The icon Karl Lindroth, professor of Entomology 1951 – 1972, inspired me to study in Lund. However, an interest in ecology developed during my basic training, which resulted in a Ph.D-position in the Parasitological research group. Following two summers at Ohio State University Acarological Laboratory in order to better know the parasitic mites, I spend (too) much time on taxonomy and systematics of the incredibly interesting group of Acari. The thesis (1985) was, nevertheless, about the intriguing interaction of ectoparasites and their small mammal host in the oscillating populations of Northernmost Fennoscandia. Since then, much of my academic career has revolved around systematics of mites and ticks and the ecology of ectoparasites.
When people started to live close together in larger aggregations, some 10 or 15 000 years ago, epidemic diseases became not only a serious annoyance but a population regulating mechanism. Outbreaks of epidemic diseases were sometimes the outmost consequence of ectoparasites activity. Moreover, the models used to describe the spread of an epidemic are quite similar to the ones that explain the distribution of ectoparasites in a host population. This, in addition to the obvious fact that many ectoparasites live very fascinating life cycles, has motivated me for many years. Advanced organisms, sometimes hardly visible to the naked eye, play, or have played, a significant role for the advancements of human society, not to forget a population regulating mechanism for mammal, and other populations. Another area of great interest, but close to the first one mentioned, is the association between mites and insects. This represents many kinds of relationships from phoretics, where the mite is merely transported by the insect, to complicated interactions involving competition for food or parasitism.
I am currently involved in the following projects:
Co-ordinator for the Mesostigmatic mites at the Fauna Europaea project• Species diversity of Oribatid mites in South Sweden, together with Dr. Viorica Honciuc, the Romanian Academy, Institute of Biology, Centre of Taxonomy and Nature Conservation, Bucharest, Romania• Predatory mites of Sweden. in co-operation with Dr. Faten Momen, National Research Centre, Cairo, Egypt.• Phylogeny and taxonomi of the family Laelapidae (Acari: Mesostigmata)• Systematics and taxonomy of the family Ixodidae (Acari: Ixodida)
Media frequently ask me questions about parasites in general and ticks in particular.
A project that I would like to do in the future is the study of the water-balance of house dust mites, with a view of eliminating them from indoor environments.
I teach “Faunistik, 3 hp, BIOB04” and the part of invertebrates in the course “Zoologi, 12 hp, BIOB02”.
Retrieved from Lund University's publications database