Martin Stervander


I am gay and I am a evolutionary biologist with a flair for ecology and anything involving birds. //

I did my PhD on speciation in birds at Lund University, and in my postdoc project at University of Oregon I focus on the funky snouts of pipefishes, seahorses, and seadragons. I use genetic and genomic tools to understand the underpinnings of variation in phenotypic traits, and ultimately how those provide targets for selection, leading to Earth’s incredible biodiversity. Being open since my late teens—and fancying holding my partner’s hand—meant regularly enduring harassment even in progressive Sweden. In other parts of the world, homosexuals may face anything from social stigma to the death penalty, which directly impacts where I feel comfortable going for fieldwork or conferences. I have generally met positive attitudes in academia, but it long seemed as though no other queer biologists existed. Twitter helped me discover that isn’t true, and I realized how isolated I had actually felt. I strive to actively support diversity in STEM, and being out and proud is one of many ways.