Department Aquatic Ecology

Zooplankton Ecology and Evolution

We are part of the Institute of Integrative Biology (IBZ) and the Department of Environmental System Sciences (D-USYS) at ETH Zürich. Our group is hosted by Eawag in Dübendorf, where our offices and labs are based.

Our main research interests are questions, related to the maintenance and functioning of zooplankton populations, and the understanding of processes that influence genetic variation. We are especially interested in evolutionary ecological questions related to hybridization. We investigate how predation (interaction through kairomones), life history strategies, parasites and local adaptation influence the fitness of hybrid and parental taxa. Recently we started to combine evolutionary concepts with eco-toxicology.,For our studies we use a multidisciplinary approach, combining experimental work with field studies and population genetics. We mainly use Daphnia as a model organism.

M.Sc. students and undergraduates are welcome.

Visit Piet Spaak's website for more information.


Master's projects

Students interested in a master's project please contact Piet Spaak.

Current Projects

A project for the development of a quagga mussel monitoring concept mussel monitoring concept and the support of preventative and protective measures in Switzerland.
The impact of cyanobacterial blooms triggered by nutrient pollution on aquatic environments in the context of climate change. A Romanian-Swiss collaboration.
Understanding how natural enemies affect diversity
This project aims at sequencing a member of the subgenus Hyalodaphnia, which are the Daphnia that are predominantly found in European lakes.
This Interreg project aims to understand the responses of Lake Constance to changing environmental conditions.
The Goal of this project is to investigate the impact of the invasive quagga mussel on the food web.
The aim of this project is to investigate the unusually high abundance of stickleback in Lake Constance.


Newest publications

Monchamp, M.-E.; Spaak, P.; Pomati, F. (2019) Long term diversity and distribution of non-photosynthetic cyanobacteria in peri-Alpine lakes, Frontiers in Microbiology, 9, 3344 (11 pp.), doi:10.3389/fmicb.2018.03344, Institutional Repository
Monchamp, M.-E.; Spaak, P.; Domaizon, I.; Dubois, N.; Bouffard, D.; Pomati, F. (2018) Homogenization of lake cyanobacterial communities over a century of climate change and eutrophication, Nature Ecology & Evolution, 2, 317-324, doi:10.1038/s41559-017-0407-0, Institutional Repository
Turko, P.; Tellenbach, C.; Keller, E.; Tardent, N.; Keller, B.; Spaak, P.; Wolinska, J. (2018) Parasites driving host diversity: incidence of disease correlated with Daphnia clonal turnover, Evolution, International Journal of Organic Evolution, 72(3), 619-629, doi:10.1111/evo.13413, Institutional Repository

Former Group Members

PhD students

Name Year Current position
Dr. Marie-Eve Monchamp 2013 - 2017
Dr. Patrick Turko 2012 - 2016
Dr. Markus Möst  2009 - 2013 Group Leader, University of Innsbruck, Austria
Dr. Aurea Chiaia-Hernandez 2009 - 2013 Deputy Group Leader, University Bern, Switzerland
Dr. Silke van den Wyngaert  2008 - 2012 Post Doc, IGB Berlin, Germany
Dr. Claudia Buser 2008 - 2011 Research associate, Eawag, Switzerland
Dr. Andreas Kretschmann  2006 - 2010 Associate professor, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
Dr. Corine Schoebel 2007 - 2010 Post Doc, WSL, Birmensdorf, Switzerland
Dr. Christian Rellstab 2003 - 2007 Post Doc, WSL, Birmensdorf, Switzerland
Prof. Dr. Justyna Wolinska 2002 - 2006 Professor, IGB Berlin, Germany
Dr. Barbara Keller 2001 - 2006 Post Doc, University of Zürich, Switzerland
Dr. Sandra Lass 1998 - 2002
Prof. Dr. Monika Winder 1998 - 2002 Professor, Stockholm University, Sweden
Prof. Dr. Michael Monaghan 1998 - 2002 Professor, IGB Berlin, Germany


Name Year University
Prof. Dr. Nelson Hairston 2013/2018Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Cornell University, USA
Dr. Jennifer Fox 2009


Nelson Stevens2018 - 2019University of Zürich (Master)
Linda Haltiner2017 - 2018University of Zürich (Master)
Corinne Hänggi2016 - 2017ETH Zürich (Master)
Nadine Targent2013 - 2014University of Zürich (Master) 
Gessica Gambaro2013ETH Zürich (Bachelor) 
Sarah Wolf2011 - 2012ETH Zürich (term paper)
Nadine Targent2012University of Zürich (term paper)
Livia Baumgartner2012Zürich University of Applied Sciences, Wädenswil (Bachelor)
Oliver Vanholsbeeck2010 - 2011University of Zürich 
Patrick  Turko2010 - 2011University of Queens Canada (Joint master Project)
Marloes Caduff-Kinkel2006 
Christoph Tellenbach2004 - 2005 
Lukas Engeler2003University of Basel
Michael Rudis2000 - 2001 
Tamara Barthelmes2000 - 2001 
Lisa Eggenschwiler1998Diploma Thesis, ETH Zürich (in german).
Aangelika Denk1998Diploma Thesis, University of Regensburg (in german).