Population Genetics

Which factors affect the occurrence of species populations in space and time

Our group has a strong focus on population genetic and genomic research. We are especially interested in the effects of anthropogenic factors such as the implementation of in-stream barriers or the discharge of wastewater and pollutants on aquatic invertebrate populations. When is the gene flow interrupted - and only in one or in both directions? Are populations decreasing in context of heterogeneous metapopulations? Which genes/alleles are responsible for the resistance of some populations and how fast do these emerge e.g. through selective sweeps? In which regions and under which environmental conditions is the division of populations leading into different species?

We aim to answer those questions in different regions of the planet.




Dömel, J.S., Dietz, L., Macher, T.-H., Rozenberg, A., Mayer, C., Spaak, J.M., Melzer, R.R., Leese, F., 2020. Analyzing drivers of speciation in the Southern Ocean using the sea spider species complex Colossendeis megalonyx as a test case. Polar Biol 43, 319–342. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00300-020-02636-z

Dömel, J.S., Macher, T.-H., Dietz, L., Duncan, S., Mayer, C., Rozenberg, A., Wolcott, K., Leese, F., Melzer, R.R., 2019. Combining morphological and genomic evidence to resolve species diversity and study speciation processes of the Pallenopsis patagonica (Pycnogonida) species complex. Frontiers in Zoology 16, 36. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12983-019-0316-y

Hempel, C.A., Peinert, B., Beermann, A.J., Elbrecht, V., Macher, J.-N., Macher, T.-H., Jacobs, G., Leese, F., 2020. Using environmental DNA to monitor the reintroduction success of the rhine sculpin (Cottus rhenanus) in a restored stream. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 8, 81. https://doi.org/10.3389/fevo.2020.00081

Macher, J.-N., Rozenberg, A., Pauls, S.U., Tollrian, R., Wagner, R., Leese, F., 2015. Assessing the phylogeographic history of the montane caddisfly Thremma gallicum using mitochondrial and restriction‐site‐associated DNA (RAD) markers. Ecology and evolution 5, 648–662.

Weiss, M., Macher, J.N., Seefeldt, M.A., Leese, F., 2014. Molecular evidence for further overlooked species within the Gammarus fossarum complex (Crustacea: Amphipoda). Hydrobiologia 721, 165–184.

Weigand, H., Leese, F., 2018. Detecting signatures of positive selection in non-model species using genomic data. Zool J Linn Soc 184, 528–583. https://doi.org/10.1093/zoolinnean/zly007

Weigand, H., Weiss, M., Cai, H., Li, Y., Yu, L., Zhang, C., Leese, F., 2018. Fishing in troubled waters: Revealing genomic signatures of local adaptation in response to freshwater pollutants in two macroinvertebrates. Sci Total Environ 633, 875–891. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.03.109

Weiss, M., Weigand, H., Weigand, A.M., Leese, F., 2018. Genome-wide single-nucleotide polymorphism data reveal cryptic species within cryptic freshwater snail species—The case of the Ancylus fluviatilis species complex. Ecology and Evolution 8, 1063–1072. https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.3706