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Maren Wellenreuther

I study the processes leading to and maintaining biodiversity by comparing populations of species that occupy contrasting environments. In particular, I study movement rates between populations along environmental gradients in relation to the genetic makeup of population, using experimental field and lab approaches, novel optical monitoring schemes and genomic approaches. Dealing with the wide range of environmental variables and large amounts of genomic data in my research is a challenge, but this interdisciplinary approach gives us new insights into the relationship between animals and their environment. It is an exciting time to be a biologist because recent technological advances in wide scale environmental data collection and genomic sequencing allow us to gain completely new insights into the processes that generate and maintain the biodiversity of our planet.

My CAnMove related projects:

Insect forest pests

(collaborator Bengt Hansson and Mikkel Brydegaard Sörenson)
Insect pest outbreaks are frequent and often have severe consequences for their host species, leading to large economic losses and changes in forest structure. This is particularly true for Swedish forests, which form an important resource for society and landowners. In this project, we plan to use ecological and phenological measures of diapause patterns in combination with landscape genomic approaches to understand inter-population movement rates and outbreak dynamics of the European spruce bark beetle (Ips typographus) in Swedish forests. We will combine genomic data with short- and long-term ecological and population dynamic data, which will include monitoring non-outbreak areas to prevent additional damage. We will apply widely applicable theories and methods to our research that will be transferable to the wider scientific community and contribute towards management strategies for other insect pests across the globe.

Monitoring techniques of small animals

(collaborator Mikkel Brydegaard Sörenson)
The measurement of small invertebrates, such as flies, is often made difficult by their high density, making it impossible for the human eye to accurately observe the movement behaviour of single individuals or the interactions between individuals. We are working towards applying a novel optical setup to study small terrestrial to quantify their movement rates and behaviour in relation to their environment (e.g. time of the day, sunlight, wind speed, temperature, presence of other species, predation) and interactions between individuals. The optical setups used in this works are developed by us and allows the rapid assessment of species identities, densities, sizes, movement directions and so on.

Genes and animal behaviour
Many species carry large structural rearrangements in their genome, which prevent recombination in heterokaryotypes, and these rearrangements can facilitate the rapid adaptation of a population to the local environment. The seaweed fly Coleopa frigida has a large chromosomal rearrangement on chromosome I which affects 10% of the genome. I am interested in how this large genomic rearrangement affects the movement behaviour of flies with and without this rearrangement. In particular, I plan to experimentally test how this genomic difference affects the colonisation behaviour and success of seaweed flies, and their response to increasing temperatures.


(fetched from Lund University's publications database)


Maren Wellenreuther
E-mail: maren.wellenreuther [at]

Associate professor


+46 46 222 90 14

+46 70 942 99 30


Sölvegatan 37, Lund


Centre for Animal Movement Research
Evolutionary Ecology, Department of Biology
Ecology building S-223 62 Lund Sweden