Population Genetics

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

We are interested in the effect of anthropogenic impacts such as weirs and culverts or discharge of wastewater and pollutants on aquatic invertebrate species. When is gene flow interrupted and which barriers impede gene flow? Are population sizes decreasing? What are source populations for restored sites? Which genes/alleles are responsible for the resistance of some populations under stress 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 to speciation?

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