Since 1996, our research in the Arctic and alpine
regions reaches across the globe.

 Copyright 2012 Cristian Gudasz

Keith Larson
(Project Coordinator)

Phone: +46 90 786 50 29
Umeå University Webpage


I am an evolutionary ecologist. After almost 20 years of research and fieldwork traveling the world, today I am the Project Coordinator for the Climate Impacts Research Centre. My job is to maintain the research infrastructure and teaching environment at the Abisko Scientific Research Station. Here I live year-round to ensure that the research platform meets the needs of our visiting researchers. I also coordinate our research-based teaching platform, coordinate courses, and teach. Importantly, I engage the public through outreach activities and citizen science at the research station and in the Abisko National Park.

Research Interests

I find life (and living) in extreme environments fascinating. Many species that live at high elevations and latitudes do so because they have specific adaptions to these environments. Many show great plasticity for a large range of environmental conditions, while others have adapted to quite narrow ecological niches.

I am interested in how life history adaptations in Arctic and alpine species are shaped by the environment. Further, how the timing of life history events, i.e. phenology, are affected by changing climate and environmental conditions. For example, comparing resident and migratory birds’ ability to time their breeding activities with the local conditions on the breeding grounds. Many migrant birds in Scandinavia migrate great distances from their over-wintering grounds in Africa. Because migrants can get no local information about breeding ground conditions and the timing of spring, we might predict that resident species are more plastic to changes in environmental conditions, while the timing of events for migrants is shaped by natural selection. Logically, do earlier springs and warmer winter conditions result in phenological mismatches for the migrants?

How do species at the borders of their ranges deal with climate and environmental change? For example, what happens to species and populations at the shifting ecotone between the Boreal and the Arctic or the forest treeline and tundra or alpine? Where do “Arctic” species at their southern range-limits or alpine species at their elevational limits disperse, do they adapt, or do they go locally extinct? Finally, what happens when previously allopatric populations or closely related species meet as climates change shifting distributions? Comparing the results of historical studies to today can provide many insights into these problems.

Current Projects

My public outreach and research in the news

Keith Larson's Publications

Photos from the field