Blake Matthews

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About Me

My group studies the ecological dynamics of natural selection, and the reciprocal interactions among ecological, ecosystem, and evolutionary dynamics.

Feedbacks between phenotypic evolution and ecosystem dynamics - Feedbacks are central to understanding evolving biological systems. In aquatic systems, we study how contemporary trait evolution of predators (e.g. threespine stickleback) can affect community structure (of prey and non-prey) and the functioning of ecosystems (e.g. habitat structure, nutrient cycling, productivity). Such organisms-mediated ecosystem effects can feedback to affect selection gradients and evolutionary responses.

Evolution and the resilience of ecosystems - Interactions between ecological and evolutionary processes are fundamental for understanding the balance of feedbacks that govern ecosystem stability and resilience to environmental change. Using pond and mesocosm experiments, we study how species interactions and biodiversity affect the resilience of aquatic system to perturbations (e.g. nutrient pollution).

Evolution of the organism-environment interaction - All living organisms evolve in a reciprocal interaction with their environment. The evolution of phenotypic plasticity is an important component of this interaction. In aquatic organisms, we study both the causes and consequences of plasticity. In isopods, cryptic pigmentation is a developmentally plastic trait, whose evolution is likely mediated by predation, resources, and habitat structure. In stickleback, trait plasticity can have effects on ecosystems that are independent of the genetic background of the population.

The community context of evolution (Greenland) - Contemporary evolution in natural populations is shaped by the interplay of abiotic environments and species interactions. It is the structure and composition of communities that defines ecological dynamics of natural selection. We have recently begun to study the community context of evolution and adaptation in freshwater ecosystems (lakes and streams) on the Southern Peninsula of Greenland. The lakes of Greenland are inhabited by only two fish species (threespine stickleback and char), and so there are a limited number of food web configurations (e.g. only one species, both species, or neither species). We are interested in how this community context (i.e. presence or absence of Char) affects the evolution of interactions between stickleback and their prey.

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Curriculum Vitae

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Matthews, B.; Jokela, J.; Narwani, A.; Räsänen, K.; Pomati, F.; Altermatt, F.; Spaak, P.; Robinson, C. T.; Vorburger, C. (2020) On biological evolution and environmental solutions, Science of the Total Environment, 724, 138194 (7 pp.), doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.138194, Institutional Repository
Dakos, V.; Matthews, B.; Hendry, A. P.; Levine, J.; Loeuille, N.; Norberg, J.; Nosil, P.; Scheffer, M.; De Meester, L. (2019) Ecosystem tipping points in an evolving world, Nature Ecology & Evolution, 3(3), 355-362, doi:10.1038/s41559-019-0797-2, Institutional Repository
Matthews, B.; Best, R. J.; Feulner, P. G. D.; Narwani, A.; Limberger, R. (2018) Evolution as an ecosystem process: insights from genomics, Genome, 61(4), 298-309, doi:10.1139/gen-2017-0044, Institutional Repository
Limberger, R.; Birtel, J.; Farias, D. D. S.; Matthews, B. (2017) Ecosystem flux and biotic modification as drivers of metaecosystem dynamics, Ecology, 98(4), 1082-1092, doi:10.1002/ecy.1742, Institutional Repository
Matthews, B.; Aebischer, T.; Sullam, K. E.; Lundsgaard-Hansen, B.; Seehausen, O. (2016) Experimental evidence of an eco-evolutionary feedback during adaptive divergence, Current Biology, 26(4), 483-489, doi:10.1016/j.cub.2015.11.070, Institutional Repository
Arnegard, M. E.; McGee, M. D.; Matthews, B.; Marchinko, K. B.; Conte, G. L.; Kabir, S.; Bedford, N.; Bergek, S.; Chan, Y. F.; Jones, F. C.; Kingsley, D. M.; Peichel, C. L.; Schluter, D. (2014) Genetics of ecological divergence during speciation, Nature, 511(7509), 307-311, doi:10.1038/nature13301, Institutional Repository
Fischer, B. B.; Kwiatkowski, M.; Ackermann, M.; Krismer, J.; Roffler, S.; Suter, M. J. F.; Eggen, R. I. L.; Matthews, B. (2014) Phenotypic plasticity influences the eco-evolutionary dynamics of a predator-prey system, Ecology, 95(11), 3080-3092, doi:10.1890/14-0116.1, Institutional Repository
Matthews, B.; De Meester, L.; Jones, C. G.; Ibelings, B. W.; Bouma, T. J.; Nuutinen, V.; van de Koppel, J.; Odling-Smee, J. (2014) Under niche construction: an operational bridge between ecology, evolution, and ecosystem science, Ecological Monographs, 84(2), 245-263, doi:10.1890/13-0953.1, Institutional Repository
Matthews, B.; Pomati, F. (2012) Reversal in the relationship between species richness and turnover in a phytoplankton community, Ecology, 93(11), 2435-2447, doi:10.1890/11-2289.1, Institutional Repository
Matthews, B.; Narwani, A.; Hausch, S.; Nonaka, E.; Peter, H.; Yamamichi, M.; Sullam, K. E.; Bird, K. C.; Thomas, M. K.; Hanley, T. C.; Turner, C. B. (2011) Toward an integration of evolutionary biology and ecosystem science, Ecology Letters, 14(7), 690-701, doi:10.1111/j.1461-0248.2011.01627.x, Institutional Repository
Harmon, L. J.; Matthews, B.; Des Roches, S.; Chase, J. M.; Shurin, J. B.; Schluter, D. (2009) Evolutionary diversification in stickleback affects ecosystem functioning, Nature, 458(7974), 1167-1170, doi:10.1038/nature07974, Institutional Repository

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Phone: +41 58 765 2120
Fax: +41 58 765 2168
Address: Eawag
Seestrasse 79
6047 Kastanienbaum
Office: SW C05

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Expert on

biodiversity, plankton, evolution, Ecosystems

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Research Group

Maria Cuenca

Ryan Greenway

Cam Hudson

Leighton King

Moritz Lürig

Marvin Moosmann

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