Staff at the Natural History Museum – University of Copenhagen

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Nikolaj Scharff

Nikolaj Scharff

Head of Collections, Prof. MSO, Curator

  • Natural History Museum of Denmark

    Universitetsparken 15, 2100 København Ø, Museet - Bygn.11, Building: 2-4-433

    Phone: +45 35 32 11 07


Co-organizing and co-teaching Ph.D. course Phylogenetic systematics and Historical Biogeography. Two weeks in March in uneven years.
Entomology: structure, phylogeny and biology of terrestrial arthropods
(with other staff members/research associates of the Entomology Department).
For 3rd or 4th year students (spring terms).
Terrestrial Entomology Field Course. Residential course of 8 days at the Gravgærde Fieldstation, Åkirkeby, Bornholm.

Other duties

Responsible for ZMUC Scanning Electron Microscope facility (together with Bjarne Bisballe).

Miscellaneous (info)

Research Associate in the Department of Entomology at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., USA. President, International Society of Arachnology 2007-2010. Country representative for International Society of Arachnology. Associate Editor for Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society and Invertebrate Systematics. Member of the editorial committee of Insect Systematics & Evolution, Graellsia, and Folia Entomologica Hungarica.

Primary fields of research

Phylogeny and comparative morphology of spiders in general. Phylogeny and taxonomy of the spider superfamily Orbicularia in particular. Historical biogeography of the spider fauna of the Southern Hemisphere, and in particular the Afromontane spider fauna. Species richness estimations of spiders in tropical ecosystems. Functional morphology of spider genitalia.

Curator of Arachnid Collection. Asssitant curator Jan Pedersen

Browse the Arachnida Collection and Primary Types.

Current research

Currently, my research focus on the phylogeny and comparative morphology of spiders in general. Various ongoing projects ranging from species level to genus and family level. I am also involved in a faunistic project on Danish spiders.

  • Revision and phylogeny of the subfamily Gasteracanthinae (Araneidae, Araneae).
  • The Tree of Life: Phylogeny of Spiders (with 18 other researchers from 14 institutions in 6 countries)
  • Catalogue of Danish spiders (with 17 other Danish araneologists)
  • Taxonomic revision and phylogeny of the jumping spider genus Tomocyrba (Salticidae, Araneae)(with Tamas Szuts, Natural History Museum, Hungary)
  • Higher level phylogenetics of linyphiid spiders (Linyphiidae, Araneae)(with G.Hormiga, George Washington University, Washington D.C., USA and M. Arnedo, University of Barcelona, Spain)
  • Araneid Phylogeny and Evolution of Spider Silk Phenotypes (with T.A. Blackledge, University of Akron, Akron, Ohio, USA and J.W. Wenzel, Ohio State University, Colombus, USA)
  • The systematics of Australian orb-web spiders of the subfamily Araneinae (Araneae, Araneidae)(with Volker Framenau, Western Australian Museum, Australia)

Complete publication list

Participating in the "Tree of Life Project - Phylogeny of Spiders"

Guidelines for scientific research in Tanzania.

Checklist to spiders of Greenland

Large-scale biodiversity inventories:

  • Establishing an ATBI in the Mwanihana Forest of the Udzungwa Mountains National Park, Tanzania.

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