Kristine Bakke Westergaard

Position:    Researcher

 Telephone: +47 980 72 974
 Department:Terrestrial biodiversity

Knowledge areas

My main research interests are historical and contemporary species dispersal and plant conservation. My work spans the fields of biosystematics, plant geography, conservation genetics and genomics, landscape genetics, vegetation ecology, and floristics.

I focus on alien species and their dispersal to and establishment in Norway and in the Arctic. I also focus on arctic-alpine and boreal plants, especially the rare, disjunctly distributed and/or threatened species.

A selection of current/recent projects I lead or am involved in:

  • Biodiversa ASICS (ASsessing and mitigating the effects of climate change and biological Invasions on the spatial redistribution of biodiversity in Cold environmentS) (2021-2024; WP lead)
  • Monitoring alien stowaways along the pathway of imported ornamental plants (2014-2028; PI)åre-fagområder/Fremmede-arter/Planteimport-og-fremmede-arter
  • Towards conservation genomics: studying migration of adaptation in a threatened non-model plant species (2014-2019; PI)
  • Ecological risk assessment of alien vascular plants in Svalbard and Jan Mayen (2018)
  • Non-native vascular plants in the Arctic - diversity, characteristics and biogeography (2017-2018)
  • Arctic Alien Species - risks, trends and pathways (2017-2019)

Since 2002, I've been responsible for planning logistics, safety and carrying out botanical field expeditions in Arctic and northern regions:

  • 2019 Svalbard, East Greenland, Iceland, China (Inner Mongolia)
  • 2018 Svalbard, East Greenland, Iceland
  • 2017 Svalbard
  • 2016 Northeast Greenland National park, USA (Alaska, Colorado, Minnesota), northern Norway
  • 2014 Northeast Greenland National park, USA (Alaska, Colorado, Minnesota), northern Norway
  • 2013 Finnmark
  • 2011 Middle and southern Norway
  • 2009 Svalbard, Finnmark
  • 2008 Nordland, Troms
  • 2007 Northeast Greenland National park, Iceland, Scotland, northern Norway
  • 2006 Svalbard, West and South Greenland, northern Norway
  • 2004 Northern Norway, West Greenland and Arctic Canada
  • 2003 Svalbard, northern Norway
  • 2002 Svalbard, northern and southern Norway, Chile

Key qualifications

Arctic-alpine and boreal botany, biosystematics, plant geography, conservation genetics and genomics, vegetation ecology, floristics. Alien species: monitoring occurrences and pathways, identification of door knockers, and risk assessments.


2010: PhD in Biology, University of Tromsø (UiT).

Specialization within arctic-alpine and boreal vascular plants and bryophytes: conservation genetics, biosystematics, statistical phylogeography, molecular markers, GIS and remote sensing data.

Thesis: Disjunctly distributed arctic-alpine plant species - phylogeography and conservation genetics in a changing world.

Project: "Did vascular plants and bryophytes survive the last ice age in Scandinavia?" (NRC project 170952/V40 to Prof. Christian Brochmann, National Centre for Biosystematics (NCB), University of Oslo)

2004: Cand. scient. in Vegetation ecology/geobotany, UiT.

Thesis: Phylogeography of the high arctic Saxifraga rivularis L. inferred by Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphisms (AFLPs).

Project: "Effects of climate change on ecosystems in Svalbard: past and future immigration of thermophilous key species" (NRC project 150322/720 to Prof. Christian Brochmann, National Centre for Biosystematics, University of Oslo)


AECO Arctic Field Staff Assessment (Svalbard, Greenland) (2019)

Global IUCN Red List Assessor - Assessing species' extinction risk using IUCN Red List
methodology (2018).

Worked in

Field experience from Norway (incl. Svalbard), Iceland, Scotland, Greenland, Canada (Nunavut), USA (Alaska, Colorado, Minnesota), Chile and China (Inner Mongolia). Expedition leader since 2002.

Guest researcher at The Plant Ecological Genetics Group, ETH Zürich, Switzerland (3 months, 2014)