Research group - Marine Evolutionary Ecology

Research group leader Thorsten B. Reusch


Can populations adapt to a changing environment via evolutionary adaptation? Which roles do epigenetic versus genetic/genomic changes play for such adaptation? What is the interaction between ecological compositional changes as response to warming or ocean acidification versus the evolutionary change within populations?
These are the questions our group is addressing, in a variety of systems, that range from phytoplankton, seagrasses, zooplankton species to (commercially important) fish species. Strong ecological interactions such as host-parasite interactions and invasive species in their new habitat are prime examples where evolution-in-action can be observed in real time in the marine realm.


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Britta Meyer
Cornelia Jaspers
Jan Dierking
Christoph Petereit
Ivo Bobsien

Doctoral students

Melanie Heckwolf
Burkhard von Dewitz
Luisa Listmann
Philipp Schubert

Former members of Research Group

Current Projects

Host-microbe interactions at the base of the metazoan tree" (together with Prof. Ruth Schmitz-Streit), within DFG-Collaborative Research programme SFB 1182 "Origin and function of the meta-organism" (Speaker Prof. Thomas Bosch, CAU Kiel)

2013 – 2017 
EU-BONUS-project BIO-C3: "Biodiversity changes: causes, consequences and management implications". Project primary coordination, along with co-coordinator Prof. Fritz Köster DTU Aqua, Denmark, and postdoc Dr. Jan Dierking GEOMAR. Project involves 13 partners from 7 Baltic countries. People involved: PhD students Burkhardt von Dewitz, Felix Mittermayer, Oceanographer Hans-Harald Hinrichsen

2014 – 2016  "Heterogeneity of patterns and processes along biological invasion success", together with PI Dr. Christophe Eizaguirre. Funded by Pan-European Biodiversa call with contribution of DFG, 9 European partner institutes. People involved: Postdoc Dr. Miguel Baltazar-Soares

2014 – 2017 "Baltic Sea marine biodiversity-assessing the potential for adaptation to global change" - BAMBI, coordination Prof. Kerstin Johannesson, in 6 partner institutes from 4 Baltic countries. Leader of Work package 1 (together with postdoc Dr. Britta Meyer): "Comprehensive mapping of population genetic structure and local adaptation using genome-wide sequencing". People involved: PhD student Melanie Heckwolf, Postdoc Dr. Britta Meyer

2015 – 2017  "Management optimization of sea trout populations in the German part of the Baltic Sea", together with Co-PI Dr. Christoph Petereit. Research grant awarded by State Agency for Environment Schleswig-Holstein (LLUR). People involved: Niko Saehn

2013 – 2016 "Fish disease, immunity and sustainable nutrition in aquaculture" (FINE Aqua) Funded by Ministry of Economics of Land Schleswig-Holstein to TR and Dr. Catriona Clemmesen. People involved PhD student Andrea Franke, Postdoc Joanna Miest, junior group leader Dr. Olivia Roth

2014 – 2016  “Eco-Evolutionary coupling in competing phytoplankton communities". Grant through German Science foundation with Co-PI Dr. Birte Matthiessen within priority program DYNATRAIT . People involved: PhD student Luisa Listmann

2015 – 2017  "Single cell genomic insight into phytoplankton-virus interactions" (together with Prof. Ute Hentschel, Dr. Anne Kupcock. Excellence Cluster The Future Ocean mini-proposal grant

2015 – 2017 "The role of hybridization and microbial associations for invasion success in a comb jelly" (together with Dr. Conny Jaspers, Dr. Nancy Weiland-Bräuer). Excellence Cluster The Future Ocean mini-proposal grant

2017 "A meta-analysis of short- versus long-term responses of species to ocean acidification" (together with Prof. Tal Dagan, Univ Kiel). Part of BMBF-BIOACID large consortium phase III

2016 "Modelling the depth distribution of macrophyte populations in the south-western Baltic Sea". Research grant awarded by State Agency for Environment Schleswig-Holstein. People involved Postdoc Ivo Bobsien

Recent key publications