Head of Division
Prof. Dr. Ole Seehausen

Susanne Maurer
Institute of Ecology & Evolution
Baltzerstrasse 6
CH-3012 Bern

Tel. +41 (0)31 631 30 09

Universität Bern

Homepage Marcel Haesler


Lab manager warmwater aquarium and molecular genetics in Bern

Research interests

I am interested in the origin and evolution of biodiversity and the diverse reproductive behaviours of fishes. The diversity of colours, shapes and reproductive behaviours and strategies in fishes is astonishing. I am also interested in importance of sexual selection for speciation, how mating preferences evolve, lekking mating systems, multiple mating and the maintenance of genetic variation in the face of directional selection (“lek paradox”).

Fishes provide several ideal systems to study speciation processes and the evolution of adaptive radiations as they are the most speciose clade of vertebrates. We are currently using Lake Victoria haplochromine cichlids and sticklebacks as model systems to study speciation processes and invasion biology. Specifically, we are interested in finding out where the more than 500 species of the Lake Victoria species flock originated from and what causes them to diverge so rapidly more than any other fish species in the same lake in a very short period of time (15,000 years).

Sticklebacks have invaded all of the midlands of Switzerland in the last 150 years and diverged into an astonishing diversity in morphology (e.g. size, plate numbers and sizes, gill rakers) and also nuptial colour. We are currently developing a research program combining invasion biology and adaptive radiations.

Curriculum Vitae

August 2008 – present research technician in the division of “Aquatic Ecology and Macroevolution” with Prof. Ole Seehausen, in the Institute of Ecology
and Evolution at the University of Bern, Switzerland

July 2007 –July 2008 Post-doc project studying patterns of multiple paternity in Lake Malawi cichlids (together with Dr. Mairi Knight and Dr. Martin Genner) at the University of Plymouth, UK.

Okt 2003 –June 2007 PhD student at University of Bern, Switzerland
Fertilization mechanisms and multiple mating in a mouthbrooding cichlid from Lake Tanganyika, East Africa; Thesis advisor: Prof. Michael Taborsky

2005 Field work at Lake Malawi for one month with Drs. D. Joyce, M. Genner & K. Young on "Sexual selection and speciation in bower building cichlids"
Field work at Lake Tanganyika fo three months for my PhD

2002 - 2003 Fieldwork at Lake Victoria for Martine Maan (5 months) at TAFIRI (Tanzanian Fisheries Research Institute) in Mwanza, Tanzania

2001 - 2002 Masters thesis on "Inheritance of female mating preferences in a Lake Victoria cichlid at the University of Hull, UK; thesis advisor: Dr. Ole Seehausen

1996 - 2002 studying Biology at the University of Basel, Switzerland