Why are blue tits on La Palma genetically different? What makes a crow grey or black? Which genes control the long wing of migrating birds? Why are some damselfly females mimicking males? What happens when a gene suddenly becomes linked to the sex chromosomes? Can birds on small islands develop into several new species?
These are the sort of questions I am trying to bring some light on with my research. Luckily, recent advancements in molecular biology, genetics and bioinformatics allow studying such evolutionary problems also in non-model organisms. Presently, my main research goals are to uncover the genetics of traits involved in migration (in warblers), colour polymorphism (in damselflies) and speciation (in island finches), as well as to understand the evolution of sex chromosomes and sex-biased gene expression.
Pala I, Naurin S, Stervander M, Hasselquist D, Bensch S, Hansson, B (2012) Evidence of a neo-sex chromosome in birds. Heredity, 108, 264272. (doi: 10.1038/hdy.2011.70)
Sánchez-Guillén RA, Wellenreuther M, Cordero-Rivera A, Hansson B. (2011) Introgression and rapid species turnover in sympatric damselflies. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 11, 210. (doi:10.1186/1471-2148-11-210)
Naurin S, Hansson B, Bensch S, Hasselquist D. (2010) Why does dosage compensation differ between XY and ZW taxa? Trends in Genetics, 26, 15-20. (doi:10.1186/1471-2164-12-37)