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The tremendous biodiversity surrounding us is astonishing. However, a lot of the diversity we see today would be expected to get lost by genetic drift over time in the absence of selective forces maintaining such diversity. That begs the question that often tends to be forgotten: how and why is this variation maintained?

My main interest lies in how genetic and phenotypic variation is maintained over both microevolutionary time scales over a few generations and over macroevolutionary time scales over millions of years. More specifically I am interested in how genetic colour polymorphisms that occur in several closely related species of damselflies. These trans-speciespolymorphisms have survived several speciation events and have been maintained over millions of years. Such trans-species polymorphisms occur in many species and genera of damselflies, and my PhD-project will especially focus on the genus Ischnura (“forktails”)

I will tackle these questions by using a diverse but complementary set of methods, including field studies in natural populations, mesocosm experiments, molecular and genomic approaches and integrate these empirical approaches with evolutionary theory.


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