Department Environmental Toxicology

The Moderlieschen as potential indigenous model species for ecotoxicology

With this research project we aim to establish the Moderlieschen (Leucaspius delineatus) as a fish model in ecotoxicolgy and ecology. Model species hold a key role in fundamental and applied environmental science and toxicology. They are explored under the assumption that they represent a variety of species with similar traits. Commonly used model species, e.g. zebrafish (Danio rerio) or Medaka (Oryzias latipes), are alien to temperate regions. Thus, direct knowledge transfer and especially field application are not possible for the European climate. We therefore wish to establish an indigenous fish model. Feasible handling and experimental manipulation, occurrence in wide parts of Europe and sensitivity to anthropogenic changes make the Moderlieschen the species of choice.  

The specific aims of our research are to (i) build a knowledge base of Moderlieschen traits, (ii) investigate the sensitivity to chemical exposure, and (iii) obtain and analyze the genome.  

We successfully maintain this fish since 2015 in our facility and we reared the first offspring. We are now working toward establishing husbandry and reproduction protocols for predictable multiple spawning during the year. Other ongoing activities include the establishment of a set of gene expression markers to explore defense mechanisms toward chemical stress and to record physiological parameters for building a physiology-based toxicokinetic model.


Prof. Dr. Kristin SchirmerHead of departmentTel. +41 58 765 5266Send Mail

Team members

Reto BrittTel. +41 58 765 5095Send Mail
Pascal BucherLab TechnicianTel. +41 58 765 5629Send Mail
Sarah KönemannPhD StudentTel. +41 58 765 5254Send Mail

Former team members

Pascal ReichlinTel. +41 58 765 2102Send Mail

In collaboration with:

Dr. Stephan Fischer, Aquatox-Solutions GmbH
Niklaus Zemp, ETHZ


Eawag, Discretionary Fund