I am a senior postdoctoral researcher in Ole Seehausen's group at the University of Bern and Eawag, both in Switzerland, studying organismal diversification, especially in the context of cichlid fish adaptive radiation. I'm currently using a paleogenetic approach to investigate Lake Victoria's haplochromine cichlids, funded through an SNSF Sinergia grant.
In previous work, I explored patterns of ecological specialisation and genomic divergence of Timema stick insects together with Patrik Nosil at the University of Sheffield, UK, and speciation and ecomorphological evolution of cichlid fishes in the groups of Axel Meyer (University of Konstanz, Germany) and Walter Salzburger (University of Basel, Switzerland).
NEWS & EVENTS
SNSF Sinergia grant is starting Last November, we received the great news that our application for an interdisciplinary Sinergia grant was approved by the Swiss National Science Foundation, and the project starts already this month. Over the next four years, our large team of collaborators will investigate Lake Victoria's prehistory with a focus on how the diversification of haplochromine cichlids interacted with changes in the ecosystem. You can find more information on the SNSF's project database (link).
Practical in Aquatic Ecology & Evolution During this year's four weeks long intensive practical we will investigate the fish community composition in Lake Constance though time using sediment cores.
Coring expedition to Lake Victoria Just returned from the shores of Lake Victoria, Tanzania, where a team from Tafiri, Uni Bern (IPS and IEE), and Eawag retrieved a large set of sediment cores covering the entire life time of the modern lake (i.e. ~15000 years). A great team working very hard and some luck with wind conditions made this possible. The expedition was funded by an University of Bern Strategy Grant.
New paper: Adaptive zones shape the magnitude of premating reproductive isolation in Timema stick insects. Published in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B
New paper: Large-scale mutation in the evolution of a gene complex for cryptic coloration. Published in Science
MY LATEST RESEARCH
The ancestors' tale. During a stay at the Ancient DNA facility at the Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis of the University of Oslo, I successfully extracted fish DNA from several thousand years old cichlid fish bones. I am going to use this approach to study the adaptation to changing environments through time in these fishes.
Rocks and bugs in California. From April to June 2015, I collected Timema stick insects together with Patrik Nosil's group from Sheffield, UK. Fortunately, Timema and their host plants seem to like boulders, too. From the samples we hope to learn just how cryptic these insects are on their host plants, and if that changes with the number of host plant species a given population of insects uses.