Thomas Malm

Thomas Malm


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Personal profile


I am Professor of Human Ecology with a B.Sc. degree in biology, and a Ph.D. and Associate Professor degree in social anthropology. As a researcher, with a particular interest in Oceania (and islands in general), I have specialized in the fields of ethnobiology and ethnoecology, as well as historical anthropology and migration studies. Other research interests include the history of exploration, visual anthropology, and the history of ideas related to evolution and natural history.

My ambition, in my research as well as my teaching, is to combine the perspectives of natural science with those of social science and the humanities. This is what I do in all of the courses I teach, for example 'Perceptions of Nature in Time and Space,' 'The Place of Humans in the Ecosystems,' and 'Environmental Anthropology.'


Since the 1990s, I have conducted research on indigenous knowledge and marine tenure systems in Oceania. Themes in focus are how the rights to use near-shore resources are regulated by customary and modern law, how subsistence roles are related to gender and the zone where the tasks are performed, and how indigenous knowledge is reflected in the gathering, uses and naming of organisms. I have also carried out research on centralisation, migration and pearl cultivation in French Polynesia; ethnoecological knowledge and dietary change in Oceania; outrigger canoes; and the relationship between local Oceanic societies and the modern world-system. I also enjoy writing popular science based on my research.

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 14 - Life Below Water

UKÄ subject classification

  • Social Sciences

Free keywords

  • Human ecology, ethnoecology, ethnobiology, Oceania


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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