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.
Oikos - Environmental stability increases relative individual specialisation across populations of an aquatic top predator
Philip and colleagues show in their recent study in wild populations of brown trout that environmental stability can strongly influence individual niches within populations. They compared stomach contents and stable isotope signatures from brown trout in stable, groundwater fed streams and from those in unstable, surface water fed streams and their results suggest a higher degree of specialization in the stable environment of the groundwater fed streams where food supply is a lot more stable.