Staff

Katja Räsänen

Dr. Katja Räsänen

Department Aquatic Ecology

About Me

Department of Aquatic Ecology/ETH-Zürich, Institute of integrative Biology

Adaptation of natural populations to environmental change: dynamics and interactions

We aim to understand responses of natural populations to natural and human induced environmental change at ecological time scales (i.e. within a few generations). We study ecological and evolutionary responses of individuals and populations to environmental stress (acidification, micropollutants, predation), spatio-temporal dynamics of natural selection, and the molecular mechanisms of adaptation.

Our research is primarily empirical but with a strong conceptual basis. We are interested in both basic science and applied questions. An important core in our research are interactions between agents of selection (e.g. single vs. multiple stressors; selection vs. gene flow), the quantitative and molecular genetic basis of adaptation (maternal vs. direct genetic effects) and those between ecological and evolutionary processes. 

Our current main lines of empirical research are:

  1. Adaptive divergence along environmental stress gradients: evolutionary physiology and genomics of adaptation (in amphibians in Sweden) - SNF 2017-2019
  2.  Eco-evolutionary interactions in space and time: ECO-EVO-DEVO (in stickleback and arctic charr in Iceland) - RANNIS
  3. Glycomics tools for ecology and evolution (starting 2016) - Eawag grant
Our tools: We use large scale field and laboratory experiments, combined with field surveys, quantitative genetics and genomics, evolutionary physiology as well as proteomics and glycomics.

Funding: Our research has been funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF), the Icelandic Research Council (RANNIS), the Swedish Research Council Formas, the Swedish Research Council (VR) and Eawag.

Teaching at ETH:
Practical and lecture courses in evolutionary ecology and aquatic biodiversity. For details see: http://www.ae.ethz.ch/

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Projects

EcoImpact is an Eawag-wide interdisciplinary research effort, strongly motivated by the planned modifications of the Swiss wastewater treatment plants.
Understanding how environmental stress drives shifts in species distribution and intra-specific phenotypic divergence with special emphasis on maternal effects that are key adaptations during early life-stages.
We test how the effects of thermal stress interact with both natural (parasites) and human induced (chemical pollution) stressors in determining organism performance.
Our work investigates the evolution of natural populations in response to interacting forces of selection and gene flow, and the interactions between genetic variation, phenotypic plasticity and transgenerational effects in diversification.
Understanding the long-term responses of biological diversity to environmental change in an alpine cryptic species complex of Baetid mayflies.

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Address

E-Mail: katja.rasanen@eawag.ch
Phone: +41 58 765 5186
Fax: +41 58 765 5802
Address: Eawag
Überlandstrasse 133
8600 Dübendorf
Office: BU G15

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