From the genes in cells to animals and plants, and to complete ecosystems. Biology research at LiU covers a broad spectrum and encompasses ecology, zoology and genetics.



How is biological diversity affected by human cultivation activities, or by forest fires? These are two of the questions that researchers at LiU are seeking to answer.

Ecology is the study of how animals, plants and other organisms interact with each other and with the environment they live in. Research at LiU focusses on population ecology, which includes conservation biology, vegetation and wetland ecology. Here, studies of rare species are carried out in order to obtain new knowledge about their distribution and requirements. Life in the Baltic Sea is another major research field, in which scientists study not only the complete ecosystem but also small toothed whales such as the porpoise.


Research in zoology works with such areas as heart development in birds and the sense of smell in several animals. Researchers study various aspects of how molecules stimulate the sense of smell in animals and cause them to experience smells, and how animal behaviour is influenced by different odours.


How has the genetic material of plants and animals been affected by breeding directed by humans? By studying seeds from historical collections, archaeological finds and gene banks, researchers are discovering more about how plants have developed.

Also animal genes are studied in detail when researchers at LiU investigate the genetic processes behind such processes as aging, sex differences, appearance and behaviour.


teaser image Hagenblad Group

Crop evolution - Hagenblad Group

Humans rely on crop plants for food, medicine, clothing and many other functions. The Hagenblad lab studies how crop plants have spread across the world and how they have adapted to different climates and cultivation methods.

Virtual Worlds: digital technologies in climate and biodiversity governance

Virtual Worlds explores the role of digital technologies in managing climate change and biodiversity loss. The program reviews how technology can improve environmental governance and include local knowledge for sustainable development.

fruit flies

Evolutionary genetics of ageing and sex differences - Friberg Group

Research in our group focuses on two fascinating biological phenomena – ageing and sex differences - and their interesting intersection. To answer questions related to these topics we conduct research using the model organism Drosophila melanogaster.

teaser image Lovlie Group

Animal behaviour, personality and cognition - Lovlie Group

We are interested in understanding behavioural variation, and most of our research is on causes and consequences of animal personality, including links to cognition, sexual selection. We mainly (but not only) use red junglefowl as our model species.

teaser image Jensen Group

Animal behaviour, domestication and welfare – Jensen Group

What guides the many facets of how animals behave? How has it changed during domestication, and what does it tell us about their welfare? Focusing on chickens and dogs, we tackle such questions using ethology, genetics and epigenetics.


Genetic architecture of brain structure - Henriksen Group

We use populations of both wild and domestic chickens to identifying the genetic architecture underlying variation in avian brain size and composition, as well as elucidating the effects and pathways of maternal stress.

rooster crowing

The genomic basis of feralisation and domestication - Wright Group

Our research focuses on the genetic basis of domestication, feralisation and behaviour. We use the twin processes of domestication and feralisation to unravel the genetic basis of complex traits.

teaser image Altimiras Group

Evolution of heart size in birds - Altimiras Group

The heart size determines aerobic scope and flight performance of birds. By comparing different South American Tinamous with Red Junglefowl and quail we want to understand evolutionary steps leading to the enhanced performance of modern birds.

teaser image Roth Group

Human-animal interaction - Roth Group

We study domesticated animals such as dogs and horses in their interaction with humans and how humans and everyday life affect the animals in the short and long-term. Our focus is on the behaviour of the animal but also on hormonal changes.


man working with bacteria culture in laboratory.

Pioneering safe chemotherapy methods for treating infections

Antibiotic resistant bacteria are a threat to human lives, and yet the development of new drugs is slow. A group of proven cancer drugs could possibly be the solution. A new class of antibiotics is now being developed by researchers at LiU.

A spirometer is used to measure the respiratory functions of the dolphins. It gives the researchers at Kolmården data used to diagnose health issues and how the lungs perform in a dive. - If we understand their physiological capacity, we can understand better how climate changes will affect their capability to find food, says Andreas Fahlman.

Kolmården hosts students in Zoo biology course

The International Master's Programme in Applied Ethology and Animal Biology was welcomed by Kolmården in the course Zoo biology. Students spent four weeks with the researchers to learn how research on zoo-animals is performed and why.

Fruit fly close up.

Ageing neutralises sex differences in the brain

When male and female fruit flies age, their brains become desexualized. This is the conclusion of a study performed by a research group at Linköping University.