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Kalle Nilsson – new PhD student

Portrait of Kalle Nilsson.

Hello! I am Kalle Nilsson and I just started as a PhD student at the Department of Biology, in the Evolutionary Ecology unit. My main supervisor is Anna Runemark, my co-advisor is Magne Friberg and as such I will be a part of the Evolutionary Ecology of Plant-Insect Interactions-lab. This spring I defended my MSc thesis in animal ecology here at the department, so many of you may have seen me around before. My BSc is from University of Oslo, and I also lived in Oslo for the better part of a decade.

My doctoral project will focus on the ecology and genetic architecture of host plant adaptation in the fly Tephritis conura, and its two Cirsium host
plants; C. oleraceum and C. heterophyllum. During the last ice age, a subset
of T. conura populations underwent a host shift from its ancestral host plant
C. heterophyllum to a novel host plant C. oleraceum. I aim to study how such
a shift in niche affects the coding genetic landscape of divergence between host races and combine that with morphometric measurements to investigate the phenotypic effects of host adaptation, as well as of sympatry with the other host plant races. Additionally, I will use evolvability measurements to investigate how the bottleneck in population size associated with the host shift may affect the adaptive potential of the species.

Other broad biological interests are insects, which I have liked since childhood and I am very pleased to be able to do a PhD which revolves around them. Outside of biology I enjoy music and will happily discuss local rock bands with you.

Hope to see you around!

september 9, 2019

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