Research areas

  • Taxonomy, systematics and evolutionary history
  • Ecological processes and species distributions
  • The interactions between humans and nature
  • Material culture and forms of culture in a long-term perspective
  • Archaeology and advanced technology
  • Dating methodology and development of chronologies

Research projects

Cryptic species in the Norwegian lichen flora: taxonomy and conservation

How do we protect genetic diversity if species, as currently circumscribed, contain multiple distinct evolutionary lineages, so-called cryptic species?

Evolution and systematics of Sphaerodoridae, Annelida

Sphaerodoridae is a group of marine worms characterised by the presence of spherical tubercles over their surface.  They are scarcely known, probably due to their small size and low abundance. The relationships with other polychaetes, the systematics and classification of the group and their natural history are topics that require further investigations.

Diversity and biogeography of Norwegian nudibranchs (Gastropoda, Nudibranchia)

Sea slugs, or nudibranchs, had not been studied at all in Norway the past 60 years, until our project was initialised in 1997. We have been studying diversity of species and their distribution in Norwegian waters.

Diversity, Mobility and Crisis in urban communities (Acronym: DIMOCRATIES)

Understanding urban sociospatial organisation and demographic crises in a long time perspective by use of DNA analysis of human osteological material from medieval Trondheim, Norway.

Managing ecosystem services in low alpine cultural landscapes through livestock grazing

Current tree-lines in Norway are heavily depressed by land uses associated with traditional (agri-) cultural practices, but reduced intensity of land use and a warmer climate can interact to cause an advance of the tree-line.

Marine Ventures

Comparative perspectives on the dynamics of early human approaches to the seascapes of Tierra del Fuego and Norway.

Molecular phylogeny, taxonomy, and historical biogeography of Lamiaceae subfamily Lamioideae, including surveys of alloploid speciation in two temperate Eurasian genera, Galeopsis and Lamium

The principal purpose of the present study has been to elucidate evolutionary relationships within subfamily Lamioideae using various molecular tools. The project is based mainly on herbarium specimens.

Polychaete diversity in the Norwegian Sea – from coast to the deep sea

The Norwegian Sea holds a diverse fauna of polychaete worms, more diverse than previously anticipated. Recent work has discovered several new species and species described in the old literature but not seen since their description, has been rediscovered. Material from new samples will be targeted to discover the true diversity of polychaetes in the Norwegian Sea.

SPARC- The effects of climate change on vulnerable alpine heritage environments

SPARC focuses on perennial alpine snow patches as long-term hunting environments. In certain regions, PSPs have been shown to contain important prehistoric artefacts, ecofacts and sites. The low-temperature conditions associated with these sites make for excellent preservation allowing organic remains to survive within the ice, sometimes for thousands of years. Many alpine snow patches are now melting away and important cultural and climatic specimens and information are being subjected to exposure and deterioration.

SustHerb – Towards Sustainable Herbivore management

Forests provide a range of goods and services of vital importance for human society. The large increase in forest ungulate populations, notably moose (Alces alces) and red deer (Cervus elaphus) in Norway, over the last decades has been a key driver for changes in forest socio-ecosystems, particularly in concert with the changing climate.

The secret life of Sea trout

The brown trout Salmo trutta is a dominant component of both the anadromous and stationary fish fauna in Norwegian watercourses, and of great cultural and socioeconomic importance for subsistence and recreational angling.

Urbanity as social practice

The main aim of this project is to contribute to the development of an urban archaeology of practice as an alternative to the processual research tradition within urban archaeology. This practice focuses on identification, documentation, and analysis of material remains in urban archaeological levels and other relevant sources in order to provide insight, to understand contexts, and to assess the long-term consequences of the formation of social practices in historical urban communities. The current challenge for the urban archaeology of practice is to establish a theoretically consistent and sustainable methodological basis for conducting empirical studies of urban material remains.

Current Ph.D projects

Dwellings and societal changes during the Late Mesolithic

The PhD-project “Dwellings and societal changes during the Late Mesolithic” is rooted in the archaeological record of the Ormen Lange Project, which took place in Nyhamna on the island Gossen in North-West Norway in 2003-2004.

Study of ecosystem services from mires

Many of the functions of a mire is considered ecosystem services to man, e.g. its ability to store carbon and water. Especially its ability to store carbon has been given much focus in the last years’ climate debate.

The influence on physiology and environmental variables on the migration patterns and habitat use of brown trout

In coastal areas where Brown trout (Salmo trutta L.) have free access to the sea, some individuals remain as residents in the watercourse, while other conspecifics conduct periodical feeding migrations to the marine habitat. Whether an individual becomes resident or anadromous (often termed as sea trout) is affected both by genetic and environmental variables.

Ungulate-mediated effects on ecosystem functions and services in boreal production forests

To study some of the complicated interactions between large herbivores, vegetation, and climate, we compare field measurements made inside and outside large exclosure fences that have been erected on recent logging sites. By using long-term ecological data collected in several different forest types with known herbivore densities, we hope to be able to explain the observed differences in forest development.

Using herbarium specimens to elucidate the evolutionary genomics of plant invasion

In herbaria, a vast amount of plant species from different time periods and locations are preserved. Due to improvements in DNA extraction, sequencing and analysis, it is now possible to obtain genomes from historic herbarium samples.

Conservation genomics of red-listed plants prevalent in Central Norway

Species are used as a fundamental unit in biology, ecology, and conservation, meaning that their delimitation is essential. However, delimiting species is sometimes problematic, especially for recently formed or relatively young species with few or no discriminating features, cryptic species and taxa prone to parallel and convergent evolution.