Fishes are the most diverse group of vertebrates, are key players in aquatic ecosystems, provide a diverse set of ecosystem services, and are sensitive to environmental change. We study their ecology, evolution and conservation. We work with fish diversity from traits and genes in populations to the diversity of species assemblages, their change through time and the ecosystem consequences. We are particularly interested in understanding the evolution of endemic diversity within individual ecosystems, such as the radiations of cichlid fish in African lakes and the radiation of whitefish in the lakes around the European Alps. We are a single research group led by Ole Seehausen at the University of Bern but Ole also leads the Department Fish Ecology and Evolution at the Eawag Center for Ecology, Evolution and Biogeochemistry, Kastanienbaum, where we currently host three other research groups that are all associated with the IEE too. The work of the Eawag department is motivated by the aim to contribute to the emerging synthesis between evolutionary biology and ecosystems ecology. There we also host the Swiss Fisheries Advisory Service.
Kilham Memorial Award
Ole Seehausen received the “Kilham Memorial Award” by the International Society of Limnology (SIL). Last week, at the 33rd SIL Congress, he gave the Kilham Memorial Lecture in Turin. In his lecture entitled “Ecological isolation despite geographical connectedness: evolution-dependent species richness in large and deep lakes”, he made special reference to the fact that the unique diversity of fish species in large and deep lakes can only arise through evolution in each individual lake. Very little research has been carried out to date on just how the loss of this biodiversity – which is very specific to each individual lake – affects the functioning of lake ecosystems.