The Leibniz Institute for the Analysis of Biodiversity Change

is a research museum of the Leibniz Association

Svenja Ahlborn

Tel: +49 228 9122-351
Fax: +49 228 9122-212
Mail: s.ahlborn [at]



Research interests

Currently I am a PhD student in the project "The impact of mutualistic and parasitic life histories on butterfly diversification in an increasingly arid world".

During my master's thesis, I investigated the distribution of South African ant-parasitic Lepidochrysops-butterflies (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae) using niche modeling. Such information is important to understand the biogeographic distribution of species and to locate important environmental factors that could limit niches. The niches can also be used to identify biodiversity hotspots and to create future projections to get an idea of how the distribution of species might change through climate change. This data can then be used to find ways toprotect the species and their niches in the future. Furthermore, these results were combined with phylogenetic data to get insights into the evolutionary history of the different species of these genera in South Africa.

In general, I have been interested in insects and especially butterflies since my childhood. In this regard, I find both morphological and taxonomic methods, as well as recent phylogenetic and computer-based approaches to study the butterfly diversity, distribution, and evolution, exciting. Considering climate change, species extinction, and habitat loss, it is important to study these complex processes and use this information to protect species in the future.

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