I took my PhD at Lund University in 1994 studying the social and genetic mating system of the socially polygynous great reed warbler. Since then, my research interests have become broader in evolutionary and behavioural ecology. A central project is still the long-term (>25 years) project on the great reed warbler population at Lake Kvismaren, south Central Sweden, involving studies of social and genetic mating systems, bird song, inbreeding and malaria parasites. Presently in this system, we conduct geolocator studies to investigate wintering distribution in Africa and autumn and spring migration patterns, and link this to performance at the Swedish breeding grounds. We also conduct selection studies using our large pedigree based on DNA-sampled individuals with known fitness, behaviour and morphological traits. This involves microsatellite linkage mapping, QTL analyses and selection analyses of wing length and other traits.
A second main topic in my research is Immunoecology. During my post doctoral year at Cornell University, USA, in 1995-96, I developed a unique ELISA-based method to measure antibody-mediated immune responses in passerine birds. I have then used this and other immunological methods for studies of a wide variety of topics; sexual selection and honest signalling, immune cost of heavy work load (nestling feeding, long flights), costs of immune defences, and maternal transfer of antibodies to offspring. My third main research is Genomic Ecology, with e.g. studies on sex-biased gene expression in female heterogametic systems and sex chromosome evolution in birds.
Tarka, M., Åkesson, M., Beraldi, D., Hernandez-Sanchez, J., Hasselquist, D., Bensch, S. & Hansson, B. 2010. A strong QTL for wing length on chromosome 2 in a wild population of great reed warblers. Proceedings of the Royal Society, London B, 277: 2361-2369.
Naurin, S., Bensch, S., Hansson, B., & Hasselquist, D. 2010. Why does dosage compensation differ between XY and ZW taxa? Trends in Genetics, 26: 15-20.
Hasselquist, D. & Nilsson, J.-Å. 2008. Maternal transfer of antibodies in vertebrates: trans-generational effects on offspring immunity. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, London B, 364: 51-60.