Departmental Research Areas

Integrative Evolutionary Biology

Developmental Plasticity: A Facilitator of Novelty
Environmental responsiveness and phenotypic plasticity are found everywhere in nature. All organisms are exposed to an environment and most of these environments are changing constantly, often in an unpredictable manner. Not surprisingly therefore, plasticity is found in all domains of life and at all levels of biological organization. more
Experimental Evolution in Pristionchus
The emergence of phenotypic diversity from an identical stock of genetic information – i.e., polyphenism – remains one of the most fascinating phenomena in the living world. Despite a wealth of literature on the essence of plasticity and its prevalence in nature, the role it plays in adaptive evolution is yet to be fully elucidated. more
Pristionchus – Population Genetics and Ecology
One of the central aims of the Department is to work towards a better integration of studies on macroevolution, microevolution and ecology with developmental genetics and evo-devo. more
Microbial Interactions – Pathogenicity
Nematodes and bacteria are major components of the soil ecosystem. Many nematodes use bacteria for food, whereas others evolved specialized bacterial interactions ranging from mutualism to parasitism. Little is known about the biological mechanisms by which nematode-bacterial interactions are achieved. more
Pristionchus – Biology, Taxonomy and Phylogeny
Our work since 2004 revealed that nematodes of the genus Pristionchus live in close association with certain beetles. We carried out numerous field trips to locations in Western Europe, the Eastern United States, South-Africa and Japan. From 25,000 beetles, we established more than 8,000 Pristionchus isolates, which fall into 39 species, most of which are cryptic.  more
Pristionchus – Molecular Toolkit
Pristionchus pacificus is an attractive model organism for laboratory studies based on several technical features. A number of tools have been established over the years that allow mechanistic studies in this nematode. more
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