CV page

Michelle Nordkvist

Post-doc in ecology with a focus on plant-herbivore interactions in forest ecosystem.


Forest characteristics and insect damage - spruce bark beetle risk (post-doc project)

I am currently working in a project trying to understand/investigate how different stand and tree level factors affect the damage risk of the spruce bark beetle (Ips typographus). The aims of the project are:

(i) Develop a spruce bark beetle risk index which is now implemented in the forest simulation tool 'Heureka'. 

(ii) Validate the spruce bark beetle index relating harvester data on spruce bark beetle infested trees and stand properties

(iii) Identify underlying processes relating stand characteristics to tree susceptibility (e.g. relating soil moisture to tree stress)


Indirect interactions - moose and insects

Large herbivores such as moose have large effects on forests, as they alter both species composition and abundance as well as the shape, nutritional quality and chemical defence of trees. Such changes have consequences for other organisms, such as insects (both pests and non-pests).

During my PhD I studied the indirect interactions between large browsers (i.e. moose) and forest insects (mainly sawflies), mediated through their shared host plant (Scots pine). I'm currently finishing the last paper which explores the effect of moose on sawfly performance and they consequences for population growth and outbreaks, using modelling.

I will be conducting a field experiment in 2023 investigating the effects of moose browsing and grazing on insect abundance, diversity and predation. I will be using fenced forest plots (fenced for 10 years to exclude ungulates) and associated control plots to conduct the experiment.


Novel or non-native tree species and pests:

Larch casebearer and hybrid larch

Novel tree species are increasingly being considered in forestry to avoid negative effects associated with native species (such as spruce bark beetle on spruce). I'm exploring the interactions between hybrid larch and a defoliating moth - the larch casebearer. I'm using satellite images from a previous outbreak of the moth to study the interaction between infestation and within stand variation in e.g. moisture and topography. I'm also assessing the occurence of moths and their enemies (parasitoids) in stands with varying levels of defoliation.

Sawfly performance on a native and non-native host

I'm working with an existing data set to explore differences in performance and preference of sawflies (N. sertifer) on a native pine (Pinus sylvestris) and non-native pine (Pinus contorta).


Pine weevils and plant protection

I'm involved in a study exploring how the plant clonic technique somatic embryogenesis and application of the plant hormone methyl jasmonate jointly affects pine weevil damage on spruce seedlings.


Climate and insects - fruit flies in Australia 

In collaboration with Matt Hill (CSIRO, Australia). We are trying to explore distribution shifts for a number of pest fruit flies using species distribution modelling. 



I've been teaching on the following courses:

  • Floristics and entomology 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022
  • Ecological botany 2017
  • Conservation biology 2017, 2018
  • Diversity of organisms 2017
  • Forest Ecology 2019, 2020, 2021
  • Ecology and management of diseases and pests of forest trees 2017, 2019
  • Trees and forest ecology 2022
  • Insect diversity and conservation 2022
  • Forestry field studies in Southern Sweden 2022
  • Silviculture 1 2022

Teaching merits:

I've taken the following courses 

  • Teaching in Higher Education, basic course
  • Teaching in Higher Education, advanced course
  • Practical and pedagogical skills in vascular plant field botany



Jeannette Eggers, Department of Forest Resource Management, SLU Umeå.

Matt Hill, CSIRO, Canberra Australia 


Lars Edenius, Department of Wildlife, Fish and Environmental Studies, SLU Umeå.

Jonathan Gershenzon and Axel Schmidt, Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology, Jena Germany

Holmen Skog 



I received my PhD in Biology from the department of Ecology, SLU. My research focused on plant-mediated interactions between herbivores. I explored how browsing by large ungulates (such as moose) indirectly affects insect herbivores, particularly outbreak insects. I investigated both the effect of browsing on single trees and the mediated effect it had on insects but also the effect browsing has on a forest stand and how that affects abundance and performance of herbivorous insects as well as their natural enemies. I used the European pine sawfly (Neodiprion sertifer) as a model insect. I studied how induced responses, such as changes in needle nutrient content, affected the performance of the sawflies and linked it to sawfly population dynamics using modelling. The project also investigated the effects on tree growth from the attack of multiple herbivores (browsers and sawflies). I used a coimbination of field experiments, observational studies and population modelling to study this. 


I got my Master's degree in biology at Uppsala Univeristy. In my Master's thesis I explored how different types of anthropogenic disturbances affected the occurance of salt water crocodiles, by conducting field suryes in the Kinabatangan river in Borneo. I received my Bachelor degree in Biology at Uppsala Univeristy, and for my thesis I explored local population dynamics of black grouse. I conducted field surveys in Färnebofjärden National Park. 


I've acted as a co-supervisor for Stephanie Jonsson's Master's thesis on the effect of dead wood on arthropod predator diversity and predation rate of herbivorous insects, and on Matilda Gille's Master's thesis on arthropod diversity in mixed and monoculture forest stands, with a focus on natural enemies. 

Selected publications

Nordkvist M, Klapwijk MJ, Edenius L, Gershenzon J, Schmidt A & Björkman C. 2019. Trait‐mediated indirect interactions: Moose browsing increases sawfly fecundity through plant‐induced responses. Ecology and Evolution 9:10615-10629. 

Nordkvist M, Klapwijk MJ, Edenius L, & Björkman C. 2020. Interacting effects of insect and ungulate herbivory on Scots pine growth. Scientific Reports 10:22341.

Nordkvist, M. 2020. Interactions between ungulates and forest insects. PhD-thesis.

Nordkvist M, Björkman C & Klapwijk MJ. 2021. Plant Mediated Interactions: Lower Sawfly Survival on Pines Previously Browsed by Moose. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution.

Auffret A, Ekholm A, Hämäläinen A, Jonsell M, Lehto C, Nordkvist M, Öckinger E, Torstensson P, Viketoft M, Thor G. 2022. Can field botany be effectively taught as a distance course? Experiences and reflections from the COVID-19 pandemic. AoB PLANTS. 

Nordkvist M, Jonsson S, Jonsell M, Klapwijk MJ. 2022. Effects of retained dead wood on predation pressure on herbivores in young pine forests. PLoS ONE.

Nordkvist M, Klapwijk MJ, Barets S, Björkman C. 2023. The relationship between moose browsing, habitat structure and predation pressure on insect herbivores. Basic and Applied Ecology 66: 1-10.

Nordkvist M, Eggers J, Fustel TLA, Klapwijk MJ. 2023. Development and implementation of a spruce bark beetle susceptibility index: A framework to compare bark beetle susceptibility on stand level. Trees, Forest and People 11:100364.

Berggren K, Nordkvist M, Björkman C, Bylund H, Klapwijk MJ, Puentes A. 2023. Synergistic effects of methyl jasmonate treatment and propagation method on Norway spruce resistance against a bark-feeding insect.- Frontiers in plant science.

Popular scientific publications:

Nordkvist M, Lundmark A, Klapwijk M, Björkman C. 2023. Myrors tjänster och otjänster - betydelsen av variationsrika odlingssystem. Fakta skog 1:2023.


Värt att veta-föreläsning:

Svergies radio Naturmorgon: