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Ecology, Evolution and Biodiversity Conservation Section

Aquatic Ecology, Evolution and Conservation

Our research focuses on ecological and evolutionary processes using aquatic systems as models. Research areas range from community ecology to evolutionary ecology, behavioural ecology, genetics, and stress ecology. Our research has societal relevance in relation to the diversity crisis, nature conservation, sustainable development, water and wildlife management, and global change.

Biodiversity and Evolutionary Genomics

Research focuses on various aspects of vertebrate diversity, with special attention to evolutionary genetics/genomics and speciation, parasitology, fish ecology and systematics, and bioarcheology. Whenever possible we use complementary approaches at the genetic, phenotypic, ecological and environmental level to support our findings. We run a medium-throughput genotyping laboratory and have expertise in bioinformatics and biostatistics.

Socioecology and Social Evolution

We study the factors that drive social behavior, and use social insects as model system. Aside from basic research we also study applied questions relating to honeybee diseases, swarm intelligence and evolutionary robotics. Among the techniques we use are video-assisted behavioural observation, pheromone bioassays, modeling, analysis of kinship patterns and microarray and RNAseq expression analysis.

Plant Conservation and Population Biology

We aim study the dynamics of wild plant populations and their interactions with both the abiotic environment and with mutualists such as pollinating insects and mycorrhizal soil fungi. We value the societal relevance of our work in an era that is confronted with increasing anthropogenic impact on biodiversity through habitat fragmentation, eutrophication and global warming. Techniques we use include pollination experiments, demographic modeling, neutral genetic markers and genomic approaches.

Aquatic Biology @ KULAK

The laboratory Aquatic Biology@kulak carries out fundamental and applied research into aquatic microorganisms. We study host-parasite/microbiome interactions in Daphnia with a focus on how these interactions are influenced by the environment. We study causes, consequences and remediation of eutrophication and algal blooms. We also explore the potential applications of microalgae for use as biofuels, as animal feed, as a source of poly-unsaturated fatty acids and for waste water treatment.