Department Fish Ecology and Evolution

Fish Ecology & Evolution (FishEc)

We study ecology, evolution and biodiversity of fishes and other aquatic organisms. We are interested in the mechanisms that drive the origins, the maintenance and the loss of species, genetic and functional diversity.


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May 2, 2017

A conflict is developing in Africa’s Lake Victoria between fish farming in cages and the “normal” fishing industry. Added to that are other factors such as invasive species, wastewater pollution, pesticides and dam construction are putting the unique ecosystem under increasing pressure.  Read more


Joana Meier, Laurent Excoffier, Ole Seehausen and colleagues published a paper in Nature Communications. They shed light on how 700 diverse cichlid species could evolve in only 150,000 years in the Lake Victoria Region. By combining extensive taxon sampling and genomic analyses, they demonstrate that the entire “superflock” evolved from a hybrid swarm of two divergent cichlid lineages. The hybridization event facilitated the adaptive radiations by providing genetic variation that subsequently became recombined and sorted into many new species.

Eawag News

Meier,J.I.; Marques,D.A.; Mwaiko,S.; Wagner,C.E.; Excoffier,L.; Seehausen,O. (2017) Ancient hybridization fuels rapid cichlid fish adaptive radiations, Nature Communications, 8, 14363 (11 pp.), doi:10.1038/ncomms14363, Institutional Repository

Research Projects

We investigate the mechanisms of speciation and adaptive radiation
Genome evolution and genomic divergence across the Swiss Alpine whitefish radiation
Investigating the interactions between migration ecology, local adaptation and diversification