Department of Zoology
SE-106 91 Stockholm
Background and career
I was born in Sundsvall, Sweden, in 1959. I moved to Stockholm in 1979 to study Biology at Stockholm University. I graduated (equivalent to MSc) in Science Education in 1985 and in Biology in 1986. I then became a PhD student at the Department of Zoology under the supervision of Christer Wiklund, and in 1991 I presented my thesis Butterfly Life History Adaptations in Seasonal Environments. Later the same year I received a research grant from the Swedish Research Council (then NFR) and could create a temporary Assistant Professor position for myself. In 1993 I earned the title of Docent, in 1998 I received a permanent Lecturer/Associate Professor position, and in 2002 I was promoted to Professor. In 2005 I became Vice Head of the Department of Zoology, and 2008-2013 I served as Head of Department. From January 1 2015 I will serve as Dean of the Biology Section of the Faculty of Science.
Teaching and supervision: During the period 1988-1995 I did extensive undergraduate teaching, including several course leaderships in e.g. Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and organization of several new courses. Between 1995 and 2007 I acted as coordinator for PhD student courses in Ecology, Ethology and Evolution, appointed by the Section of Biology, and 2003-2007 also as leader of the Research School "Ecology, Biodiversity and the Environment". For this reason I did most of my teaching 1996-2007 at the PhD level (Introduction to research studies, Writing scientific papers, Philosophy of Science, Evolutionary Biology etc). I still give yearly lectures and courses on the practical and philosophical aspects of Science. I have supervised eight finished PhD students (Karl Gotthard 1993-1999, Niklas Janz 1993-1999, Anders Bergström 1999-2005, Georg H. Nygren 2000-2005, Elisabet Weingartner 2001-2008, Dan Wilhelmsson 2003-2009, Matthias H. Andersson 2008-2011, Lina Söderlind 2007-2012) and have hosted several post docs, including Jack Windig, Niklas Wahlberg and Ulassa Kodandaramaiah. I currently supervise PhD student Kristin Löwenborg.
Collegial assignments: I was a member of the Editorial Board for Ecology 2001-2004, member of the Council of the European Society for Evolutionary Biology (ESEB) 2005-2009, International Vice President of the Lepidopterist's Society 2009-2010 and I’m currently Editorial Board Member for the Journal of Research on the Lepidoptera.
My current personal research project (2012-2014) is "Evolution of insect host plant utilization and life history: a hierarchical approach", funded by the Swedish Research Council (VR). I collaborate with Niklas Janz's group studying insect-plant relationships in a subproject of my broader series of projects on insect phenotypic plasticity, exploring the considerable environmental effects that the host plants have on the fitness of insects and potential links to speciation. In my research as a whole I strive for a synthesis between the host plant work and the other subprojects, which deal with areas such as effects of temperature and photoperiod on insect life histories and life cycles, connections to sexual selection, and the effects of phenotypic plasticity on speciation and extinction processes. Phylogenetic analysis is an important tool for such questions, and for this reason I am also very interested in butterfly systematics, an area in which I collaborate with Niklas Wahlberg. I'm a firm believer in the strength of combining insights from phylogenetic and experimental studies, and my projects always include both approaches.
Major research collaborations: I am one of the Principal Investigators on the Stockholm University strategic research programme EkoKlim, on the effects of climate on biodiversity and ecosystem services, and a member of the steering group. I am project leader for the new cross-biological project “Insect life cycle genomics and adaptation in the wild”, funded by the Knut & Alice Wallenberg Foundation 2013-2017, with additional funding from VR 2013-2016.
I'm married to Maria and have two children born 1988 and 1990. My off-work interests include TV shows, film and reading.
Nylin, S. 1988. Host plant specialization and seasonality in a polyphagous butterfly, Polygonia c-album (Nymphalidae). Oikos 53: 381-386. Download
Nylin, S. 1989. Effects of changing photoperiods in the life cycle regulation of the comma butterfly, Polygonia c-album (Nymphalidae). Ecol Entomol 14: 209-218. Download
Nylin, S., P.-O. Wickman, and C. Wiklund 1989. Seasonal plasticity in growth and development of the speckled wood butterfly, Pararge aegeria (Satyrinae). Biol J Linn Soc 38: 155-171. Download
Wanntorp, H.-E., D. R. Brooks, T. Nilsson, S. Nylin, F. Ronquist, S. C. Stearns, and N. Wedell 1990. Phylogenetic approaches in ecology. Oikos 57: 119-132. Download
Ronquist, F., and S. Nylin 1990. Process and pattern in the evolution of species associations. Syst. Zool. 39: 323-344. Download
Nylin, S., and L. Svärd 1991. Latitudinal patterns in the size of European butterflies. Hol Ecol 14: 192-202 . Download
Wiklund, C., S. Nylin, and J. Forsberg 1991. Sex-related variation in growth rate as a result of selection for large size and protandry in a bivoltine butterfly (Pieris napi L.). Oikos 60: 241-250. Download
Wiklund, C., P.-O. Wickman, and S. Nylin 1992. A sex difference in reaction norms for direct/diapause development: a result of selection for protandry. Evolution 46: 519-528. Download
Nylin, S. 1992. Seasonal plasticity in life history traits: growth and development in Polygonia c-album (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae). Biol J Linn Soc 47: 301-323. Download
Nylin, S., C. Wiklund, P. O. Wickman, and E. Garciabarros 1993. Absence of trade-offs between sexual size dimorphism and early male emergence in a butterfly. Ecology 74: 1414-1427. Download
Nylin, S., and N. Janz 1993. Oviposition preference and larval performance in Polygonia c-album (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae) - the choice between bad and worse. Ecological Entomology 18: 394-398. Download
S. 1994. Seasonal plasticity and life-cycle
adaptations in butterflies. Pp. 41-67 in Danks,
H. V. ed. Insect Life-cycle Polymorphism. Kluwer
and N. Wedell 1994. Sexual size dimorphism and comparative methods. Pp.
253-280 in Eggleton, P. and R. I. Vane-Wright
eds. Phylogenetics and ecology. Academic Press,
Nylin, S., P.-O. Wickman, and C. Wiklund 1994. Genetics of development time in a butterfly: predictions from optimality and a test by subspecies crossing. Proc. R. Soc.: Biol. Sci. 257: 215-219. Download
Janz, N., S. Nylin, and N. Wedell 1994. Host plant utilization in the comma butterfly: sources of variation and evolutionary implications. Oecologia 99: 132-140. Download
Gotthard, K., S. Nylin, and C. Wiklund 1994. Adaptive variation in growth rate: life history costs and consequences in the speckled wood butterfly, Pararge aegeria. Oecologia 99: 281-289. Download
Nylin, S., P. O. Wickman, and C. Wiklund 1995. An adaptive explanation for male-biased sex ratios in overwintering monarch butterflies. Anim. Behav. 49: 511-514. Download
Nylin, S., P. O. Wickman, and C. Wiklund 1995. Life-cycle regulation and life history plasticity in the speckled wood butterfly: are reaction norms predictable? Biol. J. Linn. Soc. 55: 143-157. Download
Gotthard, K., and S. Nylin 1995. Adaptive plasticity and plasticity as an adaptation: a selective review of plasticity in animal morphology and life history. Oikos 74: 3-17. Download
Abrams, P. A., O. Leimar, S. Nylin, and C. Wiklund 1996. The effect of flexible growth rates on optimal sizes and development times in a seasonal environment. Am. Nat. 147: 381-395. Download
Nylin, S., K. Gotthard, and C. Wiklund 1996. Reaction norms for age and size at maturity in Lasiommata butterflies: predictions and tests. Evolution 50: 1351-1358. Download
Nylin, S., N. Janz, and N. Wedell 1996. Oviposition plant preference and offspring performance in the comma butterfly: correlations and conflicts. Entomol. Exp. Appl. 80: 141-144. Download
Nylin, S., and N. Janz 1996. Host plant preferences in the comma butterfly (Polygonia c-album): do parents and offspring agree? Ecoscience 3: 285-289. Download
Wedell, N., S. Nylin, and N. Janz 1997. Effects of larval host plant and sex on the propensity to enter diapause in the comma butterfly. Oikos 78: 569-575. Download
Janz, N., and S. Nylin 1997. The role of female search behaviour in determining host plant range in plant feeding insects: a test of the information processing hypothesis. Proc. R. Soc.: Biol. Sci. 264: 701-707. Download
Nylin, S., and K. Gotthard 1998. Plasticity in life history traits. Annual Review of Entomology 43: 63-83. Download
Janz, N., and S. Nylin 1998. Butterflies and plants: a phylogenetic study. Evolution 52: 486-502. Download
S., and N. Janz 1999. Ecology and evolution
of host plant range: Butterflies as a model group. Pp. 31-54 in Drent, R., V. K. Brown, and H. Olff
eds. Herbivores, plants and predators. Blackwell,
Gotthard, K., Nylin, S. and C. Wiklund 1999. Seasonal plasticity in two satyrine butterflies: state-dependent decision making in relation to daylength. Oikos 84: 453-462. Download
Gotthard, K., Nylin, S. and C. Wiklund 1999. Mating system evolution in response to search cost in the speckled wood butterfly, Pararge aegeria. Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 45: 424-429. Download
Windig, J. and Nylin, S. 1999. Adaptive asymmetry in wing size in the speckled wood butterfly, Pararge aegeria? Proc R Soc, B. 266: 1413-1418. Download
Gotthard, K., Nylin, S. and C. Wiklund. 2000. Mating opportunity and the evolution of sex-specific mortality rates in a butterfly. Oecologia 122: 36-43. Download
Windig, J. and Nylin, S. 2000. How to compare fluctuating asymmetry of different traits. J. Evol. Biol. 13: 29-37. Download
Gotthard, K., Nylin, S. and C. Wiklund. 2000. Individual state controls temperature dependence in a butterfly. Proc. R. Soc. B. 267: 589-593. Download
Nylin, S., Bergström, A. and N. Janz. 2000. Butterfly host plant choice in the face of possible confusion. J. Insect Behav. 13: 469-482. Download
Windig, J.J., Rintamäki, P.T., Cassel, A. and Nylin, S. 2000. How useful is fluctuating asymmetry in conservation biology: asymmetry in rare and abundant Coenonympha butterflies. J. Insect Conservation 4: 253-261. Download
Nylin, S. 2001. Life history perspectives on pest insects - what's the use? Australecology 26: 507-517. Download
Nylin, S., Nyblom, K., Ronquist, F., Janz, N., Belicek, J. and Källersjö, M. 2001. Phylogeny of Polygonia, Nymphalis and related butterflies (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae): a total-evidence analysis. Zool. J. Linn. Soc. 132: 441-468. Download
Cassel, A., Windig, J., Nylin, S. and Wiklund, C. 2001. Effects of population size and food stress on fitness-related characters in the Scarce Heath, Coenonympha hero (Lepidoptera, Satyrinae). Conservation Biology 15: 1667-1673. Download
Janz, N., Nyblom, K. and Nylin, S. 2001. Evolutionary dynamics of host plant specialization: a case study of the butterfly tribe Nymphalini. Evolution 55: 783-796. Download
Nylin, S., Gamberale-Stille, G. and Tullberg, B. S. 2002. Ontogeny of defence and adaptive coloration in larvae of the comma butterfly (Polygonia c-album: Nymphalidae). J. Lep. Soc. 55: 69-73. Download
Windig, J. and Nylin, S. 2002. Genetics of fluctuating asymmetry in pupal traits of the speckled wood butterfly (Pararge aegeria). Heredity 89: 225-234. Download
Gage, M.J.G., Parker, G.A., Nylin, S. and Wiklund, C. 2002. Sexual selection and speciation in mammals, butterflies and spiders. Proc. R. Soc. Biol. Sci. 269: 2309-2316. Download
Nylin, S. 2003. Evolutionary dynamics of host plant range in the butterfly tribe Nymphalini (Insecta, Lepidoptera, Nymphalidae). Pages 107-114 in Legakis, A., Sfenthourakis, S., Polymeni, R. & Thessalou-Legaki (eds.), The new panorama of animal evolution. Proc. 18th Int. Congr. Zool., Athens 2000.
Wahlberg, N., Weingartner, E. and Nylin, S. 2003. Towards a better understanding of the higher systematics of Nymphalidae (Lepidoptera: Papilionoidea). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 28: 473-484. Download
Wahlberg, N. and Nylin, S. 2003. Morphology versus molecules: resolution of the positions of Nymphalis, Polygonia and related genera (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae). Cladistics 19: 213-223. Download
C., Gotthard, K. and Nylin, S. 2003. Mating system and the evolution of
sex-specific mortality rates in two nymphalid butterflies. Proc
R Soc B. 270: 1823-1828. Download
Windig, J.J., Veerkamp, R.F. and Nylin, S. 2004. Quantitative genetic variation in an island population of the speckled wood butterfly (Pararge aegeria). Heredity 93: 450-454. Download
Bergström, A., Nylin, S. and Nygren, G. 2004. Conservative resource utilization in the common blue butterfly - evidence for low costs of accepting absent host plants? Oikos 107: 345-351. Download
Tammaru, T., Nylin, S., Ruohomäki, K and Gotthard, K. 2004. Compensatory responses in lepidopteran larvae: the role of growth rate maximisation. Oikos 107: 352-362. Download
Nylin, S., Nygren, G.H., Windig, J.J., Janz, N. and Bergström, A. 2005. Genetics of host plant preference in the comma butterfly and evolutionary implications. Biol. J. Linn. Soc. 84: 755-765. Download
Nylin, S., Gotthard, K. and Nygren,
G.H. 2005. Seasonal plasticity, host plants, and the
origin of butterfly biodiversity. In: Fellowes, M.D.E., Holloway, G.J. and Rolff, J. (eds.) Insect Evolutionary Ecology. CABI
Publishing, Wallingford, UK. Download
Wahlberg, N., Brower, A. V. Z. and Nylin, S. 2005. Phylogenetic relationships and historical biogeography of tribes and genera in the subfamily Nymphalinae (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae). Biol. J. Linn. Soc. 86: 227-251. Download
Wahlberg, N., Braby, M.F.,
Brower, A.V.Z., de Jong, R., Ming-Min Lee, Nylin, S. Pierce, N.E. Sperling, F.A.H., Vila, R., Warren, A.D. and Zakharov, E. 2005. Phylogeny of butterflies and skippers:
hidden support in molecular and morphological data sets revealed by combined
analysis. Proc. R. Soc. B. 272: 1577-1586. Download
Weingartner, E., Wahlberg, N. and Nylin, S. 2006. Dynamics of host plant use and species diversity in Polygonia butterflies (Nymphalidae). J. Evol. Biol. (prepublished online Oct 2005). doi: 10.1111/j.1420-9101.2005.01009.x Download
Weingartner, E. Wahlberg, N. and Nylin, S. 2006. Speciation in Pararge (Satyrinae: Nymphalidae) butterflies – North Africa is the source of ancestral populations of all Pararge species. Syst. Entomol. 31: 621-632. Download
Bergström, A., Janz, N. and Nylin, S. 2006. Putting more eggs in the best basket: clutch size regulation in the comma butterfly. Ecological Entomology 31:255-260. Download
N., Nylin, S. and Wahlberg, N. 2006. Diversity begets diversity:
host expansions and the diversification of plant-feeding insects. BMC
Evolutionary Biology 6:4. Download
Peña, C., Wahlberg, N., Weingartner, E., Kodandaramaiah, U., Nylin, S., Freitas, A.V.L. & Brower, A.V.Z. 2006. Higher level phylogeny of Satyrinae butterflies (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae) based on DNA sequence data. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 40: 29-49. Download
Nygren, G.H., Nylin, S. & Stefanescu, C. 2006. Genetics of host plant
use and life history in the comma butterfly across
Esperk, T., Tammaru, T., Nylin, S. and Teder, T. 2007. Achieving high sexual dimorphism: insects add instars. Ecological Entomology 32: 243-256. Download
Esperk, T., Tammaru, T. and Nylin, S. 2007. Intraspecific variability in the number of larval instars in insects. J. Economic Entomol. 100:627-646. Download
Janz, N. & Nylin, S. 2008. The oscillation hypothesis of host-plant range and speciation. In: Tilmon, K.J. (Ed.). Specialization, speciation and radiation: the evolutionary biology of herbivorous insects. Pages 203-215. University of California Press, Berkeley. Download (From [Tilmon], [Specialization, Speciation, and Radiation] (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2008). To purchase a copy of this book or for permission to reproduce or reprint this material, visit www.ucpress.edu.)
Nylin, S. and Wahlberg, N. 2008. Does plasticity drive speciation? Host plant shifts and diversification in nymphaline butterflies (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae) during the tertiary. - Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 94: 115-130. Download
Nygren, G.H., Bergström, A. & Nylin, S. 2008. Latitudinal body size clines in the butterfly Polyommatus icarus are shaped by gene-environment interactions. J. Insect Sci. 8:47. Download
Nylin, S. & Janz, N. 2009. Butterfly host plant range: an example of plasticity as a promoter of speciation? Evol. Ecol. 23:137-146. Download
Janz, N., Söderlind, L. & Nylin, S.
2009. No effect of larval experience on adult host preferences in Polygonia
c-album (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae): on the persistence of
Wahlberg, N., Weingartner, E., Warren, A.D. and Nylin, S. 2009. Timing major conflict between mitochondrial and nuclear genes in species relationships of Polygonia butterflies (Nymphalidae: Nymphalini). BMC Evolutionary Biology 9:92. Download
Nylin, S., Nygren, G.H., Söderlind, L. & Stefanescu, C. 2009. Geographical variation in host plant utilization in the comma butterfly: the roles of time constraints and phenology. Evol. Ecol. 23:807-825. Download
Cassel-Lundhagen, A., Tammaru, T., Windig, J.J.
and Nylin, S. 2009. Are peripheral populations special? Congruent
patterns in two butterfly species. Ecography 32:
Nylin, S. & Bergström, A. 2009. Threat status
in butterflies and its ecological correlates: how far can we generalize?
Biodiversity and Conservation 18: 3243-3267. Download
Nylin, S. 2009. Gradients in butterfly biology. Pp 198-216 in: Settele, J., Shreeve, T., Konvicka, M., van Dyck, H.
(eds.), Ecology of butterflies in Europe. Cambridge University Press.
Heidel-Fischer, H., Freitak, D., Janz, N.,
Söderlind, L., Vogel, H. & Nylin, S. 2009. Phylogenetic
relatedness and host plant growth form influence gene expression of the
polyphagous comma butterfly (Polygonia c-album). BMC Genomics 10: 506. Download
N., Leneveu, J., Kodandaramaiah, U., Pena, C., Nylin,
S., Freitas, A.V.L. and Brower, A.V.Z. 2009. Nymphalid butterflies diversify
following near demise at the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary. Proc. R. Soc. B.
276: 4295-4302. Download
U., Pena, C., Braby, M.F., Grund,
R., Muller, C.J., Nylin, S. & Wahlberg, N. 2010. Phylogenetics of Coenonymphina
and the problem of rooting rapid radiations. Mol. Phyl.
Evol. 54: 386-394. Download
Pena, C., Nylin, S., Freitas, A.V.L. & Wahlberg, N. 2010. Biogeographic history of the butterfly tribe Eupthychiina (Lepidoptera, Nymphalidae, Satyrinae).
Zoologica Scripta 39:
Ah-King, M. and Nylin, S. 2010. Sex in an
evolutionary perspective: Just another reaction norm? Evol.
Biol. 37: 234-246. Download
Söderlind, L. and Nylin, S. 2011. The
genetics of diapause in the comma butterfly Polygonia c-album. Physiol. Entomol. 36: 8-13. Download
Midega, C.A.O., Khan, Z.R., Picket, J.A. & Nylin,
S. 2011. Host plant selection behaviour of Chilo
(Lepidoptera: Crambidae) and its implications
for effectiveness of a trap crop. Ent. Exp. Appl. 138: 40-47. Download
Peña, C., Nylin, S. & Wahlberg, N.
2011. The radiation of Satyrini butterflies
(Nymphalidae: Satyrinae): a challenge for
phylogenetic methods. Zool. J. Linn. Soc. 161: 64-87. Download
E. Weingartner, N. Janz, L. Dalen, and S.
Nylin. 2011. Population structure in relation to host-plant ecology and Wolbachia infestation in the comma butterfly. Journal of
Evolutionary Biology 24:2173-2185.
Mozuraitis, R., Murtazina, R., Nylin, S. and Borg-Karlson A-K. 2012. Nonvolatile chemical cues affect host-plant ranking by gravid Polygonia c-album females. Zeitschr. f. Naturforsch. C. 67:93-102. Download
Kodandaramaiah, U., Weingartner, E., Janz, N., Leski, M., Slove, J., Warren, A. and Nylin, S. 2012. Investigating concordance among genetic data, subspecies circumscriptions and hostplant use in the nymphalid butterfly Polygonia faunus. PLoS One 7(7): e41058. Download
Dalin, P. and Nylin, S. 2013. Host plant quality adaptively affects the diapause threshold: evidence from leaf beetles in willow plantations. Ecological Entomology 37: 490-499.
Nylin, S. 2013. Induction of diapause and seasonal morphs in butterflies and other insects: knowns, unknowns and the challenge of integration. Physiological Entomology 38: 96-104. Download
Celorio-Mancera, M. D., Wheat, C.W., Vogel, H., Janz, N., Nylin, S. 2013. Mechanisms of macroevolution: polyphagous plasticity in butterfly larvae revealed by RNA-Seq. Molecular Ecology 22: 4884-4895. Download
Nylin, S., J. Slove, N. Janz. 2014. "Host plant utilization, host range oscillations and diversification in nymphalid butterflies: a phylogenetic investigation." Evolution 68: 105-124. Download
Wang, H., Fan, X., Owada, M., Wang, M. and Nylin, S. 2014. Phylogeny, systematics and biogeography of the genus Panolis (Lepidoptera: Noctuideae) based on morphological and molecular evidence. PLoS One 9(3): e90598. Download
Söderlind, L., Janz, N. and Nylin, S. 2014.
Host plant choice in the comma butterfly – larval choosiness may ameliorate effects
of indiscriminate oviposition. Insect science 21: 499-506. Download
Peer-reviewed publications outside of the Natural Sciences
Nylin, S. 2009. Mad, bad scientists and cute, curious magicians: the quest for knowledge in Buffy and the Whedonverse. Slayage: The Journal of the Whedon Studies Association 28. Download
This paper may look strange, but I’m a serious fan of Joss Whedon’s productions (seriously), as everybody should be. FYI: The jacket I’m wearing in the picture at the top was screenworn by Harry Lennix (the character Boyd) in three episodes of Whedon’s TV show Dollhouse.