Ola Svensson

Faculty of Librarianship, Information, Education and IT (including The Swedish School of Library and Information Science)
— Department of Educational Work

Telephone: 033-435 4311

Email: ola.svensson@hb.se

Room number: A405

Signature: OLSV

I am an associate professor (docent) in evolutionary ecology with a background in behavioural ecology. I recieved my PhD in zoological ecology in 2004. I teach among other things ecology. Please visit my Swedish page for more information about my teaching.

Research interests

My research is focused on local adaptation and sexual selection, ranging from mate choice and speciation to sperm competition, paternity assurance and care. I also have a more applied approach when studying effects of aquatic noise, pollution and the invasive round goby. My research methods include field and aquarium studies as well as molecular work on fish. I am a member of The Centre for Marine Evolutionary Biology (CeMEB).

Genomics, local adaptation and speciation

The sand goby (Pomatoshistus minutus) is an ecologically important species which distribution covers the entire Swedish coast. Within the Centre for Marine Evolutionary Biology (CeMEB) we are sequencing genomes of 8 marine organisms I was the species coordinator for the sand goby. The mitochondrial genome of the sand goby was published in 2017 and the nuclear genome of the sand goby in 2020. One of the major aims of sequencing the sand goby genome is to understand the local adaptation and insipient speciation over the salinity gradient Atlantic Ocean – The Baltic Sea. Another important aim is the use of the sand goby in ecotoxicology studies – see below.

Cichlids are perch-like tropical freshwater fishes often kept in aquaria. There are hundreds of mouth brooding cichlid fish species unique to Lakes Malawi and Victoria in Africa. Many closely-related species can be crossed in the laboratory, but mate assortatively in nature, suggesting that speciation may often be influenced by mate choice behaviour. To unravel the genetic background of reproductive isolation we designed and carried out experimental crosses, assayed male phenotypes used in species recognition and carried out experimental tests of mate preference using molecular paternity analysis.

The complete mitochondrial genome is available at GenBank and the complete nuclear genome is available at DRYAD.

Goby genome and insipient speciation publications

Selected cichlid publications

Behaviour and sexual selection in gobies

Pomatoschistus minutus and Pomatoschistus microps, both belong to the so called sand goby group in which all species have exclusive paternal care. My research on the sand gobies is focused on different aspects important in sexual selection, e.g. nest building, sperm competition, paternity and paternal care, and their mutual interrelationships. Furthermore, I am also interested in paternal care per se, that is, outside of the framework of sexual selection.

Sexual selection and behaviour – including larvae behaviour are expected to be affected by aquatic noise – to start with the female may not hear the male’s courtship sound. Also, behaviour is expected to be affected by various pollutants. This has been combined with physiological ecotoxicology studies.

Selected sand goby publications

Behavioural ecotoxicology and aquatic noise publications

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Please visit my page at ResearchGate for a full list of my publications.