I am collection manager of the entomological division of The Natural History Collections of Bergen Museum. My activities concern the collection, conservation, biodiversity and distribution of insects in Northern Europe. My current research revolves around three main areas.
Evolution in the Heteroptera
Phylogeny of the CimicidaeCollaborators: Klaus Reinhardt, University of Tuebingen; Ted Morrow, University of Sussex; Mike Siva-Jothy, University of Sheffield; Ondřje Balvin, Charles University Prague
Bedbugs, or Cimicidae, copulate in a spectacular way: males pierce the cuticle of the female and transfer their sperm into the female body (traumatic insemination). In at least two cimicid species this reproductive mode has been shown or implicated to result in sexual conflict, a process that is known to accelerate the rate of evolutionary change. With my current collaborators, and possibly more to come, we joined ranks towards a consortium with the aim of a) revealing the molecular phylogenetic relationship within the Cimicidae (Balvin et al. 2015 Syst. Entomol., DOI: 10.1111/syen.12127) and b) to reconstructing the evolution of sexual organs, particularly the female copulatory organ which seems to ameliorate the damage caused by the male.
Evolution of reproductive systems in damselbugs (Nabidae) - Linking behaviour, morphology and phylogenyNabids provide an interesting aspect in their mating behaviour: Males using symmetric genital structure in an asymmetric behaviour in order to coincide with the outer asymmetric genital structures of a female. As this patterns are species- specific nabids are a excellent model organism to study how both sexual interaction and species recognition processes contribute to mating behaviour and genital morphology. Currently I am working on a molecular phylogeny of nabids for a better understanding of the evolution of their mating behaviour. (Roth & Remane- Entom. Abh. Staatl. Mus. Tierk. Dresden 60 , Roth & Reinhardt- Proc. R. Soc. Lond (B) 270)
Neuropeptide evolution in Orthopteroid insectsCollaborators: Reinhard Predel, University of Cologne
Phylogeny and Ecology of MantophasmatodeaNeuropeptides are structurally and functionally the most diverse group of messenger molecules in insects. Mass fingerprint data of peptide hormones were used to distinguish insect taxa with ambiguous morphological characters (e.g. in Mantophasmatodea- Predel at al. 2005- J Zool Sys Evol Res 43) or hybrids in grasshoppers (Roth et al. 2007- Biol. J. Linn Soc. 91). In a recent study we used peptide sequences to analyse the phylogeny of the new described insect order Mantophasmatodea (Predel et al. 2012- Biol. Syst. 61). This is attended by ecological and behavioural studies of this insects both in laboratory and in field work in Southern Africa (Roth et al. Frontiers in Zoology 2014, 11:70).
Neuropeptides sequences analysis and phylogeny in DictyopteraFor the first time a comprehensive survey of neuropeptides of insects was used for solely phylogenetic purposes studies and the phylogenetic relationships were studied in Dictyoptera (Roth el. 2009- BMC 9).
Faunistics and biology of Norwegian species
Faunistics of Heteroptera in NorwayThe most recent activity concerns mainly water and shore bugs. This is part of an ongoing project about species biodiversity and distribution of hydrophilic insects in Finmark, the most Northern Province of Norway (Ekrem et al. 2012- Norweg. J. Entom. 59; Roth & Coulianos 2014). For further information see: Artsdatabanken-Article 1 (in Norwegian) and Artsdatabanken-Article 2
The invasive slug species Arion vulgaris Moquin-TandonCollaborators: Bjørn Arild Hatteland (University of Bergen)
I am involved in ongoing projects concerning the sexual behaviour, hybridization, distribution patterns and the biological control of the Iberian slug in Norway (Pianezzola et al. 2013- Bull. Entom. Res. 103; Hatteland et al. 2012- Fauna Norvegica 32; Roth et al. 2012- J Conchology 4). For further information see: Iberian slug IPM ( University of Bergen.
Genetic structure of the common toad (Bufo bufo) in NorwayCollaborators: Robert Jehle, (University of Salford)
Isolated, small populations are prone to negative genetic effects. To calibrate whether and how fragmentation affects genetic diversity in amphibians, we describe the genetic structure of common toad (Bufo bufo) populations in a situation where small populations have been naturally isolated since a long time: an archipelagos offshore Bergen (Norway). First faunistic results are published in Roth et al. 2012- Vernate 30.