Biodiversity Section – University of Copenhagen

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Biodiversity Section

Life on Earth is diverse and exhibits striking patterns in the distribution of biodiversity across both space and time. Our research focuses on the grand challenge of answering one of today’s most important scientific questions:
What are the fundamental evolutionary and ecological principles and processes that generate and maintain patterns of biodiversity on Earth?

Research in the Biodiversity Section addresses over-arching questions about the underlying principles of life. We focus on understanding the past, present, and future of biodiversity by integrating approaches from community ecology, macroecology, macroevolution, systematics, phylogeography and biogeography. Using a combination of modelling (statistical & mathematical), experiments, and field-based approaches in hypothesis testing frameworks, we shed light on the processes that are fundamental to understanding the evolution of biological diversity, its distribution, the interactions among species and their future fate under global change. This approach requires the generation and integration of natural history knowledge, coupled with distribution and genetic data, evolutionary and traditional specimen-based research for thousands of species. We also actively promote and apply how knowledge generated from our research can address two of the most pressing challenges of our time:

  • Combatting the ongoing mass extinction of species
  • Predicting the effects of global land-use and climate change on biological diversity

Main research areas are:

  • To describe and document biodiversity, as well as the ecosystem functions and services it provides
  • To understand the evolutionary and ecological processes that generate and maintain biodiversity patterns
  • To predict future responses of biological diversity, including extinctions, to global change.
  • To maintain and sustainably manage global biodiversity

Main teaching activities are:

  • Biodiversity (BSc)
  • Danish Fauna – Vertebrates (BSc)
  • Invertebrate Field Course (BSc)
  • East Africa (Bsc)
  • Conservation Biology (BSc/MSc)
  • Entomology (MSc)
  • Macroecology (MSc)
  • Nature Management (full MSc programme)
  • Ornithology (MSc)
  • International Nature Conservation (MSc/PhD)
  • Tropical Field Biology (in Tanzania) (MSc/PhD)
  • Modelling species distributions under climate change (PhD)
  • Phylogenetic systematics and molecular dating (PhD)