A. Lovisa S. Gustafsson
My main research interest is in evolutionary biology. Particularly I am interested in speciation genetics in the Arctic flora. There are many morphologically described species in the hot tropics and few in the freezing arctic. This decreasing trend in species diversity from low to high latitudes is known as the “latitudinal diversity gradient” and represents one of the oldest recognized patterns in ecology. It is often believed that high temperatures lead to high rates of speciation. In my resent study, using one of the most extensive crossing experiments in the Arctic flora performed to this date, we show that new reproductively isolated species are formed at high rates in the Arctic. This means that the supposedly species poor Arctic is in fact characterized by exceptionally high and recent rates of formation of biological species. These findings are thus contrary to the expectation of low speciation in the Arctic, which typically has been regarded as an evolutionary freezer. We do not necessarily think that this pattern of cryptic speciation is specific to the Arctic, and in our current project "SpArc" we are interested to see if we can find similar patterns of cryptic speciation in other parts of the world, is it correlated to the plants mating system and what are the exact genetic mechanisms involved?
* PhD in Evolutionary Biology, University of Oslo, Norway (2008-2013)
* MSc in Evolutionary Biology, University of Gothenburg, Sweden
* BSc in Botany, University of Gothenburg, Sweden
Link to PhD thesis