Radix baltica

Chironimus riparius Pfenninger



Molecular Ecology

Research group
Head: Prof. Dr. Markus Pfenninger

Whether a population is able to adapt to changing climates and establish at new sites, strongly depends on the amount of genetic variation in climate-relevant fitness traits.  An understanding of the extent of this variation is therefore essential if we are to accurately predict species response to current global climate changes.
We investigate phenotypic and genomic variation in and between ecological key species in order to reveal functional similarities and differences of climate tolerance across taxa and ecosystems. As study organisms we use the non-biting midge Chironomus riparius and the pondsnail Radix balthica as well as biting midges, ants and landsnails.
To do this we sample populations of the study organisms in the wild along a climate gradient and subject them to defined climatic conditions in the course of common-garden experiments. We track different life history parameters, for example those relating to reproduction such as time to reproduction and number offspring across generations, to assess local adaption. In addition we conduct long-term experiments to study how species adapt to different (climatic) conditions. We correlate phenotypic data with genomic variation in order to identify the genomic basis of climate adaption. As part of this research we have so far sequenced genomes of around ten species.


Prof. Dr. Markus Pfenninger – head of Research group
Dr. Barbara Feldmeyer – PostDoc
Dr. Ann-Marie Waldvogel – PostDoc
Dr. Axel Magdeburg – Research Associate
Friederike Reuss – PhD  student
Juliane Hartke – PhD  student
Dennis Lüders – PhD  student
Quentin Foucault – PhD  student
Andreas Wieser – PhD  student

Selected publications
Waldvogel, Ann-Marie et al. (2018): The genomic footprint of climate adaptation in Chironomus riparius. Molecular Ecology, doi: 10.1111/mec.14543

Reuss, F. Et al (2018): Thermal experiments with the Asian bush mosquito (Aedes japonicus japonicus) (Diptera: Culicidae) and implications for its distribution in Germany. Parasites & vectors, doi: 10.1186/s13071-018-2659-1

Schell, T. et al. (2017): An Annotated Draft Genome for Radix auricularia (Gastropoda, Mollusca). Genome Biology and Evolution, doi: 10.1093/gbe/evx032