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.
G3 - A European Whitefish Linkage Map and Its Implications for Understanding Genome-Wide Synteny Between Salmonids Following Whole Genome Duplication
Rishi and Philine investigate the genetic basis of the spectacular whitefish radiation across Swiss lakes. To achieve that new genetic resources are essential. One such resource is the linkage map that they created and now published in G3. With this map, they identify how the structure of the whitefish genome might differ from that of other salmonid species by comparing it with the Atlantic Salmon genome. The linkage map suggests that whitefish and atlantic salmon have a very different genome structure and the whitefish genome is more similar to that of other salmonid species including rainbow trout. They further identified regions which have a unique structure in whitefish which they aim to investigate further in the future.