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.
Proceedings Royal Society paper - genetics of female mate preferences in two young Lake Victoria cichlid species
Ola Svensson and colleagues published their paper on the genetics of mate preferences in hybrids between two young and sympatric Lake Victoria cichlid species in Proceedings of the Royal Society B. The genetic architecture of mate preferences are expected to strongly influence evolutionary processes such as hybdriziation and speciation. The two tested species show strong and consistent mate preferences and strong assortative mating in the lab, associated with divergent male breeding coloration. The inheritance was nearly Mendelian and no evidence for imprinting was found.