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Evolution and Ecology of Phenotypes in Nature

A collage of different dragonflies and damselflies.

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).

A diagram of phylogeny of dragonflies and damselflies.

Representative recent publications

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Contact information

Erik Svensson
Evolutionary ecology

Telephone: +46 46-222 38 19
E-mail: Erik [dot] Svensson [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se

Join our group

Please contact Erik Svensson or any other members of the lab if you are interested in our research or would like to discuss some collaboration.