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Caroline Isaksson

Senior Lecturer

I studied Biology at Gothenburg University/Sweden where I also continued to do my PhD on the topic – “The ecology and physiology of carotenoid pigmentation", which I obtained in 2007. The main finding of my thesis was that urban great tits had a paler yellow (carotenoid-based) plumage coloration, and that the most likely explanation was that urban birds had a poorer quality of their diet. During this time, I also had a number of side-projects working on lizard coloration and oxidative stress in Australia, which continued over a number of years.

Following my PhD, I moved to Groningen University in the Netherlands to take up a post doc fellowship for one year (Rubicon from the NWO). Here I worked on endocrinology in the world’s most sexually dimorphic bird species, trying to understand whether maternal hormone allocation affected this dimorphism. After this post doc I moved to Oxford University supported by two subsequent post doc fellowships: one from the Swedish Research council (VR) and the other from Wenner-Gren Foundation. In Oxford my work focused on ecophysiology of great tits, trying to explain natural variation in oxidative stress in relation to life-history, environmental heterogeneity, and avian malaria infections.

In January 2012, I was appointed as Associate Senior Lecturer in Biology at Lund University. In 2014 I became Associate Professor (Docent), and in 2016 I was promoted to Senior Lecturer.

Some of the topics that I currently work on are (see project pages for more information):

  • Urban environmental stress and its impact on birds
  • Epigenetics in birds
  • Avian health and biomarkers
  • Nutrition and metabolism in birds


I use a combination of epidemiological, experimental and comparative analyses to understand the impacts of urbanization on birds.

My main study species is the great tit (Parus major), however, I also study other bird species common to both urban and rural habitats, along with aviary birds such as the zebra finch.

The main study locations are in and around Scania (southern Sweden). For example, we have around 400 nest boxes placed in the city of Malmö, and a similar number of nest boxes in a rural forest (Vombs fure). Other localities are under preparation. These nest boxes are mainly occupied by great tits and blue tits.

In the laboratory we analyze regular markers of oxidative stress (i.e. different antioxidants and oxidative damages) and nutrition (e.g., fatty acids and vitamins) using High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC), Gas Chromatography- Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS) and micro-plate readers for absorbance and fluorescence measures.


My research has been highlighted in The Irish Times. See also our popular science paper for the online blog - The Conversation: Africa.


Retrieved from Lund University's publications database



Retrieved from Lund University's publications database


Retrieved from Lund University's publications database

Page Manager:
Caroline Isaksson
E-mail: caroline [dot] isaksson [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se

Senior lecturer

Evolutionary ecology

+46 46 222 17 80


Sölvegatan 37, Lund