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.
MolEcol - same same but different
What looks the same does not have to be the same species. Red and blue Pundamilia cichlid species are found in the main body of Lake Victoria and in a Gulf in the South of the lake. Joana shows through demographic modelling using whole-genome data that the red and blue cichlids sampled in the Gulf evolved independently from a hybrid swarm of the two red and blue species outside of the Gulf. We call this process “hybrid parallel speciation”.