Mats Ittonen


Visa sidan på svenska
Works at Department of Zoology
Visiting address Svante Arrheniusväg 18 B
Room D 427
Postal address Zoologiska institutionen: Ekologi 106 91 Stockholm

About me

I am a PhD student since autumn 2018, and study on life history evolution in the wall brown butterfly (Lasiommata megera).


Species distributions are limited by the availability of suitable habits. Species ranges can shift either when range margin populations adapt to new conditions, or when previously unsuitable habitats become suitable, e.g. as a result of climate change. Range shifts can lead to strong natural selection on life history traits.

I study the wall brown butterfly (Lasiommata megera), which has recently expanded northwards in Sweden. I am interested in how these butterflies adapt to the new conditions they face in their new range. An important part of the life cycle of most temperate insects is winter diapause, a resting stage that allows correct timing of growth and reproduction to the summer. To time the start of diapause, most insects use day length as a cue: shortening days indicate that winter is close, while long days mean that there is still time to grow and reproduce. When expanding northwards, insects will face a different photoperiodic system from what they have adapted to further south.

I will study differences between southern and northern populations of the wall brown in Sweden. I will do laboratory experiments to assess differences in diapause induction and fitness during and after diapause. Then I will do field transplant experiments to study these differences and their fitness consequences in more natural conditions. Lastly, I will sample genomic differences between populations and look for genomic signs of evolution.

Last updated: November 20, 2018

Bookmark and share Tell a friend