Snæbjörn Pálsson

Snæbjörn Pálsson, prófessor í stofnlíffræði við Líf- og umhverfisvísindadeild Háskóla Íslands heldur yfirlitserindi á líffræðiráðstefnunni um athuganir á uppruna tegunda á Íslandi og notkun umhverfisDNA til að greina tegundafjölbreytileika í ferskvatnslindum. Erindið nefnist: Um uppruna tegunda og tegundafjölbreytileika á Íslandi.

Snæbjörn Pálsson is a Professor in Population Biology at the Department of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Iceland. He got his BS-degree in biology from the University of Iceland, a masters degree from Department of Ecology and Evolution at SUNY at Stony Brook, New York and a PhD degree in genetics from Uppsala University, Sweden. His research has been mainly in the field of population genetics; how genetic variation among and within populations of various species has been shaped by natural selection, mode of reproduction, linkage, dispersal, population size and history. In addition he has an experience of applying statistical methods in ecology and evolution, including morphological and community data analysis.

Snæbjörn will give a plenary talk entitled:

On the origin of species and species diversity in Iceland.

Abstract: The biota of Iceland is characterized by low species diversity and few endemic species. This has been explained by the short time since glaciers covered the whole country and its geographic isolation. By applying genetic and morphological methods it is possible to study these patterns further, assess the species diversity and evaluate whether the species in Iceland, even in some cases referred to as subspecies due to unique morphological traits, present unique evolutionary lineages which may have diverged in Iceland during the last 10-15 thousand years. Such diversification could have occurred by means of natural selection, due to specific environment or small population sizes, and which may have been further facilitated by the geographical isolation. Another explanation is that genetic divergence of populations in Iceland may reflect an ancient split which evolved among populations in different refugia at southerly latitudes during glacial periods of Ice Age. In this talk I will present recent results from studies on the genetic origin of various species in Iceland, including walruses, subspecies of birds, insects and groundwater amphipods which present a unique example, and from marine species. If time allows I will describe briefly the application of eDNA metabarcoding to assess diversity (even of undescribed species) in freshwater springs along the volcanic zone of Iceland. This has revealed a large number of taxa, including bacteria and unicellular eukaryotes, but also a wealth of other species including fungi, nematoda, and some arthropods and fish.