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Jacob Johansson

Researcher | PhD

Research interest and projects

I am a research fellow at Lund University and Imperial College London (Silwood park). I am interested in how organisms and ecological communities respond to environmental changes such as global warming, intensified agriculture or contamination.

My research focuses on the seasonal timing of biological events (phenology) such as flowering, bird migration or insect pollinator emergence. How does the timing of important actions in species annual cycles influence population growth rates and ecological interactions? If interacting species go out of sync because they react differently to increased temperatures, what are the long- and short term consequences?

I am the principal investigator of two interlinked projects in which we study how pollinator populations are affected by changed seasonal variation in flower resources and episodes of pesticide exposure. My background is in theoretical ecology and I apply various mathematical tools such as game theory, population dynamic models and optimization theory to study problems in ecology and evolution.

I belong to the Theoretical Population Ecology and Evolution Group (ThePEG). I am also active in the research environment BECC (Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in a Changing Climate). I coordinate a research network – a BECC action group – on phenological change at Lund University. I also represent BECC and Lund University at the Swedish National Phenology Network (SWE-NPN). Previously I have been a postdoc at theEvolution and Ecology Program IIASA, Austria and a visiting scholar at Imperial College (Silwood Park), London.

My current and past research can be broadly grouped into the three topics below. For my CV and more information please visit my private research website (

Pollinators and seasonal variation in floral resources and mortality

I am currently carrying out two projects in which we study how bumble bees (Bombus spp.) are affected by changed seasonal variation in flower resources. Our goal is to better understand how temporal resource peaks caused by mass-flowering crops or periods of food shortage influence population dynamics, competition and phenological adaptation among pollinators. We also consider the effects of episodes of increased mortality, for example due to pesticide exposure, drought or outbreaks of diseases. By studying the temporal aspects of the pollinator environment we hope to provide new perspectives on how climate change and pesticide use influence diversity of pollinators and the ecosystem services they provide.

This research is a collaboration between researchers at:

The two projects are funded by:

  • an International Career Grant INCA from the Swedish Research Council (2015-00302) with additional support from  Marie Sklodowska Curie Actions, Cofund, Projekt INCA 60039 and by
  • a Project Grant Future Research Leaders from the Swedish Research Council Formas (942-2015-839).

Climate change and phenological mismatch in species interactions

During the past few years I have studied phenological responses to climate change using game theory and population dynamic models. I collaborate with Dr. Jörgen Ripa, Dr. Kjell Bolmgren, Dr. Nadiah Kristensen, Dr. Kenneth Schmidt and others to investigate how individuals should respond to climate change in terms of the timing of seasonal events and how timing affects demography and population densities. We study these problems for a range of systems, e.g. timing of flowering in annual plants, migration phenology in birds, prospecting time for nest predation risk and phenological responses in food chains. Our hope is to uphold and further develop the scientific legacy of our friend and colleague Prof. Niclas Jonzén (1973-2015) who initiated this line of research.

This research is funded by the Swedish Research Council (via 2012–3620 to Niclas Jonzén) and I have also obtained financial support from BECC for research and synergistic activities.

Evolution of ecological communities and Adaptive Dynamics

Ever since I started my PhD with Dr. Jörgen Ripa, I have been interested in general evolutionary problems such as speciation in variable environments, optimization of life histories and how environmental stochasticity influences evolution of ecological communities.

For many problems, I employ techniques known as Adaptive Dynamics to study ecological feedback on evolutionary processes. Together with Prof. Ulf Dieckmann, IIASA, I have developed the concept of Evolutionary Domain of Attraction (EDA, which allows an extension of the classic evolutionary analysis for single species based on Evolutionary Stable Strategies (ESS) and convergence stability to multispecies scenarios. The EDA concept may for example be used to study whether an ecological community can be restored through gradual evolution, following the extinction of one or more of its member species.


Retrieved from Lund University's publications database

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Jacob Johansson
E-mail: jacob.johansson [at]


Evolutionary ecology

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