Die Abteilung Aquatische Ökologie der Eawag besteht aus elf Forschungsgruppen und umfasst eine Vielzahl von verschiedenen Disziplinen der Ökologie und Evolutionsbiologie, wobei die gesamte Bandbreite vom individuellen Level über Vergesellschaftungen bis hin zu Ökosystemen abgedeckt wird. Erfahren Sie mehr
Trotz umfangreicher Schutzbemühungen geht der weltweite Verlust an Biodiversität weiter. Das liege unter anderem daran, dass die Naturschutzmassnahmen zu wenig zielführend und effizient seien, schreiben Biologen der Eawag und der Universität Zürich im Journal of Applied Ecology. Weiterlesen
Niche construction refers to the modification of selective environments by organisms. Theoretical and empirical studies of niche construction are increasing in importance as foci in evolutionary ecology. This special edition presents theoretical and empirical research that illustrates the significance of niche construction to the field. Here we set the scene for the following papers by (1) discussing the history of niche construction research, (2) providing clear definitions that distinguish niche construction from related concepts such as ecosystem engineering and the extended phenotype, (3) providing a brief summary of the findings of niche construction research, (4) discussing the contribution of niche construction and ecological inheritance to (a) expanded notions of inheritance, and (b) the extended evolutionary synthesis, and (5) briefly touching on some of the issues that underlie the controversies over niche construction.
Fish population genetic structure shaped by hydroelectric power plants in the upper Rhine catchment
The Rhine catchment in Switzerland has been transformed by a chain of hydroelectric power stations. We addressed the impact of fragmentation on the genetic structure of fish populations by focusing on the European chub (Squalius cephalus). This fish species is not stocked and copes well with altered habitats, enabling an assessment of the effects of fragmentation per se. Using microsatellites, we genotyped 2133 chub from 47 sites within the catchment fragmented by 37 hydroelectric power stations, two weirs and the Rhine Falls. The shallow genetic population structure reflected drainage topology and was affected significantly by barriers to migration. The effect of power stations equipped with fishpasses on genetic differentiation was detectable, albeit weaker than that of man-made barriers without fishpasses. The Rhine Falls as the only long-standing natural obstacle (formed 14 000 to 17 000 years ago) also had a strong effect. Man-made barriers also exacerbated the upstream decrease in allelic diversity in the catchment, particularly when lacking fishpasses. Thus, existing fishpasses do have the desired effect of mitigating fragmentation, but barriers still reduce population connectivity in a fish that traverses fishpasses better than many other species. Less mobile species are likely to be affected more severely.
Gouskov,A.; Reyes,M.; Wirthner-Bitterlin,L.; Vorburger,C. (2016) Fish population genetic structure shaped by hydroelectric power plants in the upper Rhine catchment, Evolutionary Applications, 9(2), 394-408, doi:10.1111/eva.12339, Institutional Repository
Bryozoan stable carbon and hydrogen isotopes: relationships between the isotopic composition of zooids, statoblasts and lake water
We explored the extent to which δ13C and δD values of freshwater bryozoan statoblasts can provide information about the isotopic composition of zooids, bryozoan food and surrounding water. Bryozoan samples were collected from 23 sites and encompassed ranges of nearly 30‰ for δ13C and 100‰ for δD values. δ13C offsets between zooids and statoblasts generally ranged from −3 to +4.5‰, with larger offsets observed in four samples. However, a laboratory study with Plumatella emarginata and Lophopus crystallinus demonstrated that, in controlled settings, zooids had only 0–1.2‰ higher δ13C values than statoblasts, and 1.7‰ higher values than their food. At our field sites, we observed a strong positive correlation between median δ13C values of zooids and median δ13C values of corresponding statoblasts. We also observed a positive correlation between median δD values of zooids and statoblasts for Plumatella, and a positive correlation between median δD values of statoblasts and δD values of lake water for Plumatella and when all bryozoan taxa were examined together. Our results suggest that isotope measurements on statoblasts collected from flotsam or sediment samples can provide information on the feeding ecology of bryozoans and the H isotopic composition of lake water.
van Hardenbroek,M.; Leuenberger,M.; Hartikainen,H.; Okamura,B.; Heiri,O. (2016) Bryozoan stable carbon and hydrogen isotopes: relationships between the isotopic composition of zooids, statoblasts and lake water, Hydrobiologia, 765(1), 209-223, doi:10.1007/s10750-015-2414-y, Institutional Repository
Population genetics approaches to investigate how the massive level of habitat fragmentation affects population connectivity of crayfish, and if technical countermeasures effectively mitigate the negative effects of fragmentation.
New tools to monitor changes in ecosystem conditions and to quantify genetic changes of populations in (semi-)natural environments to predict how human mediated environmental change will influence stability and resilience of ecosystems.
We test how natural selection acts on quantitative immune defence traits and how ecological factors create variation in the form and strength of selection.
Assess the distribution and genetic structure of all amphipod species in Switzerland.