Evolution and Ecology of Phenotypes in Nature
Micro- and macroevolution
Our research is integrative and focussed on the interface between evolution and ecology of phenotypes in natural populations. One major goal of our research is to connect microevolutionary processes on short time scales with macroevolutionary diversification on longer time scales. Together we explore various central topics in ecology and evolution, including natural and sexual selection in the wild, the evolutionary dynamics discrete visual phenotypic polymorphisms (e. g. colour polymorphisms), frequency-dependent evolutionary dynamics, the evolution of reproductive isolation, quantitative genetics of trait evolution, canalization and phenotypic plasticity. Another rapidly emerging research theme in our laboratory is the evolution of thermal adaptation and thermal plasticity.
Combining theory with experiments
Our research is theory-based and we use various modelling tools, ranging from classical population genetics to simulation models. However, we are also empiricists and rely on our strong tradition of field experiments in natural settings or in mesocosms. We strive for quantitative tests of evolutionary hypotheses. We have also contributed to improve the statistical methods in study of natural and sexual selection, and developed phylogenetic resources for comparative analyses.
Complementary research approaches
Being quantitative biologists, we rely primarily on three approaches in our research: experimental evolutionary ecology, quantitative genetics and phylogenetic comparative methods. We use these three approaches, alone and in combination, in our field and laboratory studies of primarily odonates (”dragonflies and damselflies”). However, research in our laboratory has also included several other organismal groups, such as diving beetles (Coleoptera), freshwater isopods (Crustacea), lizards (Reptilia) and ostriches (Aves).
Representative recent publications
- Waller, J.T. & Svensson, E.I. 2017. Body size evolution in an old insect order: no evidence for Copes Rule in spite of fitness benefits of large size. Evolution 71: 2178-2193.
- Siepielski, A.M., Morrissey M.B., Buoro M., Carlson S.M., Caruso C.M., Clegg S.M., Coulson T., DiBattista J., Gotanda K.M., Francis C.D., Hereford J., Kingsolver J.G., ; Augustine K.E., Kruuk L.E.B., Martin R.A., Sheldon BC, Sletvold N., Svensson E.I., Wade M.J. & MacColl A.D.C. 2017. Precipitation drives global variation in natural selection. Science 355: 959-962.
- Katayama, N., Abbott, J.K, Kjaerandsen, J, Takahashi, Y. and Svensson, E. I. 2014. Sexual selection on wing interference patterns in Drosophila melanogaster. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 42: 15144-15148.
- Svensson, E.I. and Waller, J.T. 2013. Ecology and sexual selection: evolution of wing pigmentation in calopterygid damselflies in relation to latitude, sexual dimorphism and speciation. Am. Nat. 182: E174-E195.
- Verzijden, M.N., ten Cate, C., Servedio, M.R., Kozak, G.M., Boughman, J.W. and Svensson, E. I. 2012. The impact of learning on sexual selection and speciation. Trends Ecol. Evol. 27: 511-519. Link
- Svensson, E. I., Eroukhmanoff, F., Karlsson, K., Runemark, A. and Brodin, A. 2010. A role for learning in population divergence of mate preferences. Evolution 64: 3101-3113.