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Department of Zoology



I did my PhD at Lund University in Sweden studying the migration ecology of Red Admirals (Vanessa atalanta). During this time I organised and participated in an exchange course travelling to Nigeria and realised that African butterflies were more than just interesting, they were addictive! While finishing up the PhD I started going to Nigeria on regular research visits, doing both pilot studies for potential future projects and helping various NGO:s with bio-monitoring in the rainforest areas of Cross River in South Eastern Nigeria and the western Niger Delta. At a seminar back in Sweden I met Paul Brakefield and to sum it up shortly I left Sweden and worked as a post-doc in Pauls lab for the next two years funded by the Swedish Wenner-Gren Foundation. When Paul moved to Cambridge the initial Post-doc was extended for another five and a half years at Cambridge starting in January 2011 funded by the European Research Council. Currently I am working within a multinational consortium investigating the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis. 

When absent from the office I can usually be found in the tropics hunting for butterflies, or under classic cars swearing at rusty old bolts and failed MOT:s.


My research projects have generally been centred around butterflies, but with a diverse focus on different aspects of biology using butterflies as a study system. Fields covered have included behavioural ecology, migratory ecology, life-history evolution, biomonitoring for conservation assessments, pheromone communication and its link to speciation, and taxonomic revisions. Recently I have started to move my research into an additional direction, focussing on how developmental bias and phenotypic plasticity influence the speed and direction of evolutionary changes. 


Key publications: 

Duplouy, A. & Brattström, O. 2017. Wolbachia in the genus Bicyclus: a forgotten player. Microbial Ecology. Online Early.

van Bergen, E., Osbaldeston, D., Kodandaramaiah, U., Brattström, O., Aduse-Poku, K. & Brakefield, P.M. 2017. Conserved patterns of integrated developmental plasticity in a group of polyphenic tropical butterflies. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 17: 59.

Aduse-Poku, K., Brakefield, P.M., Wahlberg, N. & Brattström, O. 2017. Expanded molecular phylogeny of the genus Bicyclus (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae) shows the importance of increased sampling for detecting semi-cryptic species and highlights potentials for future studies. Systematics and Biodiversity, (15)2, 115-130.

Sáfián, S., Pyrcz, T. & Brattström, O. 2016. Two new species of Bebearia Hemming, 1960, as further evience of centre of endemism of butterflies in Western Nigeria (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae: Limenitinae). Zootaxa, 4175(5), 449-462.

Bacquet, P.M.B., de Jong, M.A., Brattström, O.,  Wang, H-L., Molleman, F., Heuskin, S., Lognay, G., Löfstedt, C., Brakefield, P.M., Vanderpoorten, A. & Nieberding, C.M. 2016. Differentiation in putative male sex pheromone components across and within populations of the African butterfly Bicyclus anynana as a potential driver of reproductive isolation. Ecology and Evolution, 6(17), 6064-6084.

van Velzen, R., Collins, S.C., Brattström, O.,  & Congdon, T.C.E. 2016. Description of a new Cymothoe Hübner, 1819 from northern Mozambique (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae: Limenitidinae). Metamorphosis, 27: 34-41.

Aduse-Poku, K., Lees, D.C., Brattström, O., Kodandaramaiah, U., Collins, S.C., Wahlberg, N. & Brakefield, P.M. 2016. Molecular phylogeny and generic-level taxonomy of the widespread palaeotropical 'Heteropsis clade' (Nymphalidae: Satyrinae: Mycalesina). Systematic Entomology, 41(4), 717-731.

van Bergen, E., Barlow, H., Brattström, O., Griffiths, H., Kodandaramaiah, U., Osborne, C.P. & Brakefield, P.M. 2016. The stable isotope ecology of mycalesine butterflies: implications for plant-insect co-evolution. Functional Ecology, 30(12), 1936-1946.

Timmermans, M.J., Lees, D.C., Thompson, M.J., Sáfián, S. & Brattström, O. 2016. Mitogenomics of 'Old World Acraea' butterflies reveals a highly divergent 'Bematistes'. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 97, 233-241.

Brattström, O., Aduse-Poku, K., Collins, S.C., Di Micco de Santo, T. & Brakefield, P.M. 2016. Revision of the Bicyclus sciathis species-group (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae) with descriptions of four new species and corrected distributional records. Systematic Entomology, 41(1), 207-228.

Brattström, O., Aduse-Poku, K., Collins, S.C. & Brakefield, P.M. 2015. Revision of the Bicyclus ignobilis species-group (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae: Satyrinae) with descriptions of two new species. Zootaxa, 4018(1), 57-79.

Aduse-Poku, K., Brattström, O., Kodandaramaiah, U., Lees, D. C., Brakefield, P.M. & Wahlberg, N. 2015. Systematics and historical biogeography of the Old World butterfly subtribe Mycalesina (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae: Satyrinae). BMC Evol Biol, 15: 167.

Tropek, R., Lestina, D., Jansta, P., Brattström, O., Espeland, M. & Sáfián, Sz. 2015. First reords of Hypolycaena anara  Larsen, 1986 from Cameroon (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae). SHILAP Revta. lepid43(170), 235-239.

Bacquet, P.M.B.*, Brattström, O*., Wang, H-L., Allen, C.E., Löfstedt, C., Brakefield, P.M. & Nieberding, C.M. 2015. Selection on male sex pheromone composition contributes to butterfly reproductive isolation. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 282: 20142734. (* co-first authors)

Hedenström, E., Wallin, E.A., Andersson, J., Bång, J., Wang, H-L, Löfstedt, C., Brattström, O. & Bacquet, P.M.B. 2015. Stereoisomeric Analysis of 6,10,14-Trimethylpentadecan-2-ol and the Corresponding Ketone in Wing Extracts from African Bicyclus Butterfly Species. Journal of Chemical Ecology, 41(1), 44-51.

Brattström, O., Mey, W., de Vos, R. & Brakefield, P.M. 2014. A century old mistake set right, the identities of Mydosama marginata and Mydosama pitana pinned down. Tropical Lepidoptera Research, 24(2), 96-101.

Wang, H-L., Brattström, O., Brakefield, P.M., Francke, W. & Löfstedt, C. 2014. Identification and biosynthesis of novel male specific esters in the wings of the tropical butterfly, Bicyclus martius sanaos. Journal of Chemical Ecology, 40(6), 549-559.

Oostra, V., Brakefield, P.M., Hiltemann, Y., Zwaan, B.J. & Brattström, O. 2014. On the fate of seasonally plastic traits in a rainforest butterfly under relaxed selection. Ecology and Evolution, 4(13), 2654-2667.

Brattström, O. 2012. Bicyclus brakefieldi (Nymphalidae, Satyrinae), a new species of Bicyclus from the Congo River basin. Tropical Lepidoptera, 22, 62-65.

Nazari, V., Larsen, T.B., Lees, D.C., Brattström, O., Bouyer, T., Van de Poel, G. & Hebert, P.D.N. 2011. Phylogenetic systematics of Colotis and associated genera (Lepidoptera: Pieridae): evolutionary and taxonomic implications. Journal of Systematic Evolutionary Research, 49, 204-215.

Brattström, O., Åkesson, S. & Bensch, S. 2010. AFLP reveals cryptic population structure in European red admirals (Vanessa atalanta). Ecological Entomology, 35, 248-252.

Brattström, O., Bensch, S., Wassenaar, L.I., Hobson, K.A. & Åkesson, S. 2010. Understanding migration ecology of European red admirals (Vanessa atalanta) using stable hydrogen isotopes. Ecography, 33, 720-729.

Brattström, O., Wassenaar, L. I., Hobson, K. A. & Åkesson, S. 2008. Placing butterflies on the map – testing the regional geographical resolution of three stable isotopes in Sweden using a monofagus Nymphalid, the Peacock (Inachis io). Ecography, 31, 490-498.

Brattström, O., Kjellén, N., Alerstam, T. & Åkesson, S. 2008. Effects of wind and weather on red admiral (Vanessa atalanta) migration at a coastal site in southern Sweden. Animal Behaviour, 76, 335-344.

Brattström, O. 2007. Ecology of red admiral migration. Doctoral thesis, Lund University, Sweden. (ISBN: 978-91-7105-259-9).

Brattström, O. 2006. Is there seasonal variation in size and mass of Red Admirals Vanessa atalanta on Capri, Italy? Ornis Svecica. 16, 69-73.


Other publications: 

Brattström, O. 2010. Butterflies at Sapo National Park. Report for Liberia Forestry Development Authority and FFI International.

Brattström, O. 2010. Butterflies of Yankari. Report for APLORI/Bauchi State Nigeria.

Brattström, O. 2009. Butterflies at Afi Mountains Wildlife Sanctuary. Report for Cross River State Forestry Commission.

Brattström, O. 2009. Butterflies in Ologbo Forest. Report for Presco Plc, Nigeria.

Brattström, O. 2008. Results from a butterfly survey around Bashu, Southern Okwangwo Division of Cross River National Park, Nigeria. Report for Cross River State Forestry Commission.

Research Associate

Contact Details

Lab S29
Office S8A
01223 (3)36623 (Lab) or 01223 (3)36653 (Offices)