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.
ProcRSocB - Arrival order and realease from competition does not explain why haplochromine cichlids radiated in Lake Victoria
Moritz and colleagues searched sediment cores from Lake Victoria to test the idea of priority effect using fossils found in the sediment layers before and after the desiccation of Lake Victoria. He could show that cichlids were not the first to arrive in the re-filling Lake Victoria about 15'000 years ago but that other lineages such as cyprinids and 'tilapias' were also present at the same time. Thus, it was not release from competition that made the enormous haplochromine cichlid radiation possible.