Head of Division
Prof. Dr. Ole Seehausen

Therese Oesch
Institute of Ecology & Evolution
Baltzerstrasse 6
CH-3012 Bern

Tel. +41 (0)31 631 30 09

Universität Bern


Open positions:

PhD-Student in Whitefish Speciation Genomics


Catherine Wagner has been awarded the Theodosius Dobzhansky Prize of the Society for the Study of Evolution. With this prize the Society honours the most promising young scientists for their accomplishments. Katie has received the prize for her research into speciation processes in African cichlids. Congratulations Katie!

Recent publication highlights:

Genomics of Divergence along a Continuum of Parapatric Population Differentiation in PLoS Genet 11
Feulner etal (pdf)


The genomic substrate for adaptive radiation in African cichlid fish
Brawand etal (pdf)

cover_nature 513


Individual Trait Variation and Diversity in Food Webs, In: Jordi Moya-
Laraño, Jennifer Rowntree and Guy Woodward, editors, Advances in Ecological Research, Vol. 50 
Melian etal (pdf)


Genomics and the origin of species
Seehausen etal (pdf)



Universität Bern



We study ecology, evolution and biodiversity of aquatic organisms, mostly fish, their prey and their predators. We are mostly concernd with evolutionary and ecological diversity dynamics. We wish to understand variation between evolutionary lineages in their rates and mechanisms of evolutionary diversification, in their current diversity, and in the rates of loss of diversity. This includes the origins, maintenance and loss of adaptive divergence between populations, of polymorphisms within populations, and of new species and macroevolutionary diversity.

Ultimately, we like to understand how origin, maintenance and loss of biodiversity are affected by environmental variation, heterogeneity and change. To this end we apply methods from experimental and quantitative ecology, behaviour, morphology, molecular population genetics and phylogenetics. Our main model systems are adaptive radiations of fish, such as the cichlid fish in the great lakes of Africa, the coregonids (whitefish) in the prealpine lake system, and the different ecotypes and geographical varieties of trouts, char and stickleback.

We also study applied fish ecology in the context of management and revitalisation of running waters, effects of hydropower management schemes on habitat connectivity and population dynamics, impacts of hormon-active substances at population level, and methodology for assessing and monitoring river quality. 

Our research team is located at the CEEB Center in Kastanienbaum and the Institute of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Berne, Switzerland