What are the main drivers of extinction risk in a changing world?

We are seeking master students who are interested in combining experimental studies with ecological and evolutionary modeling to investigate factors that are important to understand and predict the extinction risk of populations. By combining lab experiments and ecological modeling, students will through this project obtain highly valuable experience and knowledge relevant to many potential career paths. Our main study organism is the water flea Daphnia magna, which is an ideal model species for ecological and evolutionary questions

Bildet kan inneholde: insekt, skadedyr, invertebrate, husflue, nærbilde.

The study species Daphnia magna (with neonates). Photo: www.sphere.be

Specific projects and research questions will be designed with the candidate to meet their interests and ambitions. We are also aiming to design at least two parallel projects for students interested in working together in the lab. 


Possible research topics include


  • Effects of increased random variation in temperature and/or food level, as increased variability is one of the main consequences of global warming.


  • Effects of autocorrelated environments (when for instance temperature or food level can be predicted by previous levels).


  • Identifying early warning signals of a population prior to extinction, for instance changes in demographic structure or population growth patterns.


Students are also encouraged to suggest their own research questions within this topic. The project will mainly be based on lab experiments, but can also include field work if the candidate is interested. Lab work includes maintenance of lab cultures of Daphnia magna and their algae food resource. Depending on the project, lab experiments will likely involve the use of video equipment and image analyses for monitoring population development.  We have a designated lab which was set up to study temperature effects, with temperature and light controlled rooms as well as incubators (giving very precise control of temperature). 


Statistical analyses of the data will be done in R, and the supervisors have much experience in performing such analyses as well as population dynamical modeling.


Students in our group(s) will be included in a friendly and stimulating work environment, both at CEES and at AQUA, with several opportunities for collaboration.



Yngvild Vindenes (https://www.mn.uio.no/cees/english/people/core/yngvildv/)

Øystein Langangen (https://www.mn.uio.no/cees/english/people/researcher-postdoc/oysteol/)

Dag Hessen (https://www.mn.uio.no/ibv/english/people/aca/hessen/index.html)

Tom Andersen (https://www.mn.uio.no/ibv/english/people/aca/tomand/)


Suitable for students in the following disciplines:

  • ‘Ecology and Evolution’
  • ‘Marine Biology and Limnology’
Publisert 12. aug. 2019 10:47 - Sist endret 12. aug. 2019 10:47

Omfang (studiepoeng)