Department Aquatic Ecology

Current Projects

This project contributes to the Blue Green Biodiversity Research Initiative – an Eawag-WSL collaboration focusing on Biodiversity at the interface of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems.
Functional characterization of isopod-microbe symbiosis
Using freshwater isopods to understand how gut microbiome mediates host function in the face of environmental stress
This project contributes to the Blue Green Biodiversity Research Initiative – an Eawag-WSL collaboration focusing on Biodiversity at the interface of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems.
The architecture of community structure, functional traits and trophic networks across blue-green ecosystems
The combined effects of climate warming and increased nutrient inputs from human activities have resulted in increasing frequency and severity of cyanobacteria blooms worldwide.
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.
Laboratory experiments under controlled chemostat conditions have indicated that evolution of algal populations can occur on ecological time-scales and can significantly alter community dynamics and ecosystem ...
Assess the distribution and genetic structure of all amphipod species in Switzerland.
Understanding how facultative endosymbiotic bacteria that increase host resistance shape coevolution between aphid hosts and their hymenopteran parasitoids.
Developing tools and protocols on how to use novel eDNA technology in the context of biodiversity monitoring in riverine ecosystems.
Studying dispersal processes and diversity patterns in dendritic networks, using a wider range of approaches, including simulation models, protist microcosm experiments and field studies.
Identification of transformation products and assessment of environmental relevance
In this project we are investigating the impact of evolution on the genetics, proteomics and phenotypic traits that control competitive species interactions and community assembly in freshwater algae.
The impact of cyanobacterial blooms triggered by nutrient pollution on aquatic environments in the context of climate change. A Romanian-Swiss collaboration.
Persistence of defensive symbionts and specificity in symbiont-mediated defence across diverse natural enemies or against different parasite genotypes within a species.
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.
An ecological longterm study of the Spöl River, Swiss National Park, to experimental high flows since 1999, including redd counts of brown trout, macroinvertebrates, periphyton and water physico-chemistry at periodic times during each year.
Population genetics approaches to investigate how the massive level of habitat fragmentation affects population connectivity of crayfish, and if technical countermeasures effectively mitigate the negative effects of fragmentation.
Understand the mechanisms how adaptive evolution shapes reciprocal interactions between organisms and their environment, leading to either new opportunities or new constraints for further adaptation.

Feedbacks between ecosystem dynamics and genomics

Understanding how natural enemies affect diversity
Combining innovative approaches to phytoplankton and lake-ecosystem monitoring with community and ecosystem theory to to understand plankton-driven ecosystem processes.
Myxozoans are ubiquitous fish parasites, highly reduced in morphology but recently shown to be related to cnidarians. This project aims to generate the first malacosporean genome, using technologies such as Whole-Genome Amplification and PacBio and Illumina sequencing.
We test how natural selection acts on quantitative immune defence traits and how ecological factors create variation in the form and strength of selection.
Ecosystem effects of parasitism, and how such effects might alter selection pressures on subsequent generations in mesocosm experiments.
Understanding how environmentally relevant exposure scenarios to water-borne micropollutants affect physiological, ecological and evolutionary responses at different spatial and temporal scales.
This project aims at sequencing a member of the subgenus Hyalodaphnia, which are the Daphnia that are predominantly found in European lakes.
New tools to monitor changes in ecosystem conditions and to quantify genetic changes of populations in (semi-)natural environments to predict how human mediated environmental change will influence stability and resilience of ecosystems.
We test how the effects of thermal stress interact with both natural (parasites) and human induced (chemical pollution) stressors in determining organism performance.
We are collecting an extensive database of algal ecological and physiological traits, and testing whether these traits are capable of correctly predicting community dynamics over time in response to environmental changes.
Understanding and measuring how flow intermittency drives biodiversity and river functions in an alpine environment
This Interreg project aims to understand the responses of Lake Constance to changing environmental conditions.
In an outdoor replicated whole-pond experiment, we aim to understand the relative contributions of ecological species turnover and evolutionary adaptation in phytoplankton communities