Welcome to the butterfly/plant group of Niklas Janz
In my group, we study the ecological and evolutionary interaction between butterflies and their host plants. We primarily work with butterflies in the family Nymphalidae. In our minds, they are among the most beautiful butterflies in the world. Now, even if this makes working with them pleasant, it isn't the main reason for our interest. They also stand out by having a large and interesting variation in host plant affiliations, both in terms of the kinds and number of plants they use.
Most of our research focuses on understanding the evolutionary dynamics of host plant range, host shifts, and speciation. And in particular how these phenomena are interrelated.
I have always believed in an integrative approach to science, and throughout the years, our research has come to span across a quite wide range of methodologies and approaches. The combination of comparative studies and phylogenetically informed experimental studies have always been at the heart of my research. I believe this combination to be very powerful, and that this interface between micro- and macroevolution holds the key to much of the evolutionary dynamics.
More recently, I have come to realize that further understanding of the evolutionary dynamics of the interaction between insects and their host plants require a better knowledge of the mechanistic basis of the traits involved in the interaction. Hence, in addition to studies on life history and behavior, much of the activities in my lab now involve forays into genomics of larval feeding metabolism and adult sensory physiology.
Interested in Niklas Janz' fiction writing?
When not doing science, I also write fiction (only in Swedish though). See my other home page for more info.