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Inger Greve Alsos

Alsos_Svalbard 2015_Photo_Tony_Brown

Professor Inger Greve Alsos

Professor Inger Greve Alsos is leader of the Ancient DNA lab and the Research Group in Taxonomy and Biodiversity at Tromsø Museum, UiT – Arctic University of Norway (UiT) (http://en.uit.no/ansatte/inger.g.alsos) . Alsos has focused on past and potential future distribution of arctic and subarctic plants. She has combined genetic data (AFLP fingerprinting, cpDNA sequences, and ancient DNA), species distribution modelling, and fossil data to explore dispersal routes, colonization frequencies, and long-term genetic effects of climate change. Much of her work has a pioneering character like the first to: 1) estimate long-distance dispersal frequencies based on genetic data (Alsos et al. 2007 Science), 2) combine genetic data with palaeorecords and distribution modelling to determine past and likely future distribution and genetic diversity of a plant species (Alsos et al. 2009 Global Ecology and Biogeography), 3) estimate likely future (Alsos et al. 2012 Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Science), and 4) past (Pellisier et al. 2015 Journal of Biogeography) genetic consequences of climate change in a large assembly of species, and 5) quantify genetic founder effect in relation to island size, dispersal distance and plant traits (Alsos et al. 2015 AoBPlant). More recently, she has contributed to the advancement  of ancient DNA techniques and has discovered DNA of trees and shrubs in northern Norway and Svalbard, respectively, dated to much earlier than previously known (Parducci et al. 2012a,b Science, Alsos et al. 2016 The Holocene). Her current work focuses on building up a full genome reference database for northern vascular plants. While the existing method generally allows for identification of about one third of the taxa to species level, the new reference database may allow for 100% resolution at species level. The use of this reference library is currently being explored in an large, international project, ECOGEN – Ecosystem change and species persistence over time: a genome-based approach, to evaluate how drivers of change (human, climate, biota) affect species persistence and ecosystem tipping points in arctic-alpine biomes.

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