Abstract submission: 12 December 2019
  • Early-bird registration: 15 December 2019
  • Late registration: 15 January 2020

For more information:

  • Website:
  • Twitter:
  • Email:

CBD welcomes Associate Professor Stefanie Muff
Associate Professor Stefanie Muff who will be member of CBD from September 1st 2019. She is a researcher in ecological statistics and biostatistics. Her research interests cover quantitative genetics and measurement error modelling of regression/survival analysis. She is also interested in the proper handling of statistical methods. Muff likes to take a Bayesian approach using MCMC or INLA, and uses these approaches to tackle theoretical and applied problems in e.g. evolutionary biology, ecology and epidemiology.

The CBD herd is now gathered in one area!
We are so happy to have gathered all our employees at ground floor of the natural science building, NTNU.  We can now be found in the area E1 and D1 in the natural science building (see map here: The Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) clearly recommend such a co-location, and the Faculty of Natural Sciences have been very helpful with offering CBD the best solution for creating a work environment that fully integrates our research groups. Moreover, the new locations bring us closer to research groups and the administration at the Department of Biology. The leader group have decided to mix members of the various research group in the new area. The target is that different research group shall get better insight in each others work and stimulate to new research collaboration.

CBD welcomes Professor Jane Reid
It is with great pleasure that we can announce that professor Jane Reid, University of Aberdeen, United Kingdom, has accepted a position as an International Chair Professor at NTNU, where she will be a part of CBD. Professor Reid is a population biologists, particularly focusing on genetic and environmental causes of variation in individual life-histories. Reid also aims to understand the consequences of such variation for population and evolutionary dynamics. These aims are achieved by applying a combination of statistical, quantitative genetic and molecular genetic analyses to long-term data from wild populations, coupled with mathematical and simulation modelling. Thus, professor Reid has a research profile that fits well with several of CBD’s research goals. Her starting date at NTNU will be October 1 2019.

NTNU awards to CBD people
Prof. Bernt-Erik Sæther received the NTNU award for outstanding research in 2018. He gets the award for many years of research at the highest international level within biological fields such as population ecology, evolutionary biology, and conservation biology. The award was presented by rector Gunnar Bovim, NTNU. During the same ceremony the committee for gender equality at the Department of Biology received the NTNU award for gender equality and diversity. Two CBD-people are members of this committee: Prof. Gunilla Rosenqvist and Aline Magdalena Lee.

Mathilde Le Moullec wins photography competition at the British Ecological Society 
Mathilde Le Moullec was awarded the student winner in the category "Ecology in action" in the annual photography competition of the British Ecological Society for her image "Can you feel the harsh climate of the high Arctic?". Mathilde's own story about the image: "Shrub ring-growth is irregular under the high-arctic Svalbard climate. The story started onboard a sailboat at the northern distribution margin of shrubs. Months in the laboratory generated 2 mm cross-sections of Salix polaris… Art became science, developing ring-growth time-series retrospectively tracking vascular plants’ biomass". The resulting paper in Journal of Ecology is found here. Read about the BES photography award here

The debate about Plan S
The Research Council of Norway has decided to join the initiative called Plan S, which means that no project funded by the council can publish in anything but Open Access-journals. The major reason is to reduce the subscription costs of journals and to reduce the publishers’ revenue. CBD is, of course, positive to open access publishing. The Director of CBD believes that the Plan S represents a dangerous strategy to choose and has been involved in an initiative to modify it, described in an article in Aftenposten November 16. Read the article here (only in Norwegian). 

Scientific award to Otso Ovaskainen
CBD congratulates Otso Ovaskainen for the prize for mathematics and life sciences awarded by the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters. The Academy highlights Ovaskainen's creative combination of mathematics and several biological fields. This multidisciplinary approach has resulted into the development of new globally applicable methods in field research and statistical analyses of ecological and evolutionary processes, which are widely used worldwide. Read more here.

Geir Hysing Bolstad at Researcher's night in Trondheim
On Friday 28. September there be will be "Young Scientists' Researcher's Night in Trondheim" at Rockheim. CBD member Geir Hysing Bolstad is one of the researchers who will give a talk about ongoing research while other young researchers will share their experiences from being exactly that: young in the academic world. There will also be live music, food, drinks and possibilities for discussing science into the early hours after the talks. Everyone are welcome and entrance is free. 
Read more about this event at

Mathilde le Moullec present changes in the Arctic
PhD-candidate at CBD, Mathilde le Moullec, was invited to make an online presentation on the dynamics between global changes and changes in the Arctic. This course entitled "Life in the Arctic: a 'hot spot' for climate change and accumulation of contaminants" is part of the multi-disciplinary GlobalArctic MOOC initiated by the "Ecole Polythechnique Fédéral de Lausanne". In her PhD, Mathilde Le Moullec is studying population dynamics on Svalbard. The video is found here (when the course registration page appears, click on the side and the video continues). 

Yimen Araya-Ajoy awarded the Pitelka Prize
The International Society for Behavioral Ecology (ISBE), has awarded Dr Yimen Araya-Ajoy and his coauthors the Society’s Pitelka Prize for their paper in Behavioral Ecology: Araya Ajoy, Y., Dingemanse, N. & Kempenaers, B. Timing of extra-pair fertilizations: fertilization trade-offs or pair synchrony spill-overs?

In 1996 the students of Frank Pitelka established the Frank A. Pitelka Award for Excellence in Research, administered through the ISBE. This award and its associated cash prize (currently USD 1,000) is given out at the biennial meeting of the ISBE to the author of a significant paper published in Behavioral Ecology during the previous two years. Eligibility of sole or first authors is limited to predoctoral candidates or persons that have received their doctorate within five years of the date of the publication of their paper. 

Honorable mention of PhD candidate Thomas Haaland!
CBD PhD candidate Thomas Haaland will receive an Honorable Mention for the 2017 Student Paper of the Year award from The American Naturalist. This is one of only two Honorable Mentions from a pool of about fifty first-rate, eligible papers published in 2017 in what is one of the highest rated international journals in evolution and ecology. Congratulations!

Vacancies at CBD!
Two postdoc positions: Post doc positions in population dynamics/ quantitative genetics
Centre coordinator. advisor: Senterkoordinator (rådgiver) - Centre for Biodiversity Dynamics

The OIKOS 2018 conference
The OIKOS 2018 conference was arranged from 19th - 22nd February in Trondheim. CBD was in charge of the arrangement, and also contributed with a number of talks and poster presentations. More than 300 researchers from all the Nordic countries gathered to learn about the most recent research in ecology and evolution through more than 70 talks, 100 posters, and 4 keynote lectures. CBD wants to thank all people that contributed to make this conference such a great success, and in particular the organising committee: Gunilla Rosenqvist, Irja Ida Ratikainen, Thomas Kvalnes, and Stefan Vriend, in addition to our centre coordinator Solveig Johnsen. CBD also wants to thank the Norwegian Research Council and the Nordic Society OIKOS for financial support. 

CBD in a large collaboration to understand human influences on animal movement
A new paper in Science has a co-author from the CBD.The paper Moving in the Anthropocene: Global reductions in terrestrial mammalian movements, shows that humans affect how far mammals can roam, reducing their movement by up to a third of what it would be in pristine environments.
The work is a collaboration between over 100 scientists, using data stored in the Movebank repository. It was coordinated by Marlee Tucker at Senckenberg BiK-F in Frankfurt, Germany. The CBD link comes from Prof. O'Hara, whose role was to provide advice on the analysis of the data. You can read more about the study  and in Science magazin.

CBD congratulates Prof. Jonathan Wright!
Prof. Jonathan Wright at CBD is awarded for excellent teaching. He is one of 9 professors/associate professors at NTNU that was recognised as having the highest pedagogical competence and teaching merit.. Read more here (in Norwegian):

CBD –success in the Research Council of Norway
This year CBD had great success with applications to the call for Researcher project in the program FRIPRO of the Research Council of Norway. The projects “Spatial differentiation of a bird metapopulation: quantifying eco-evolutionary dynamics in space”, lead by Bernt-Erik Sæther, and “Community dynamics in a rapidly warming high Arctic: trophic synchrony in time and space”,  lead by Brage Bremset Hansen, both obtained funding. In addition, Geir Bolstad at NINA obtained funding as a Young Researcher Talent with the project “The effect of life-history genes on eco-evolutionary dynamics”.

Hole-Nesting Birds Conference October 2017 (06.11.2017)
Last week, 90 participants from 37 institutions and 16 countries visited Trondheim for the Eighth International Hole-Nesting Birds Conference. Three days full of interesting talks, posters and meetings concerning all aspects of hole-nesting bird research turned out to be a great success. CBD and the organizing committee, consisting of Bernt-Erik Sæther, Marcel Visser, Ben Sheldon and Stefan Vriend, were extremely pleased and want to thank all participants for such an enjoyable meeting!

Midterm evaluation of CBD (03.11.2017)
The Research Council of Norway has announced the conclusion from the midterm  evaluation of the Centres of Excellence (SFF-III) and CBD received the highest score: "Exceptional". We are very proud that our research activity is assessed to be of the highest quality, and look forward to continue the fruitful collaboration with our national and international partners for the years to come. 

CBD-publication in PNAS (01.11.2017)
The recent issue of PNAS includes a paper by Lande, Engen and Sæther, where they investigate evolution in age-structured populations subject to density dependence. By using a stochastic modelling framework the authors show how evolution maximises population demography. The results point towards new opportunities for understanding evolutionary processes in natural populations. Read the paper here.

Svalbard reindeer sex issues in media (25.10.2017)
A recent publication by Bart Peeters et al at CBD plays a central role in a story on how climate change affects animal sex ratios (Carbon Brief). The paper, published in Ecosphere this year, shows that adult sex ratio in Svalbard reindeer may become even more female-biased after harsh rainy winters. 

Hole-Nesting Birds conference (25.10.2017)
Next week (Oct 30th - Nov 2nd), CBD will host the Eighth International Hole-Nesting Birds Conference. The conference aims to bring together leading academic scientists, researchers, research scholars and citizen scientists to exchange and share their experiences in research involving all aspects of hole-nesting birds. The programme will consist of 8 sessions for 10 keynote speakers and 29 contributed speakers to present their latest research results, ideas and developments within the fields of: Behaviour, Physiology, Population Dynamics, Movement, Speciation, Genetics & Genomics, Life History, and Climate Change. On Friday November 3rd, a genomics satellite meeting will be held at the CBD meeting room.
For more information, please see the conference website or Twitter.

CBD project at national television (11.10.2017)
One of the recent studies from the house sparrow project that is run by CBD, recieved attention in national broadcasing, NRK. Follow this link below to see CBD-member Thomas Kvalnes talk about the exciting results from the selection experiment that has been going on for some years (in Norwegian). The paper presenting the results was published in Evolution this year. 

One year residency at the Centre for Advanced Study (19.9.2017)
Christophe Pélabon (CBD, NTNU) and Thomas F. Hansen (CEES, UiO) have obtained one year residency at the Centre for Advanced Study in Oslo in 2019-2020!


Summary of the project: Evolution by natural selection requires that organisms are evolvable. This makes evolvability, the propensity to evolve, a fundamental concept in evolutionary theory. Yet, for most of the history of evolutionary biology, evolvability was taken for granted and not itself a subject of study. Since about 1990, however, there has been a flood of research on evolvability from several perspectives, but the different interpretations and approaches that have emerged from molecular, developmental and evolutionary biology pose a challenge. In this project, we will evaluate the past 25 years of research in order to understand evolvability as one of the unifying concepts of the "extended synthesis" of evolutionary theory. We will gather researchers from different disciplines that have been instrumental in the study of evolvability to synthesize what we have learned with a special focus on the historical and philosophical context that influenced the emergence of the concept. Our goal is to unify the approaches of different research fields into a synthetic multidisciplinary research program on the potential for evolution.

IPM workshop (05.09.2017)
On Monday 4th September, the workshop "Bayesian integrated population modeling (IPM) using JAGS" started. During this one-week course, Michael Schaub and Marc Kéry from the Swiss Ornithological Institute will enlighten students, PhD candidates and researchers from all over Europe with Bayesian statistics, hierarchical models and integrated population modelling.


CBD at ESEB 2017 in Groningen (31.08.2017)
Last week CBD was well represented at the ESEB 2017 conference in Groningen. Two symposiums were organized by CBD members (Joost Raeymaekers is co-organiser of “Eco-Evolutionary Dynamics” (S24), and Irja Ratikainen is co-organiser of “Adaptation to global climate change” (S26)). Additionally many CBD members presented their research in talks and posters.

Thomas Haaland and Henrik Jensen presenting their work.
CBD organises workshop in population modelling (27.04.2017)

CBD will organize two workshops in two consecutive weeks from 28th of August to 8th of September. “Stochastic population dynamics” will be given by members of CBD and “Bayesian integrated population modeling (IPM) using JAGS” will be given by Michael Schaub and Marc Kéry. These two workshops may jointly be taken as a 7.5 credits PhD-course at NTNU. External participants are welcome to apply for one or two of the workshops as well as the PhD-course. Details about the workshop can be found here.

Quality evaluation of salmon populations (24.04.2017)
The Atlantic Salmon Committee, which consists of members from multiple institutions including CBD, has evaluated the quality of 148 Norwegian Atlantic salmon populations. Based on data on abundance and genetic integrity (genetic influence of escaped farmed salmon), only 20% were categorized as having good or very good quality. For more information see

How Do We Decide What to Measure? (24.04.2017)
A workshop on measurement practice in life sciences and medicine at CBD, Organized by David Houle (FSU) and Christophe Pélabon (CBD) at CBD 7th to 9th of June 2017. Download the WorkShop Programme here.

Nordic Oikos conference 2018 (18.04.2017)
Every second year, one of the Nordic countries organizes a conference to bring together researchers working on ecology and evolutionary biology. 20. – 22. February 2018, CBD will, together with the Nordic Oikos Society and NINA host the Nordic Oikos conference in Trondheim, Norway. The theme of the Nordic OIKOS conference in 2018 is “The importance of ecological science in society”, with a solid focus on the need for fundamental ecological science. Further information about the conference can be found at  

Two new SFF at NV-faculty (15.03.2017)
The Research Council of Norway today announced that two new centres of excellence will be established at NTNU, both of them at the NV faculty and Department of Physics. CBD congratulates the NV-faculty and the Department of Physics, and the two new centre leaders, prof. Alex Hansen and prof. Arne Brataas. Read more about the two centres

CBD welcomes Professor Bob O'Hara (17.02.2017)
Professor Bob O'Hara has recently started as Professor at CBD. He will have office both at the Department of Mathematical Sciences and at the CBD-wing of the Natural Sciences Building. Bob spends most of his time working on ecology and evolutionary biology, mainly statistical analyses. At present he is mainly working on developing niche models for species distributions, incorporating observation processes, and looking to add temporal dynamics and interactions between species into the models. This has meant the development of statistical models and methods to deal with such complex and messy data. 

New people at CBD (17.02.2017)
The last months several new PhD candidates have started at CBD. These will strengthen core research areas at CBD, and become part of strong research groups in ecology and evolution.

CBD part of the kick-off of the new NV faculty at NTNU (09.01.2017)
Last Thursday the new Faculty of Natural Sciences (NV) at NTNU had its kick-off, with several interesting talks about the organisation, research and education, and future plans for the new faculty. CBD is proud to be hosted by the new faculty, and grateful for the opportunity to present our vision and strategies for our work as a centre of excellence at NTNU. 

Sigurd Einum and the management of Atlantic salmon (13.12.2016)
Professor Sigurd Einum is appointed by the Environmental Agency of Norway as member of the Scientific Board for Salmon Management in Norway for the period 2017 to 2020. CBD congratulates Einum with this position, which we consider as an important contribution to a sustainable and knowledge-based management of Atlantic salmon in Norway.

New NFR-project to CBD (12.12.2016)Photo: Ivar Herfindal
It is with great pleasure we notice that the Klimaforsk-programme in the Research Council of Norway has decided to fund the project "Evolution in a changing climate". The aim of the project will be to provide a new theoretical framework that enables us to analyse how fast phenotypes can adapt to climate change when subjected to stochastic variation in the environment as well as density dependence and will be headed by prof. Bernt-Erik Sæther.

Gender equality in science workshop (18.11.2016)
18 November 2016, members of CBD met for a workshop on gender equality in science. Before lunch we listened to several talks by prominent invited speakers; Marlene Zuk (Professor in Evolutionary Biology at University of Minnesota), Tor Gande (Vice Dean for Research and Innovation at NTNU) and Ingeborg Palm Helland (Research Director at NINA) all gave us insights through different perspectives on the problem and inspired with possible solutions. Elena Albertsen (PhD-student at CBD) and Joost Raeymaeker (Postdoc at CBD) gave their personal views on how they experienced gender equality. We learned about the problem with inherent bias and measured our own biases with Harvard University's Implicit bias test on gender and career. During and after lunch CBD members, together with the invited speakers, discussed practical tools and actions that can be implemented in our daily work and in the long term gender equality plan of CBD.

ReiGN workshop on ecological modelling (26.10.2016)

CBD hosts a workshop on modelling of reindeer data in an interdisciplinary setting within the ReiGN project. The aim of the workshop is to strengthen the scientific network, exchange ideas and promote collaboration with respect to modelling reindeer data. The overall aim of the ReiGN project is to understand how climate change and other processes in the Arctic will affect reindeer husbandry in Fennoscandia and how the industry can adapt to these drivers. The ReiGN project integrate perspectives from natural and social sciences as well as economics to identify key drivers, including internal drivers, and dissect their effects on the industry. Participants on the two days of the workshop are researchers from several different institutes involved in the ReiGN project in Norway, Sweden and Finland.


New employees at CBD

New employees at CBD

Postdoc Debora Goedert
CBD welcomes Debora Goedert. Debora is an evolutionary ecologist broadly interested in diversification and the maintenance of diversity at the genetic and phenotypic levels. In her past research, she has ventured into fields of behavioural ecology, population genomics, and quantitative genetics, and worked with a variety of organisms (e.g. birds, frogs, fish, insects). At CBD, she will dive deeper into population and quantitative genetics, investigating questions that also have applied implications to conservation genetics.

Staff Engineer Oskar Speilberg
CBD welcomes Oskar Speilberg. He has studied Industrial Chemistry and Biotechnology with specialization in biotechnology. His did his MSc-thesis at the Dept. of Biotechnology, NTNU, where he focused on developing a method to extract gelatin from salmon. This is an important alternative to gelatin from pigs, which many people cannot eat due to religion or lifestyle. He has afterwards worked as engineer at the Dept. of Biotechnology and the Dept. of Biology. Oskar is currently extracting DNA for SNP-genotyping of more than 17,000 house sparrows.

PhD candidate Agnes Holstad
CBD welcomes Agnes Holstad, a new PhD candidate here at CBD. Agnes did her Master at NTNU on the use of evolvability to link micro- and macroevolution. During her PhD, she will be part of the NFR project “Understanding evolvability”. She will use meta-analyses and comparative approach to understand patterns of short-term evolvability on quantitative traits. She will also do part of her PhD in collaboration with Mihaela Pavlicev at the university of Vienna, Austria. Her supervisors are Christophe Pelabon, and Thomas F. Hansen (UiO).

Postdoc Paul Acker
CBD welcomes Paul Acker who started his postdoc on September 15th. Paul is doing research in demography, addressing the causes and consequences of life-history variation. He focuses on modelling individual trajectories to study the relationship between behaviour, life-history traits, and population dynamics. During his PhD, he studied breeding decision and dispersal in Larids, with Emmanuelle Cam at the University of Toulouse. He then worked on partial migration in shags during his postdoc at the University of Aberdeen, with Jane Reid. He developed capture-recapture models to make inference on phenotypic variation of seasonal migration versus residence, and quantify the selective landscape of this trait. At NTNU, he will extend the scope of his research on the eco-evolutionary dynamics of seasonal migration with Jane Reid, notably aiming at the estimation of key quantitative genetic parameters.

PhD candidate Laura Bartra Cabré
CBD welcomes Laura Bartra Cabré who started her PhD here at CBD this summer. Laura did her BSc in Environmental Sciences (University of Barcelona) and MSc in Ecology (Norwegian University of Life Sciences) on the topic “Disentangling the drivers of European badger activity at multiple temporal scales”. Her PhD will focus on climate change effects (in particular extreme events) on community and population dynamics, using a combination of empirical data and simulations. She will be supervised by Brage Bremset Hansen, Aline Magdalena Lee and Vidar Grøtan.

PhD candidate Hamish Burnett
CBD welcomes Hamish Burnett, a new PhD candidate here at CBD. Hamish did his honours year research at the University of Western Australia modelling the microclimates, thermoregulation, and physiology of dragon lizards in restored mine-site habitats, and then completed his Master’s here at NTNU with a thesis titled “Genomic consequences of anthropogenic reintroduction in high-arctic Svalbard reindeer”. During his PhD, he will be working with the house sparrow group to investigate the importance of inbreeding and genetic drift in the conservation of subdivided populations. His supervisors are Henrik Jensen, Jane Reid, and Stefanie Muff.

PhD candidate Myranda O'Shea
CBD welcomes Myranda O'Shea, who started as a PhD candidate in July this yer. Myranda’s PhD will focus on social interactions, demographic covariance in fitness and evolutionary rescue, using a combination of theoretical modelling and analysis of existing data on long-term bird studies. Myranda received her MSc in natural resource management (NTNU) on the role of indirect genetic effects in evolutionary rescue and her BSc in biology (University of Ottawa). She is supervised by Jonathan Wright, Yimen Araya-Ajoy, Jane Reid, Stefanie Muff and Henrik Jensen.

PhD candidate Janne Cathrin Hetle Aspheim
CBD welcomes Janne Aspheim who started as a PhD candidate at CBD in July. She will work on the project "From pedigrees to genomics: an integrated quantitative genetics framework" with Stefanie Muff as her main supervisor. Before that, she received her Master's Degree in Bioinformatics and Applied Statistics from NMBU in Ås, and she has a general interest in all types of data, both big and small.