The Rise and Fall
of Species

How long does a species exist? Despite substantial advances in evolutionary biology in the last decade, the answer to this apparently simple question remains largely unanswered. In this project we are: i) analysing molecular sequences and fossil records to estimate how long species have lasted in the past; ii) identifying which major factors determine rates of species formation (speciation) and disappearance (extinction); and thereby iii) identifying which major taxa and geographical regions have been most affected by climatic changes in the past.

Funding: Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation (Wallenberg Academy Fellowship)

The Past, Present and Future of Neotropical Biodiversity

The American tropics – the Neotropics – contain more species than any other region on Earth, including thousands of species used as crops, medicines and crafts. Understanding the evolution of this biodiversity and predicting the effects of climate and habitat changes on species losses constitute a major scientific challenge. In this project we are: i) estimating the rates of historical migration, speciation and extinction among and within all major Neotropical biomes and regions; and ii) testing competing hypotheses of speciation for the two main centres of Neotropical biodiversity: the tropical Andes and Amazonia. To achieve these goals we are developing novel bioinformatic pipelines that may greatly improve our use of biological databases. We are analysing DNA sequences, species occurrences and biotic traits for tens of thousands of plant and animal species.

Funding: European Research Council, Swedish Research Council

The Quest for Cinchona
a Phylogenetic Tale

The objective is to use an iconic historical case to establish the predictive power of phylogenies as a new approach to infer the evolution of biochemical pathways or to select candidate organisms for drug discovery and traditional use. We will focus on Cinchona and relatives, which have been used to prevent and treat malaria for hundreds of years. Read more here. This project is led by Prof. Nina Rønsted (Natural History Museum of Denmark).

Funding: Carlsberg Foundation, Villum Foundation is an Open Sourced software platform for Collaborative Species Identification. It has been used for projects such as the Swedish ”Nyckelpigeförsöket 2018” where schools used the app for observations of Ladybugs. The pictures will be used to to build Image Recognition of Ladybugs into the app.

Funding: European Research Council, Climate-KIC, University of Gothenburg and the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research