I am a forest ecologist and conservation scientist with a special interest in temperate forest and its biodiversity. There is a strong tendency of taxonomic bias within conservation, meaning that nearly all interest is focused on a few taxa such as large animals and vascular plants, while hyper-diverse taxa such as fungi and insects are often neglected. I therefore engage in both both basic exploration of biodiversity within hyper-diverse taxa, and study the effects of habitat loss, management et c on this biodiversity. Until we know what species are out there and how they live, we cannot conclude on the best way to conserve the biodiversity or monitor changes.
Knowledge on species identification and taxonomy of hyper-diverse taxa are essential, but highly threatened and decreasing skills worldwide. My own taxonomic expertise is within pyrenomycetoid ascomycetes, especially those associated with living trees and dead wood. Fungi are little known organisms, and estimates indicate that only 5-10% of all species of fungi have been given a scientific name! And one does not have to go to the tropics to find undescribed species, but many new discoveries can also be made in for instance Norway.
Today the leading methods for exploring fungal diversity are based on environmental sequencing, but the high share of unnamed sequences poses a problem. Again, this highligths the need for species identification skills. In a new project on endophytic fungi in living trees, we aim to study how many unknown sequences can be identified by dedicated morphological studies of fungi originating from the same trees as the sequences.
I am also interested in restoration of temperate deciduous forest, the worlds most degraged biome. In one of my projects (TransForest), we experimentally evaluate the biodiversity effects of restoration cutting of spruce in recent mixed forests by using multitaxon criteria.
Finally, I use my expert knowledge to perform red list assessments of disfavoured ascomycete species, and black list assessments for species brought to Norway by man.