Thor Harald Ringsby

Associate Professor Department of Biology
+47 73596277
Høgskoleringen 5, Realfagbygget * E1-124

Background and activities

Research

My research interests cover population ecology, life history and conservation biology.  

I seek to understand eco-evolutionary mechanisms that causes changes in species distributions and their abundances, which is in the core of population ecology. In order to understand such mechanisms we have to deal with how life history traits vary among individuals, how individuals interact with each other, how they are affected by the environment and how this relates to individual variation in fitness. Understanding and quantifying factors that influence individual variation in fitness is therefore essential in order to predict changes in population sizes over time - which also is central in population ecology.

 

Variation in time and space

A major part of my research have focused on how populations vary in space and time. It is important to understand how spatial variation in habitat quality among local populations as well as temporal variation in environmental conditions (e.g. variation in climate conditions) influence local variance in life history traits (morphology, survival rates, reproduction, dispersal rates etc) and population dynamics within a species.

Such knowledge is important in order to understand the consequences of habitat fragmentation caused by human activity (intrastructure/forestry/agriculture etc) which is one of the biggest causes of loss of biodiversity today.

I have studied such perspectives empirically in a metapopulation consisting of 18 island populations of House sparrows (Passer domesticus) at the coast of Helgeland in northern Norway since 1993.

 

The focus in ongoing work covers:

  • How does local phenology (e.g. onset of spring, NDVI), spring temperature, and climate change affect the initiation of breeding and the reproductive success
    House Sparrows
  • Density dependent reproductive success; in many bird species nestlings are fed with insects during nest stage (including house sparrows) and in high density populations the competition for insects will be higher; to what extent is the diversity of the local insect fauna (reflecting carrying capacity in the habitat) limiting the reproductive output of house sparrow populations. And, does the spatio-temporal variation (within season variation and among habitats (i.e. islands)) in the insect diversity determine reproductive output
  • Spatial and temporal variation in life history traits: the relationship between body size, growth rate and potential role of telomeres as mediators of lifespan and fitness in House Sparrows
  • Causes and consequences of variation in egg size in House Sparrows
  • Effects of ecto- and endoparasites on variation in individual fitness as well as on population dynamics in House Sparrows
  • Predator-prey dynamics

 

Teaching:

BI1003 - Evolutionary Biology, Ecology and Ethology

BI2033 – Population ecology

BI2034 – Community ecology

RFEL3081 - Natural Resources Management, Interdisciplinary Project (emneansvarlig)

 

Master projects:

Ask me :-)

 

Scientific, academic and artistic work

A selection of recent journal publications, artistic productions, books, including book and report excerpts. See all publications in the database

Journal publications


Competencies