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Jesper Givskov Sørensen

Associate professor

Jesper Givskov Sørensen
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Functional genomics of environmental stress adaptation in invertebrates

The scientific aim of my researcht is to contribute to our knowledge and understanding of the interaction between environmental factors and the evolutionary processes that lead to adaptation in terrestrial invertebrates. This is achieved via a strong focus on molecular investigations linking information from climate, population level and physiology (functional genomics). Thus, the aims include identification of the evolutionary forces of environmental characteristics (e.g. mean, variation and predictability), the adaptations in populations (e.g. tolerance), the physiology behind these adaptations and the underlying molecular modifications to achieve an integrated functional understanding. This subject is relevant for understanding the effect of the environment on the distribution of biodiversity today, but has also perspectives for better evaluating and predicting the effects on species and populations of current and future environmental changes. Thus, the effects and interactions between different environmental stress factors and exposure to pollutants (e.g. chemicals and metals) are examples.

 

Temperature stress

All organisms are affected by the surrounding environment. Environmental factors such as temperature, humidity and many more changes temporally and spatially on different scales. Temporally, there will be variation across days, years and between years. As the environment in many cases is challenging survival and reproduction of the organisms it can be considered to be stressful, and this leads to increased pressure for the development of defense mechanisms and adaptation. One such environmental stress factor, that has a major impact on the distribution and density of species and populations, is temperature. Temperature can have a marked effect on populations, as fluctuation in temperature occur with a high degree of unpredictability on the different time scales (day, season, year and among years). Studies of the evolutionary responses and adaptations to variable environments are thus highly relevant for increasing our understanding of adaptation and the dynamics between environment (e.g. climate) and biological systems.

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