Vanessa Bieker


I’m an evolutionary biologist working at the Natural History Department at the NTNU University Museum in Trondheim. I’m currently writing my PhD on the evolution of an invasive plant using both contemporary and historic herbarium samples. We look at genetic changes in the native and introduced range to see if the plant already adapted to the new environment. This may help us predict if and how it will spread in the future and what a plant needs to become invasive.

I grew up in Germany and moved to Norway in 2017 for my PhD. During my Bachelor’s at the TU Dortmund, I worked with cell cultures and looked on how certain compounds influence the cell structure. I did my Master’s at the University Mainz. For my thesis, I looked at the evolution of lactase persistence in humans using data from ancient (up to 10,000 years old) samples.

I love science, history, knitting (a quite useful hobby when you live in Norway ;)), 90s hip hop and fantasy books. I teach bioinformatics and evolution.

Click below to read selected works from Vanessa on Ecology for the Masses.

Subspecies – Do We Need Them?

Preserving Biological Heritage: The Importance of Type Specimens

What the Hell is On My Plant: A Botanist’s Guide to Metagenomics

My Publications

Bieker, V. C.,  Barreiro, F. S., Rasmussen, J. A., Brunier, M., Wales, N., Martin, M. D. (2020) Metagenomic analysis of historical herbarium specimens reveals a postmortem microbial community, Molecular Ecology Resources, DOI: 10.1111/1755-0998.13174

Bieker, V. C.,  Martin, M. D. (2018) Implications and future prospects for evolutionary analyses of DNA in historical herbarium collections, Botany Letters, 165(3-4), 409-418.