Academic research group

The Systematics and Evolution Group (SEG)

We are working with biological diversity in the broad sense. Our main interests are what processes contributes to observed biodiversity, what are the drivers and why is diversity lost. In our research, we discover, give names to, and classify new species (taxonomy), determine evolutionary relationships between organisms, and thus contribute to our common understanding of the tree of life and the history of life on Earth. We also study what processes cause new species to be formed, and what processes that explain the distribution and variety in different geographic regions around the world.

Systematics and Evolution Group at the NTNU University Museum. Photo: Åge Hojem, NTNU University Museum.

SEG consists of botanists and zoologists. We study different kinds of organisms, including vascular plants, insects, bryophytes, marine organisms, lichens – and humans. We use both morphological and molecular tools in this work, depending on study organism and the kinds of questions asked. We map species and collect them in nature, and use a range of laboratory analyses. We use genome analyses and advanced bioinformatics to gain detailed knowledge on biodiversity and the history of species.

We teach on all levels at the NTNU, both at bachelor level (including course in floristics, faunistics and biogeography), masters level (in collaboration with the Nordic NABiS network, Nordic Academy of Biodiversity Studies), and PhD level (including courses in collaboration with ForBio, the Norwegian Research School in Biosystematics). We offer many different kinds of master projects.



Professor Hans K. StenøienHans K. Stenøien, Professor
Head of Research Group

Recent publications

  • Martin MD, Vieira FG, Ho SY, Wales N, Schubert M, Seguin-Orlando A, Ristaino JB, Gilbert MT (2016) Genomic characterization of a South American Phytophthora hybrid mandates reassessment of the geographic origins of Phytophthora infestans. Mol Biol Evol 33: 478-491
  • Fossøy F, Sorenson MD, Liang W, Ekrem T et al. (2016) Ancient origin and maternal inheritance of blue cuckoo eggs. Nature Communications 7: 10272 
  • Wangen K, Speed JDM, Hassel K (2016) Hyper-oceanic liverwort species of conservation concern: evidence for dispersal limitation and identification of suitable uncolonised regions. Biodivers Conserv DOI 10.1007/s10531-016-1105-y
  • Kyrkjeeide MO, Hassel K, Flatberg KI, Shaw AJ, Yousefi N, Stenøien HK (2016) Spatial Genetic structure of the abundant and widespread peatmoss Sphagnum magellanicum Brid. PLoS One DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0148447
  • Kyrkjeeide MO, Hassel K, Flatberg KI, Shaw AJ, Brochmann C, Stenøien HK (2016) Long-distance dispersal and barriers shape genetic structure of peatmosses (Sphagnum) across the Northern Hemisphere. J Biogeogr DOI: 10.1111/jbi.12716 
  • Kranzfelder P, Ekrem T, Stur E (2016) Trace DNA from insect skins: a comparison of five extraction protocols and direct PCR on chironomid pupal exuviae. Mol Ecol Resources 16: 353-363
  • Fossen EIF, Ekrem T, Nilsson A, Bergsten J (2016) Species delimitation in northern European water scavenger beetles of the genus Hydrobius (Coleoptera, Hydrophilidae). ZooKeys 564: 71-120
  • Da Silva FL, Ekrem T (2016) Phylogenetic relationships of nonbiting midges in the subfamily Tanypodinae (Diptera: Chironomidae) inferred from morphology. Systematic Entomology 41: 73-92


Projects funded by The Research Council of Norway/EEA:

PhD projects:




  • Molecular lab
  • Clean-laboratory for analysis of ancient DNA
  • Growth room 
  • Growth chamber 
  • Microscopy lab 

Scentific Collections

International partners