Elisabeth M. Biersma

Elisabeth M. Biersma


Member of:

    Research Interests

    I am an evolutionary biologist at the University of Copenhagen and Natural History Museum of Denmark. My research interests focus on the origins and evolutionary history of biodiversity in polar areas, particularly plants (vascular plants, mosses) and microbial groups (fungi and bacteria). For my research I use herbarium and fresh samples in combination with a range of genetic methods, including population genetic, phylogeographic, molecular dating methods and next-generation sequencing. 


    For more information see my personal website: 



    Please feel free to contact me for possible M.Sc. student research projects (elisabeth.biersma@snm.ku.dk). 



    The evolutionary history of the flora in Greenland:

    My research at the University of Copenhagen and Natural History Museum of Denmark sets out to investigate the origin and age of the Greenlandic flora in relation to the island's past glacial history. I am particularly interested in:

    • the routes and timings of floral colonisation into and within Greenland
    • whether life may have survived in Greenland during the Last Glacial Maximum
    • speciation processes related to polar organisms (molecular rates, polyploidy, life cycles etc)

    My research is funded by a Carlsberg Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship and a research grant from the Aage V. Jensen Foundation. 


    I also work part-time at the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) in Cambridge, UK, on similar subjects related to the evolutionary history of Antarctic biota. 




    Natural History Museum of Denmark

    Øster Farimagsgade 5, 

    Building 7, 1st 7-136

    DK-1353 Copenhagen 






    ID: 226572167