Did the vikings bring beetles along to Iceland?

Vetle started his MSc-project in the late parts of 2018, and continued with fieldwork in Iceland, Scotland, Norway and the Faroes. The goal of the thesis is to determine where the beetle fauna of Iceland originated from. With a thorough sampling from the northern parts of Europe, he will conduct a population genetic study aiming at detecting the origin of the Icelandic beetle fauna. One hypothesis is that the beetle arrived together with the Vikings. This was around the year 900-AD. With beetles, there has never been done any molecular work to determine the origin of the fauna.

Hopefully this project will be able to determine the origin of, at least, some of the species. This will be done by conducting genome skimming approaches to obtain the mitochondrial genome and the nuclear ribosomal operon. These data will then be used for population genetic investigations. Hopefully, this will give insight to the origin of some of the species currently present on Iceland, and maybe even the migration pattern of Staphylinidae beetles on the Atlantic islands. Additionally, this will add to our understanding of the migration patterns and colonization rates of the Atlantic beetle faunas ​in general, and the Icelandic fauna in particular.

Both pictures have been modified to include additional information, the used license for the upper one can be found here; the lower one is public domain.

Text in the teaser: On December 7th we will reveal what it’s up with viking ships, Iceland and beetles. We hope you will take a peak.

Picture in the teaser: Pictures are changed to include the copyright, the used licenses can be found here (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en)

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