Large carnivore population turnover and ecological change during the Late Quaternary
The dramatic climate changes of the Late Pleistocene as well as the increasing human domination in the Holocene have had significant effects on many large mammal species in the northern hemisphere. These effects can be traced in the range, ecology and genetic diversity of present day populations, as well as through the study of ancient DNA. The latter have enabled comparisons to be made with a time scale up to the past 50,000 years, revealing population turnover, range shifts and local extinctions in the distant past. My aim is to investigate these population dynamics and their causes, using one of the most widespread carnivores in the Holarctic today, the brown bear (Ursus arctos), as a model species. By studying both relatively modern as well as ancient remains, I want to compare genetic diversity on a large time scale. In order to study long-term changes in the ecology of the brown bear, stable isotope analysis will also be performed. The results will then be used to consider the relative impact of climate change and human activities on population-level biodiversity and ecology of the species.
Supervisor: Dr Love Dalén (Swedish Museum of Natural History, Stockholm)
Co-supervisor: Prof. Kerstin Lidén (Department of Archaeology, Stockholm University)
Oct. 2011 - present..........PhD student, Swedish Museum of Natural History
2009 - 2010....................M.Sc in Biology at Stockholm University
2001- 2004.....................B.A in Information Design at Mälardalen University
1997 - 2009....................B.Sc in Biology at Stockholm University
Xenikoudakis G*, Ersmark E*, Tison JL, Waits L, Kindberg J, Swenson JE, Dalén L. (2015) Consequences of a demographic bottleneck on genetic structure and variation in the Scandinavian brown bear. Molecular Ecology, 24: 3441–3454.
Skoglund P, Ersmark E, Palkopoulou E, Dalén L. (2015) Ancient wolf genome reveals an early divergence of domestic dog ancestors and admixture into high-latitude breeds. Current Biology, 25: 1515–1519.
Ersmark E, Orlando L, Sandoval-Castellanos E, Barnes I, Barnett R, Stuart A, Lister A, Dalén L. (2015) Population Demography and Genetic Diversity in the Pleistocene Cave Lion. 2015. Open Quaternary, 1: 1-14.
*) These authors made equal contributions to the study