Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Welcome and congratulations to two new incoming postdocs: Maarit Mäenpää and Masahito Tsuboi!

Posted by Erik Svensson

I feel very lucky that young and talented postdocs who are interested in joining my group have recently been succesful in terms of obtaining external scholarships. Here, I would like to welcome two new incoming postdocs who will officially join my lab next year (2017) and hence become part of the EXEB-environment. First, it is Maarit Mäenpää, who recently defended her PhD at Edinburgh University and who obtained a two-year postdoc grant from Emil Aaltonen Foundation in Finland. 

Second, and only a couple of days after Maarit found out about her postdoc grant, we found out that Masahito Tsuboi, who visited EXEB in August 2016 and gave a research talk on one of our Tuesday meetings, got a three-year postdoctoral position from the Swedish Research Council (VR). Masahito will spend two years abroad in Oslo (Norway) and Florida (US) in the laboratories of Prof. Thomas Hansen and Prof. David Houle, working on stasis and evolution of insect wing morphology, complemented with field work in Sweden and on odonates. 

Presentations follow below

 Maarit Mäenpää

Maarit I. Mäenpää

I am an evolutionary biologist, with a background in experimental research, and a deep interest in the role of different types of interactions – both ecological and social – on evolutionary processes. My research so far has focused on different aspects of life history evolution, from large scale geographic patterns in body size of geometrid moths, to the individual level effects of parent-offspring communication to the life history traits of a species of burying beetle. In Lund, I’m going to investigate phenotypic plasticity and trait canalization in genital morphology of the damselfly Ischnura elegans. My aim is to uncover the potential association of trait variation with assortative mating, and to thus explore a potential mechanism for evolutionary stasis and rapid divergence of traits. I will be using a combination of experimental and correlational approaches, in order to investigate both the existing patterns of trait variation, and to understand the underlying processes affecting it.

 Masahito Tsuboi


I am an evolutionary biologist interested in macroevolution. I have a background in phylogenetic comparative study of brain size evolution in teleost fish, where I enjoyed the effectiveness of phylogenetic comparative approach to investigate evolutionary questions in across-species, macroevolutionary time scales. However, this experience also revealed a frustrating lack of our current understanding in how evolutionary processes at macro scales are related to those at population or species levels (microevolutionary time scales). In the coming three years at EXEB, I will investigate the role of multivariate genetic constraints as the hypothetical “bridge” between micro- and macroevolution. I will do so by combining phylogenetic comparative methods with theories of evolutionary quantitative genetics. 

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