ResearchThe research themes of the laboratory deal with the biology, ecology and evolution of freshwater and saltwater aquatic systems. They cover two main research areas:
- Fundamental and Applied Aquatic Ecology
- Evolutionary Biology
They are split in six research topics:
- 1. Community Ecology & Ecological Biogeography
We study the structure of communities of aquatic organisms and the mechanisms leading to the observed community structure. We pay special attention to the impact of dormant egg banks, dispersal and migration (barriers), large-scale biogeographical patterns and community genetics.
- 2. Stress Ecology
We study the response of organisms to natural and anthropogenic stresses, focusing on evolutionary aspects, responses to combined stresses, and physiological-ecological mechanisms.
- 3. Biodiversity & Nature Convervation
We study patterns of species richness and biodiversity across aquatic environmental gradients, including biodiversity patterns across trophic levels. We also focus on conservation genetics and the dynamics of extinction/recolonization. We contribute to restoration ecology, fisheries management and sustainable management of shallow standing and running waters.
- 4. Evolutionary Ecology & Behavioural Ecology
We study the evolution of anti-predator traits and host-parasite coevolution using aquatic organisms as model systems. We also study macro-evolutionary patterns associated with habitat shifts.
- 5. Molecular Ecology & Ecological Genomics
We use molecular markers to infer population genetic structure, patterns of gene flow, population identity of aquatic organisms in a contemporary and historic perspective. We develop and apply tools to monitor the fate of neutral and ecologically relevant traits in natural populations, and we engage in environmental genomics in stickleback, European sea bass and the water flea Daphnia.
- 6. Aquaculture & Environmental Microbiology
We study beneficial and pathogenic microbial populations in aquatic organisms and aquatic environments, investigate the impact of abiotic and biotic factors on the (gamete) quality of farmed fishes and crustaceans, and prepare genomic tools for Quantitative Trait Locus analysis. We contribute to the sustainable aquaculture and fisheries in developing countries.