Niklas in New Orleans, photo by Phil DeVries
I am currently a Professor at the Department of Biology, Lund University. My main area of research is the systematics and evolution of the butterfly family Nymphalidae. Projects I am involved in:
I have been working on the evolutionary history of Nymphalidae since 1998, and this butterfly family continues to hold my fascination. We are uncovering interesting patterns of diversification and are finding plausible reasons behind the differences in diversity of the various groups within Nymphalidae. This work is very reliant on a large number of collaborators.
Our results on the family Nymphalidae suggest that major climatic changes over geological time scales have had a major impact on the diversification of these butterflies. This begs the question of whether such effects can be seen in other groups of Lepidoptera. I have expanded my research to include other groups of Lepidoptera, such as Noctuoidea (with Reza Zahiri) and Geometridae (with Toomas Tammaru). In addition, in collaboration with Tommi Nyman, we have received funding from the Kone Foundation to look at factors affecting diversification rates over millions of years in Lepidoptera and Hymenoptera (sawflies in particular).
In collaboration with 10 institutions around Europe, we are looking into the systematics and diversification of the big four orders of insects, Lepidoptera, Coleoptera, Hymenoptera and Diptera. The consortium is funding 15 PhD projects of which two are taking place in the NSG. One of these projects will be developing protocols to advance the field of museomics (i.e. the genomics of museum specimens) and the other project will investigate diversification dynamics of several families of Lepidoptera. These projects are taking place at the Department of Biology, Lund University.
In addition to my work on Lepidoptera, I am involved in a project using biological methods to study the evolution of languages, in particular the Finno-Ugric languages. Our project, BEDLAN, is a multidiscipline, multiuniversity collaboration aiming to bring novel interpretations of the evolution and development of our fascinating language, which is so different to the majority of the European languages. At the University of Turku, I am working with Outi Vesakoski on this project and we are supervising the PhD studies of Terhi Honkola together.
Click the image of Euphydryas aurinia to enter the Nymphalidae pages