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Advisory Board

Prof. Staffan Bensch, University of Lund, Sweden
Prof. Erik Bonsdorff, Åbo Akademi University, Finland
Prof. R Andrew Cameron, California Institute of Technology, USA
Prof. Jeanine Olsen, University of Groningen, The Netherlands
Prof. Stig Omholt, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)

Prof. Staffan Bensch

University of Lund, Sweden

Staffan BenschA backbone of my research has always  been the ongoing long-term study of  great reed warblers that we have  carried out at lake Kvismaren since  1983. Over the years we have explored  many questions including sexual  selection, mating systems, adaptive sex ratios, territory quality, dispersal, inbreeding and outbreeding costs. My present research is centered in the field of Molecular Ecology with projects including population genetics and genomics of migratory song birds, conservation genetics of the Scandinavian wolf population and host-parasite evolution of avian malaria parasites.

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Prof. Erik Bonsdorff

Åbo Akademi University, Finland

My research focuses on the ecology and environment of the Baltic Sea. I am interested in both large-scale structural and functional patterns and processes, and the gradual changes in the system (i.e. shifting baselines for environmental assessments etc). The main focus of my research has been on the benthic assemblages (recruitment, recovery, resilience, succession and dynamics) under natural and anthropogenic stress (focus on effects of eutrophication, hypoxia and climate change), and the means of study includes both field surveys and experiments in the field and lab to elucidate the mechanisms behind animal interactions (food web structure and function, role of biodiversity including non-native species, predator-prey relationships etc). The Baltic Sea offers an ideal 'natural laboratory' for a variety of ecological issues (including those imposed by Man) as the system is young (current regime is less than 8000 years old) and the environmental gradients, setting the boundaries for the communities present, are steep and extreme. Hence, this system can be used as a model for our understanding of ecological and evolutionary processes, and catastrophic events.

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Prof. Andrew Cameron

Centre for Computational Regulatory Genomics,
California Institute of Technology, USA

My interest in the development and reproduction of marine invertebrates has largely been concentrated on sea urchins and their relatives. Over the years, these studies have ranged from larval development and settlement processes to molecular aspects of embryonic development and, most recently, genomics. Beginning in 1998, I coordinated efforts to get the purple sea urchin genome sequenced. I also oversee the echinoderm genome information system currently housed at SpBase.org. One of the rationales for this effort was the utility of the sea urchin as a model system to describe the gene regulatory networks of development. It is these networks of interacting genes which translate the genome information into an organism. With several echinoderm genomes now available, I can now address the evolution of the cis-regulatory modules that serve as the nodes of gene regulatory networks on a genome wide basis. The details of comparative genomics that emerge will speed the process of finding modules and constructing networks.

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Prof. Jeanine Olsen,

University of Groningen, The Netherlands

Jeanine OlsenI study the history and spatial genetic structure of populations of marine organisms. I want to know how populations and species are related and how they are distributed as a result of both deep historical events and more contemporary ecological processes, such as climate change.

Over the years my lab has explored many questions in phylogeography, population connectivity and fragmentation in conservation, the role of hybridization in speciation and invasion biology.
Most recently we have switched over to a focus on ecological and evolutionary genomics (EEG). In this approach we identify genes that are under positive selection and use them as markers to assess selectively relevant genetic diversity and its effects on adaptation and ecosystem function. We are also studying gene expression in response to heat stress in fucoids and seagrasses.

Although we have worked on a variety of invertebrates and vertebrates, I have always been fascinated by algae and seagrasses because of their diversity of mating systems and varying dispersal capacities. I am also interested in them because they are typically underrepresented in benthic studies while they often provide the structural habitat. Algae are currently in the limelight with respect to biofuels and seagrasses for CO2 sequestration. My lab is currently leading a genome sequencing project for Zostera marina being carried out by JGI in California.

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Prof. Stig Omholt

Norwegian University of Life Sciences (UMB) and
the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)

I am currently involved in a rather broad range of research topics. However, most of the topics are connected to the overall aim of contributing to the development of a framework or theoretical foundation being capable of explaining and predict how observed genetic variation results in observed phenotypic variation in causal terms. The topics involve understanding basic brain physiological phenomena, the tanning process in humans, the dynamics underlying generation of malign melanoma, the ultimate and proximal mechanisms responsible for the observed variation in filet colour within and between salmon species, the making of methodology and computational pipelines for handling the next generation of genotypic or sequence data in connection with detection of causative genetic variation in biomedicine and production biology, experimental evolutionary studies on yeast and associated population genetics/population dynamics modelling, theoretical-experimental work on revealing regulatory feedback in yeast, the development of a new high-throughput and high-dimensional phenotyping methodology for yeast based on FTIR spectroscopy, use of yeast as a model system for understanding heterosis in molecular terms, development of a new approach for how to make use of multivariate methods on complex models of biological differentiation in order to gain a much deeper understanding of model behaviour as well as the relationship between parameters/premises and model behaviour, use of the mammalian heart model to elucidate basic genetic phenomena, and the link between statistical descriptors of genetic phenomena at the population level and system dynamics models operating at the individual level. I have previously worked on evolutionary and ecological issues related to ageing experimentally as well as theoretically, and was from September 2010 - 2012 as a Kristine Bonnevie professor at the Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis at the University of Oslo - heavily engaged in how to bridge molecular genetics with ecology and evolutionary biology conceptually, mathematically and experimentally. 

Photo: Håkon Sparre, UMB

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Bitter-sweet. Photo Bo Johannesson.
Page Manager: Eva Marie Rödström|Last update: 6/23/2015

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