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  • Huvudmeny

Thomas Denk

Senior Curator.


Phone: +46 (0)8 519 541 43
E-mail: thomas.denk@nrm.se

Billing and Mailing Address:

See the Staff and Contacts page.


MSc University of Vienna, 1995

PhD University of Vienna, Austria, 1998


I am the contact person for the Cenozoic plant collections housed at the department and have been responsible for the registration of the large historical collections from the Arctic and Subarctic. I have been part of the HIGH LAT and SYNTHESIS evaluation panels at the museum since 2001. I have been supervising Master and PhD students since 2001 (four completed, one current). I have been teaching at Stockholm University since 2007. I taught as a visiting professor at the University of Vienna in 2011.

Research Interests

I am interested in the evolution of northern hemispheric terrestrial ecosystems during the Late Cretaceous and the Cenozoic. I want to understand how climate change and the re-arrangement of continents, both of which are strongly influenced by plate tectonics, shaped distributional patterns of organisms across the Northern Hemisphere.

To achieve this, I am exploring the evolutionary histories of selected genera of flowering plants using the fossil record and molecular phylogenetic data. I am particularly interested in biogeographic changes of clades and whether or not these were accompanied by ecological shifts (niche evolution).

Target groups of my current research are the Fagaceae (oak family) with a major focus on the genus Quercus (oaks), a north hemispheric genus of about 400-600 species, and other plant genera in different families (Aquifoliaceae, Rosaceae, Sapindaceae, etc.).

I am also investigating the vegetation development in the Mediterranean region during the Neogene (the past 23 million years) and in Arctic regions during the Cenozoic (the past 60 million years).

My overall research question is how various plant groups respond to changing climate and environments over different time scales.


Project I. The evolution of distribution patterns in flowering plants

Project II. Evolution of the Madrean-Tethyan sclerophyllous vegetation and the onset of Mediterranean biotas (VR project 2013-16)

Other Professional Roles

  • Subject Editor for the scientific journal GRANA
  • Editorial Board member for Turkish Journal of Botany
  • Editorial Board member for Acta Palaeobotanica