The study of biodiversity addresses the variety of living organisms and their variation in time and space. Biodiversity is under threat globally, with human activities accelerating extinction rates, affecting the tightly intertwined domains of human activity and nature. In addition to classical methods, it is now possible to map the biodiversity of specific environments by using advanced technology to sequence the DNA in combination with informatic tools.
At the Department of Biology, we aim at increasing our understanding of biodiversity, from minor genetic variations right up through to taxonomic and ecosystem-level variability. Our research contributes to the ongoing discovery of new life forms, from novel microorganisms in the ocean floor to new plant life in tropical rainforests. We examine biodiversity through an evolutionary lens to determine how the organisms we observe came about. For instance: How did biodiversity arise? And what are the conditions necessary to maintain it? In addition, we work on describing the role of biodiversity in threatened ecosystems, and predicting how biodiversity and the ecosystems will change in the future.
With my background in Biology, PhD in Global Development, and postdoc in Human Geography, l am trying to combine the best of different field to specialize in Environmental Justice and sustainability.
I am eager to explore creative and engaging approaches via inter- and transdisciplinary research collaborations and innovative students, from landscape design experiments and photography-based studies to body-mapping of nature relations, and Citizen Science.
Currently, l am steering a research project in South Africa with partners from University of Pretoria and private and public partner. We focus on collaborative, locally-anchored Green Infrastructure and Nature-based Solutions as a strategy to address great challenges surrounding biodiversity, inequity, water and waste in green spaces of deprived urban areas. The project includes co-development and onsite testing of landscape designs and ecological restoration with and in local communities.
In parallel, I am part of the SustainScapes research center, where I coordinating the LandSkab project, in which we will assess user perceptions through co-created landscape visualizations (maps, models and physical installations).
Tightly connected to my research, I see teaching as a privilege and passion, and an opportunity to integrate mutual learning with student-driven studies (see Pasgaard 2017).
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Jens-Christian Svenning is a macroecologist and biogeographer, with strong interest in plants, animals and people across the world. Alongside basic curiosity about nature, Jens-Christian Svenning is highly motivated to contribute to help overcome the climate and biodiversity crises and promote sustainable societal development. His research includes strong foci on fundamental drivers of biodiversity, climate change impacts on biodiversity and ecosystems, and human-nature interactions from the past to the future, with strong interest in fundamental issues such as disequilibrium dynamics and top-down trophic effects. Key applied research foci include predictive modelling, the application of informatics and space-borne and other remote sensing technology to ecological and sustainability research, human dependence on and benefits from nature, and rewilding as a promising approach to ecosystem restoration. Jens-Christian Svenning is highly committed to ensuring the societal benefits of his research and knowledge, working closely with a range of public and private actors on concrete real-world conservation, restoration and sustainability projects and challenges, as well as doing large amounts of outreach.