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.