Department Aquatic Ecology

Host-Parasite Coevolutionary Dynamics

How do evolution and ecology interact in aquatic ecosystems?

Today it is known that evolutionary processes happen on a very short timescale and will feed into ecological interactions. It is important to understand adaptation by natural selection: what it can achieve, how quickly, and can we count on it to alleviate some of the problems we humans have created?

Aquatic organisms show a tremendous diversity in abundance, life cycles, habitat requirements, natural enemies and environmental stressors they have to cope with. We work on their natural populations and shy away from using model organisms in order to study how the populations out there adapt. If a question is good we ignore disciplinary boundaries in biology and try to find a way to address it. But generally we use a lot of simple, but elaborate field and laboratory experiments to find an answer using test tubes as frequently as buckets. M.Sc. students and undergraduates are welcomed.

Research Focus

  • Host-Parasite Interactions

    We study ecology and evolution of host-parasite interactions. We have a special interest in coevolutionary interactions and mainly work with parasites that have a complex life cycle.

  • Ecological Genetics and Adaptation

    In many projects we also study how the (population) genetic structure is influenced by the environment or the interaction with organisms.

  • Applied Research

    Goals of our applied projects include management and prevention of spread of invasive species and disease. Second important area for our applied research is ecological genetics where we particularly focus on cryptic biodiversity.

For further information about our research please contact our site at ETH Zurich Aquatic Ecology.