I am an evolutionary biologist based at the Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis at the University of Oslo, Norway. My research focuses on speciation and population genomics and the role of gene flow in adaptation and divergence among species. I am fascinated by the diversity we see within and between species and I am working to try to understand how it has evolved.

To achieve this aim, I have worked on fairly broad set of organisms. These include Passer sparrows, rough periwinkles (Littorina saxatilis), bedbugs and stickleback fishes. I am also keen to use bioinformatic tools and pipelines. I teach on several international bioinformatics courses and curate a collection of my own scripts and approaches here.

Previously I worked as a JSPS postdoctoral fellow with Jun Kitano at the Ecological Genetics Laboratory at the National Institute of Genetics in Mishima, Japan. I also worked alongside Roger Butlin and Kerstin Johannesson at the Centre for Marine Evolutionary  (CeMEB) Biology at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. In 2012, I completed my PhD  with Chris Harrod and Paulo Prodohl at Queen’s University Belfast in the UK.

The blog title should be familiar to readers who have looked into the growing field of speciation genomics. It comes from a metaphor and popular conceptual model coined by Thomas Turner at University of Santa Barbara, California for large regions of genomic differentiation between species.  Gene flow is lower at these regions and over time this leads to peaks of genomic divergence which rise above an ‘ocean’ of non-divergence.

When I registered this website, I was swept up with the term. Now I am less convinced it is of practical use as a technical term but I still like the metaphor as an illustration. I also like the image of sailing from one genomic island to the next, searching for that hidden treasure… genes that underlie the speciation process. I am not sure genomic islands will lead the way to that, but the journey is still exhilarating.

More about me

You can contact me via email at mark.ravinet ‘AT’ ibv.uio.no