Alexey Solodovnikov 
Alexey is the Coleoptera (Beetles) collection curator at the Natural History Museum of Denmark, and Associate Professor at the University of Copenhagen. He is a systematic entomologist, with focus on rove beetles (Staphylinidae). He begun entomological research in his home town in southern Russia, continued as a PhD student at St. Petersburg State University, worked as a research assistant at the Zoological Institute there and lived in USA as a post doc at the Field Museum of Natural History. Since 2007 Alexey works in Denmark where in addition to research and curation he provides entomology-related teaching, student mentoring and science fund-raising. He steers the museum's Entomology-section and oversees the DNA and Tissue cryofacility. Alexey maintains international collaborations and research ties with the Entomology Department at St. Petersburg University, Zoological Institute there, and start new collaboration with the University of Tyumen in West Siberia.  

Lab members
We are excited to welcome Vinicius Ferreia as a Marie Curie post doctoral fellow and José Luis Reyes-Hernández as a PhD student at our lab in Copenhagen soon! 

Also meet our members at our branch in Russia.

Aslak Kappel Hansen
Aslak is a PhD student between our lab and the Aarhus Museum and Aarhus University in Denmark who focuses on the systematic revision and biogeographic history of Quedius s. str., a clear-cut Holarctic clade of rove beetles. He uses methods of integrative taxonomy and genomics to precisely delimit species in this group and reconstruct their area of origin and dispersal. He is in particularly interested in reconstructing pathways of the post-glacial colonization of Northern Europe by members of this group. Aslak has a long interest in beetles, in particular he created the Danish beetle database ( He did his MSc in our lab on the dispersal of beetles to the Danish island of Læsø using rove beetle fauna and a close genomic look at the populations of Carabus arcensis. As a Dane, Aslak has close attachment to, and deep understanding of, the Danish nature. But he is very active global traveller and insect collector in various biomes. Also, he is crucial facilitator of many student projects in the lab and skilled nature and macro- photographer. 

Helene Erfurt Nielsen

Helene is currently doing an internship at the Natural History Museum, Denmark. She completed her master’s degree in biology in 2020, where the focus of her thesis was on thrips as a pest in strawberry. Phylogentic and molecular work was required to identify the sampled thrips to species level (a task which is not easy!). From this project she has developed a great interest in insect taxonomy. She hopes to develop different skills in the area of beetle taxonomy during her internship and build towards doing a PhD at the museum. Helene has lived in many different countries while growing up and she completed her zoology bachelor’s degree in Wales.

Alexandra Tokareva       
Alexandra was a Master student at Saint-Petersburg State University (Russia), co-supervised by Alexey. She had an extensive visit to our lab during that period while she studied highly specialized fungivorous rove beetle subfamily Oxyporinae. In fact,  Alexandra is also a trained mycologist with few papers published in that field. While working on the integrative revision of Russian Oxyporinae complemented by novel biological observations on this peculiar group of beetlesshe got inspired by phylogeny-based systematic entomology. Now she has a nice opportunity to expand her experience in this field as a PhD student exploring phylogeny of Paederinae at the new lab of Dagmara Żyła at the Institute of Zoology of the Polish Academy of Science.
                                                                       Research Gate

Amalia Bogri
Amalia is currently a PhD student at the group for Genomic Epidemiology at DTU (Technical University of Denmark), researching the ecology and evolution of antimicrobial resistance. Amalia did her MSc thesis in our lab, where she used a total evidence phylogenetics to explore Paederinae rove beetles abundant in Baltic amber. She was also a research assistant in our lab, taking high quality photos for the Danish beetle database ( Additionally she developed innovative interactive tools for the entomology teaching that Alexey and other lab members are involved in. Her experience spans from taxonomy, molecular and morphology-based phylogenetics, to photography and micro-computed tomography of fossils. She first came to our lab as an Erasmus+student from Greece during her BSc in Biology at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, where she studied habitat preferences and phenology of Tenebrionidae on Aegean islands. 

Janina Kypke
Janina was a PhD student, part of the BIG4 consortium. Her project focussed on the reconstruction of the backbone phylogeny of rove beetles (Staphylinidae) using genomic data, morphological traits as well as fossils. During her Master studies, she was a part of the Erasmus Mundus Master Programme in Applied Ecology, and in her dissertation she investigated the role of hybridization on the evolution of yellow rust using a newly developed recombination detection software. As an ecologist, Janina enjoys fieldwork and to be in nature, also for leisure time activities, e.g. climbing. She is from Germany with broad international experience from her studies. After obtaining PhD degree in Denmark she has moved to Spain and works in the biotech company. She continues to work on the large dataset from her PhD project in hope that we will publish it one day! 

Josh Jenkins Shaw
Josh is currently a post doc at Prof. Ming Bai laboratory at the Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Science in Beijing where he continues his systematic research on Staphylinidae with the particular focus on their fossils. He was a PhD student in our lab, part of the BIG4 consortium. He is a passionate entomologist with a particular interest in the taxonomy, systematics and phylogenetics of rove beetles (Coleoptera: Staphylinidae). For his PhD project, his target group was the mostly south-temperate tribe Amblyopinini (Staphylininae). His project consisted of a generic revision (still in progress!) and molecular phylogeny of amblyopinines; taxonomy and faunistics of Amblyopinini from some oceanic islands in Australasia; and finally, biogeographic history of Lord Howe Island with a particular focus on developing Amblyopinini as a model group for evolutionary and biogeographic studies. As an Englishmen from London Josh is that native speaker who improves our papers before submission. 

Sree Gayathree Selvantharan
Sree came to the Natural History Museum of Denmark as a volunteer when she moved to Copenhagen from Malaysia. She began from sorting beetle bulk samples and soon became a coordinator of many operations in the lab. Under support of the BIG4 training network she worked as a manager of the Coleoptera collection at the museum and this ITN administrative support staff. She continues to work at the museum on the contract basis, currently databasing an enormous collection of Baltic amber accessed by our museum. She has broad array of skills and experience spanning from curatorial support and collection management (including specimen preparation and beetle loan management) to the technical and logistical support for researchers, students, scientific and public visitors, as well as volunteers. Sree was also good at equipment inventory and storage, travel arrangements and budget accounting in the lab.

                                Amanda Blichert Christensen, Andreas Cosmus Sara Godthaab Dilling 
In 2019 Amanda, Andreas and Sara completed a joint Bachelor project in our lab which was a bit unusual because it focussed on developing new tools for the university education rather than research
. Each summer Alexey as well as many other lab members, along with other entomologists at the Natural History Museum of Denmark run the mandatory field course 'Terresrial Zoology' for ca. 200 the first year Biology students at the University of Copenhagen Faculty of Science. The course takes place at the field station and involves collecting of terrestrial arthropods, their identification, observations on ecology, etc. In fact, Alexey is the main responsible for this course, therefore it was very handy when these three Danish students who earlier had it, agreed to develop this badly needed new teaching compendium. The project involved critical evaluation of scattered literature on                                                                               Danish arthropods and, together with Alexey, compiling chapters for the new compendium. 

Katarzyna Koszela
Kasia did her PhD at the University of Silesia in Poland. She was working on sexual reproduction among invasive plant species. Soon after she came to Denmark, Kasia joined our lab as a volunteer. Gradually, the unexpected adventure with Staphylinidae transformed into fascination with this group, which resulted in bringing funding for developing the digital key for Danish rove beetles. She worked with us as a Research Assistant on the project fully funded by the Augustinus Fonden. It is particularly exciting since the key she created is the first such key for Denmark and one of the very few in the world. In addition, Kasia was involved in the development of a beetle tissues collection with a special focus on Staphylinidae. She is back in Poland now, but we still hope that one day she will add Aleocharinae to the on-line generic key of Danish staphylinids, a subfamily that always remains problematic.

 Key to genera of the Danish rove beetles

Adam Bøgh Marstrand-Jørgensen 
Adam completed a Bachelor project in our lab which was focussed on the biogeographic analysis of the rove beetle fauna of the Greek island Skyros. His project was a continuation of the Bachelor project by Line Kræmer who has started the faunal inventory of Skyros' Staphylinidae. Due to the continuous effort of our colleague Volker Assing, the rove beetle fauna is well explored for a number of Greek islands already, these data altogether forming an interesting model for the biogeographic research. Adam used species rarefaction curves to estimate how well we know the fauna of the islands. He estimated species richness and diversity of the Skyros rove beetle fauna and tried to relate these to the current and past geographic conditions of the island. He used hierarchical clustering for comparisons of the Skyros fauna with other islands of the archipelago that vary in georgraphic position, size, orography, climate and history.

        Dagmara Żyła
Dagmara was a postdoc here funded by the Villum Foundation. She began as an insect palaeontologist in Poland and became a globally minded an evolutionary biologist interested in phylogenetics and macroevolution, particularly in the integration of fossil and recent data into a total-evidence phylogenetic analysis. During staying in our lab, she was working mainly with the Staphylinine-group of rove beetles. She focuses on the using the neo- and palaeo- morphological and genetic data to build their phylogeny. As a side project, she was actively helping with development of the key for the Danish rove beetles. Currently, Dagmara is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie postdoctoral fellow working with Tracy Heath and Jacek Szwedo on using the phylogenetic approach to date Baltic amber. She continues working on rove beetles, with a special focus on Paederinae. It was very helpful to have Dagmara as a post doc in the lab because she was instrumental in mentoring PhD and Master students.  

Arn Rytter Jensen
If you read this you should know that it was Arn who designed this lab web site! He was a Master student with us working on the systematic placement of the extinct rove beetle Cafius gigas from Lord Howe Island.  Like several other Lord Howe Island flightless endemics, it became extinct due to predatory pressure of the human introduced rats.  Arn included this species as a morphology-only partition in a total evidence phylogenetic analysis of the relevant sample of Philonthina. The total evidence analysis revealed that actually this species is not a member of the genus Cafius but is instead closely related to Hesperus dolichoderes another endemic LHI species. Currently Arn is a PhD student at the Natural History of Denmark working on phylogeny and systematics of Diptera with Thomas Pape. In particular, he is very experienced user and mentor in a molecular lab. Arn is copenhagener with a good knowledge of the local coasts for spear-fishing.  

  Mathias Just Justesen
Mathias is from Copenhagen and completed his Bachelor project in our lab investigating dispersal patterns for beetles in Denmark using local faunistic literature. He also did part of his MSc here, doing an ecological assessment of the managed and unmanaged Danish forests. For that he used the diversity of Carabidae and Staphylinidae collected by pitfall traps, as a proxy for the ecological assessment. Currently he is a PhD student at the Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management of the University of Copenhagen working on invasive and pest insects in Denmark. The main focus is on the problematic small fir bark beetle (Cryphalus piceae), that as part of its life-cycle lays eggs in living trees in greenery plantations, ultimately girdling and killing the trees. Mathias is an outdoor man and a good beetle collector taking part in our many expeditions where he always manages to survive without proper warm cloths and other equipment.

Line Kræmer
Line is a former Bachelor student in the lab. For her as a Danish student exploring the Staphylinidae fauna of the Greek island Skyros was an adventure. It included describing the paleobiogeography of the island and the Aegean Archipelago. Her collection of rove beetles there mostly yielded widespread species. However, one interesting finding of a specialized genus of dry habitats showed potential of being either one or two undescribed species of LeptobiumLine was a crucial part in the project on developing a digital field compendium of the most common insects found in Denmark that is used as a teaching tool for the Biology students at the University of Copenhagen at the Terrestrial Zoology field course. That project grew into her Master at the University of Copenhagen and now together with Lars Vilhelmsen here and Dave Cheung in Ottawa she is developing a Bugdex app, a digital insect identification tool.

Adam Brunke
After his PhD here Adam had 1 year post doc at the Vienna Museum of Natural History and then he moved back to his home country, to the Canadian National Insect Collection in Ottawawhere he is a researcher and curator of Staphylinidae collection and continues active collaboration with our lab. Adam has completed his BSc and MSc theses at the University of Guelph, both on the biodiversity and ecology of predatory beetles in  soybean agroecosystems. His PhD in Copenhagen was on the diversity, evolution and ancient biogeography of a mega-diverse rove beetle lineage of Staphylinini in the northern hemisphere. In his project, morphological, molecular and fossil data were used for phylogeny reconstruction and reclassification of this global lineage of rove beetles. Particular focus was placed on the impact of Eocene climate change on the distribution and diversity of a newly discovered subtribe.

Andrea Schomann

Andrea is from Germany where she got MSc degree at Kiel University. After moving to Denmark in 2007 and a year of work at the Natural History Museum as a student assistant with Alexey, she became a PhD student here. Her project was focused on the taxonomy and phylogeny of the puzzling rove beetle genus Hyperomma distributed in Australia and New Zealand only. She revised New Zealand Hyperomma, and by exploring the genus in the broader phylogenetic context, developed the first molecular phylogeny of the subfamily Paederinae. Her project brought insights on the origin of a peculiar disjunct distribution between Australia and New Zealand. Later, Andrea was a post doctoral researcher at the University of Adelaide in Australia, and now she is a guest researcher at Lund University, Sweden.

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Mariana Chani-Posse

Mariana is originally from Argentina and works with the mega-diverse subtribe Philonthina. She did a 1-year postdoc (2014-2015) in our lab, which she mostly spent on generating molecular and morphological data for her on-going large-scale phylogeny of Philonthina and allied lineages of Staphylinini. Thanks to her effort in developing a total-evidence phylogeny, many other projects could be now based on that. One of the examples is Arn's MSc project, largely relying on Mariana's phylogeny.  After coming back to Argentina, Mariana works as a researcher at the CONICET at Mendoza with special interest in the Neotropical rove beetle diversity and biogeography. Although now back at her institution in Argentina she continues to work in close collaboration with Alexey and others. She has recently been awarded a grant for a PhD project for working on the Great American Biotic Interchange (GABI) using Staphylinids.

Research Gate

Xiaoyan Li

Xiaoyan has received her PhD at the Institute of Zoology of Chinese Academy of Science. In 2013-2014 she spent 1,5 years as a post doc in the lab, where she continued her systematic studies of Chinese Paederinae, and contributed to the study of Australasian rove beetles of the subtribe Amblyopinina. She returned to the Institute of Zoology in Beijing where she works as a researcher in Prof. Zhou group. Xiaoyan’s main interest is systematics and taxonomy of the mega-diverse rove beetle genus Paederus.

                Sergey Tarasov
                        Currently Sergey  is a beetle curator at the Natural History Museum in Helsinki (LUOMUS). In 2010-                                                  2012 Sergey spent extensive  time in our lab while completing his MSc at Kaluga State University in                                                     Russia. Even  though his taxonomic expertise are dung beetles, Sergey developed deep interest in phylogenetics                               and provided strong input in Alexey’s and his collaborators phylogenetic study of puzzling Early Cretaceous rove                               beetles. After the MSc he moved to Norway where he accomplished large-scale phylogeny of dung beetles and                                   obtained his PhD. Then Sergey was a postdoc at National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis                                     (NIMBioS) at the University of Tennessee where he was working with Brian O'Meara and Sergey Gavrilets. His                                  postdoc project was focused on development of new ontology-informed models for reconstructing evolutionary                               dynamics of phenotype and tools for their statistical inference. As an entomologist, he continues working on                                     taxonomy and phylogenetics of dung beetles. 

                                                        Personal website

Yanli Yue 

In 2010-2011 Yanli Yue spent several months in the lab here while she was a PhD student at the Capital Normal University at Prof. Ren paleontology group. She brought with her dozens of amazing fossil rove beetles from the Early Cretaceous Yixian Formation. Their study resulted in a series of papers, one of which was also co-authored by Sergey Tarasov. After obtaining PhD degree Yanli became a lecturer and researcher at the School of Life Science of Ningxia University and now she works at the College of Agronomy, Sichuan Agricultural University where she continues her research in Entomology, Paleobiology and Systematics.

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