Project groups


Current developments in the fields of genomics and computational biology allow us to access evolutionary processes in unprecedented detail. Alongside natural biological archives, museum collections represent an invaluable source of material for reconstructing past population genetic changes. In this project we focus on species which are known to respond to recent climate changes and which are available in museums in sufficiently high numbers. We develop genetic methods to reconstruct genetic changes during the past fifty to hundred years. Our main aim is to reconstruct how genetic diversity, dispersal patterns and population sizes have changed over recent decades. In addition, we will also try to assess patterns in candidate genes which are known to respond to temperature.



Kuhn, K., Schwenk, K., Both, C., Canal, D., Johansson, U.S., van der Mije, S., Töpfer, T. & M. Päckert (2013) : Differentiation in neutral genes and a candidate gene in the pied flycatcher: using biological archives to track global climate change. - Ecology and Evolution 3: 4799-4814.

Päckert, M., Schwenk, K., Both, C. & K. Kuhn (2011) : Back to the 1950ies – Untersuchung klimainduzierter genetischer Diversitätsänderungen beim Trauerschnäpper Ficedula hypoleuca anhand musealer Archive. - Vogelwarte 49: 231-232.

Streit, B., Pfenninger, M. & K. Schwenk : Eine Erde voller Arten—Darwins Vermächtnis in der heutigen Evolutionsbiologie. - Forschung Frankfurt 3/2008, 72-75.

Töpfer, T., A. Gamauf & E. Haring (2011) : Utility of arsenic-treated bird skins for DNA extraction. - BMC Research Notes 4, 197: 1-8.