David Richard Nash

David Richard Nash

Associate Professor

Current research

ORCID               0000-0002-0462-6794

DATE OF BIRTH 9 May 1964, Stoke Mandeville, U.K.

CONTACT         +45 23718973; DRNash@bio.ku.dk



1990                D.Phil. & M.A., University of Oxford, U.K.

1985                B.A. (hons) , University of Oxford, U.K.



I am an internationally recognized researcher in the fields of symbiosis and coevolution. Since my D.Phil. I have been involved in research on the interactions between organisms, particularly the interactions between ants and lycaenid butterflies, but also other myrmecophiles and social parasites of ants. I am particularly interested in the continuum of interactions from mutualism to parasitism, and how coevolution shapes the outcome, time-course and spatial distribution of interactions. In the past decade I have become increasingly interested in conservation issues and the assessment of biodiversity, using novel sources of data such as natural history collections and remote sensing data. My current research themes can be broadly defined as:

  • Coevolution in recognition systems between ants and myrmecophiles.
  • The population genetics of coevolving myrmecophiles and their hosts
  • Effects of the mutualism-parasitism continuum on the immunocompetence of myrmecophiles
  • The origin and maintenance of social parasitism in ants, including its genomic basis
  • Application of population genetics to the conservation of butterflies and ants
  • Evidence-based conservation of Danish butterflies
  • Conservation genetics of threatened species
  • Image-based analysis of variation in museum specimens
  • Use of remote sensing data and techniques in evolutionary and community ecology
  • Use of citizen science data in conservation, evolutionary and community ecology



2009 - present: Lecturer in Evolutionary Ecology, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

2001-2009:       Research associate, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

2000:                Carlsberg Post-doctoral fellow, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

1998-1999:       EU Marie Curie Post-doctoral fellow, University of Aarhus, Denmark.

1994-1997:       Post-doctoral research assistant, University of Bern, Switzerland.

1993-1994:       Temporary lecturer in Evolutionary Ecology, University of Bath, U.K..

1990-1993:       Post-doctoral research assistant, Imperial College at Silwood Park, U.K.



2023-                Section Head, Section of Ecology & Evolution, Dept. of Biology, UCPH

2022-               Elected Member of Study Board for Biology

2010-               Member of departmental communications committee

2009-               Head of 3-7 person research group

2008-               Web master of international IUSSI

2008-               Committee member (web master) of IUSSI, North-west European Section




2018-22:           Danish Culture Ministry 3-year grant to examine changes in morphology and genetic diversity of populations of Maculinea alcon over the last 50 years. DKK 550,000.

2010-15:           Danish Natural Science Foundation 5-year grant for “Social Parasitism” within the “Centre for Social Evolution” centre of Excellence. DKK 4.5 million.

2005-10           Danish Natural Science Foundation 5-year grant for the theme “Social Parasitism”, embedded within funding for the “Centre for Social Evolution” centre of Excellence. DKK 5 million.

2000:               Carlsberg 1-year individual postdoctoral fellowship.

1998-99           EU Marie Curie 2-year individual postdoctoral fellowship.



Supervised >40 BSc project students, >25 MSc students, 8 PhD students, 3 postdocs.

Frequent PhD opponent/committee chairman (Denmark, Australia, Austria, Belgium, China, Germany, Finland, The Netherlands, U.K.)

Current teaching: Conservation, Conservation Biology, Experimental Design and Statistical Methods for Biologists, Evolutionary Ecology, Invasion Biology.

Organizer of PhD Summer courses on the Taxonomy, Identification and Ecology of European Ants.

Mentor in the UCPH mentor program for young faculty



Occasional grant evaluator, e.g.National Geographic, Polish Research Council, DFG,

Associate Editor of Insect Conservation and Diversity, Frontiers in Ecology & Evolution and Frontiers in Microbiology, and a subject editor for Frontiers in Coevolution.

Referee for ca 50 peer-review journals (> 190 articles), including Nature, PNAS, Proc Roy Soc B, Biology Letters.



I have presented over 50 ordinary research talks or posters at international conferences, and have been invited to give 15 research talks at international meetings. I have organized four symposia at international conferences, and was part of the organizing committee for international meetings in Helsingør in 2003, which attracted 200 delegates, Copenhagen in 2010, which attracted 780 participants, Naples in 2018, which attracted 945 participants, and San Diego in 2022, which attracted 600 on-site participants plus another 700 on-line.



2023                Photographic illustrations for the popular sience book “Myrejagten” (ISBN 978-87-7219-824-8

2019                Radio Program / Podcast:

2005-               Annual participation in Copenhagen Culture Night (including organizing stands and displays for the section for Ecology & Evolution)

2005-15           Chair of communications committee for the Centre for Social Evolution



62 peer-reviewed papers, 8 book chapters, 4 book reviews, 3 reports for national parks

H-index: Web of Science: 27, Google Scholar: 33; i10-index: 56

Citations: Web of Science: 1916: Google scholar: 3120

Primary fields of research

Coevolution, Symbiosis, Evolutionary Ecology, Conservation Biology


I coordinate the courses "Conservation" (Bachelor level) and "Conservation Biology" (Masters' level). I also teach in the courses "Evolutionary Ecology" (Masters' level), "Experimental Design and Statistical methods in Biology" (Bachelor & Masters' level), "Invasion Biology" (Masters' level) and "Population Biology" (Bachelor level).

I also run a summer Ph.D. course on the "Taxonomy, Identification and Ecology of European Ants" approximately every second year, and contribute to another bi-yearly Ph.D. course on "Social Evolution".

ID: 1688033