PD Dr. Martin Plath
C2.2: GENETIC DIVERSITY OF INVASIVE SPECIES IN RIVER ECOSYSTEMS
Head of the Department of Ecology and Evolution (Goethe University Frankfurt)
My primary research interests lie at the interface between ecology-driven adaptive trait divergence (local adaptation) and evolutionary diversification (the evolution of reproductive isolation mechanisms, i.e., speciation). I am particularly interested in evolutionary diversification along ecological gradients, one being the light–dark gradient in surface v. cave ecosystems, another being created by naturally occurring, highly toxic hydrogen sulfide (H2S) of volcanic origin. My model organisms are mainly freshwater fishes of the family Poeciliidae, but also several other vertebrates (e.g., mammals, anurans) and invertebrates (e.g., insects, crustaceans). Within the research activities of BiK-F, I am investigating gradient evolution along climatic gradients in indigenous and invasive freshwater fishes (J. Jourdan) and amphipods (W. Chen). Our research employs an array of different methods, ranging from ecological assessments of community structures in the field, eco-physiological experimentation, life history assessments in the laboratory, molecular phylogeographic and population genetic analyses, landscape morphometrics, behavioral experiments, and others.
Further research interests of mine include, among others, sexual selection, analysis of social and communication networks in animal societies, and aspects of conservation genetics. Genomic and transcriptomic investigations of adaptation along the ecological gradient of H2S are increasingly used to understand adaptation mechanistically.