Ingvar Kärnefelt

Ingvar Kärnefelt

Professor emeritus

Personal profile


I became interested in lichens after studies of botany in Gothenburg. After preliminary studies in zoology, limnology and geology I started graduate studies in systematic botany in Lund in 1972. My thesis from 1979 mainly comprised systematic studies of a group of lichens distributed world widely. Most of the inspiration for my continuous research on lichen systematics I then found from several scientists active in North American universities and natural history museums. These scientists also taught me the importance of publishing results.

I find inspiration in answering questions related to knowledge on biodiversity, loss of biodviersity, discovery of unknown biodiversity, number of species, importance of biodiversity, and especially answers to questions related to phylogeny and evoloution of organisms.

Since many years I have been involved in research projects on systematics and phylogeny in the lichen families Parmeliaceae and Teloschistaceae, especially focussing on the molecular based phylogeny. The molecular data have in many ways changed the view of circumscription and relation of genera and grouping of species in these two of the largest families of lichens, which today demonstrates a systematic arrangement very much different from the past.

With growing age I have also become more interested in history of science, particularly in biology and lichenology and in future I would like to spend much more time on similar issues.

As part of my work at the university I have been involved in management of museums and my concerns are to be part in and observe the continuous development of collection managment and biodiversity documentation and the general role of biodiversity informatics in natural history museums world widely.

I enjoy very much walking in alpine regions. Since 1996, I have also enjoyed being engaged as a botanical guide in Gasteinertal in the Austrian Alps in Salzburg Land. During several summer weeks I have guided hundred of tourists through the years learning them of the local flora, biology in general and also the cultural history of this fascinating place on earth.

I have supervised 8 Ph. D. from 1987 to 2005.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land


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Collaborations the last five years

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