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Matthew Nielsen


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Works at Department of Zoology
Visiting address Svante Arrheniusväg 18 B
Postal address Zoologiska institutionen: Ekologi 106 91 Stockholm

About me

Broadly, I study phenotypic plasticity, particularly how it interacts with evolution to shape phenotypic responses to rapid enviornmental change. Phenotypic plasticity in a wide range of traits, including behavior, provides the first response to any environmental change, including those we create. These responses often involve multiple, interacting traits and rely on environmental cues which may vary in their reliability. In order to understand how organisms will respond plastically to different environments, and the evolutionary consequences of these responses, we need to better understand these interactions. I seek to address these questions about plasticity by studying plastic adaptations to temperature variation in Lepidoptera. A strong component of my research is considering how plasticity will interact with the new thermal environments encountered by organisms under anthropogenic climate change.

I recieved my PhD in 2016 from the University of Arizona, where I worked with Dan Papaj to study the interactions between developmental color plasticity and behavior in the caterpillars of Battus philenor (pipevine swallowtail). I also spent some time during my PhD working with Johanna Mappes at the University of Jyväskylä studying how Arctia plantaginis (wood tiger moth) use color and behavior for both predator avoidance and thermoregulation. More recently, I was a postdoc from 2016-2019 at the University of North Carolina with Joel Kingsolver, where I studied how seasonal color plasticity of Colias eurytheme (orange sulphur) wing pattern has evolved in response to climate change.

Now, at Stockholm University, I am working with Karl Gotthard and others to study the evolution of diapause and how variation among populations in diapause will interact with range expansions and climate change. To do so, I will be working with a variety of species; primarily Lasiommata megera (wall brown) and Pieris napi (green-veined white).

Last updated: October 1, 2019

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