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 four 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. Researchers in the department of vertebrates at the Natural History Museum Bern, NMBE, are also affiliated with our University division.
Review on the ecology and genomic substrate of stickleback invasions in Lake Constance
Invasive species can be powerful models for studying contemporary evolution in natural environments. Threespine stickleback have in the last 150 years colonized large parts of Switzerland and are invasive in Lake Constance. Cameron and colleagues from Eawag and University of Bern who have worked on the system in the last 10 years review the historical origins and the genomic basis of the invasion and also the ecomorphological variation of sticklebacks in the Lake Constance area.