We are in the Department of Ecosystem Research at IGB and study a wide range of topics in freshwater biodiversity, ecology, and evolution. Study organisms include aquatic insects (mayflies, mosquitoes, beetles), fungi, fish, diatoms, and microbial communities.

Much of our research is focused on the development and application of genomics approaches for research in rivers, lakes, and wetlands. We therefore play an active role in the Berlin Center for Genomics in Biodiversity Research where our work includes environmental genomics, metabarcoding, whole genomes, phylogenetics, population genetics, marker development, and RNAseq.

I currently lead the “Freshwater Biodiversity Assessment” group within the Biodiversity Cross-cutting Research Domain at IGB, and I am a working group member of the European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) Action “Developing new genetic tools for bioassessment of aquatic ecosystems in Europe” led by Florian Leese.

Current research projects include:

  • FRESHING: Next-generation biomonitoring: freshwater bioassessment and species conservation improved with metagenomics
  • ClimTree: Ecological and socioeconomic impacts of climate-induced tree diebacks in highland forests
  • MycoLink: Linking aquatic fungal diversity to ecosystem functioning (whole-genome sequencing, metabarcoding, marker development, ecosystem metabolism)
  • Impact-Vector: International Graduate School in Multidisciplinary Parasitology and Vector Biology (immune response, RNAseq, marker development)
  • Tatort Gewässer: A nationwide citizen science project exploring the status of  water bodies in Germany (environmental genomics)
  • Mossie-RAD: Population genetics of the mosquito Culex pipiens (RADseq)
  • Stress responses of aquatic insects (mosquitoes, chironomids) to environmental change including artificial light as part of the “Verlust der Nacht” project (RNAseq, gene expression, behavior, reproduction, physiology)
  • FREDIE: Freshwater Diversity Identification for Europe (DNA barcoding, reference databases, marker development)
  • SMART: Erasmus Mundus Joint Doctorate Program (Freie Universität Berlin, Queen Mary University of London, and Università di Trento). “Science for the Management of Rivers and Tidal Systems” (insect ecology and biodiversity, metabarcoding)
  • Colonization of oceanic islands by aquatic insects (whole-genome sequencing, marker development, popgen/phylogenetics)
  • Environmental genomics of lakes and rivers in Germany, Namibia, and Mongolia (metabarcoding, metagenomics, sediment core experiments)
  • Population genetics of aquatic insects (mayflies, water beetles, mosquitoes) and the effects of habitat type on dispersal (popgen, phylogenetics)
  • Sympatric speciation in vendace and cisco populations (Coregonus)(RADseq, popgen)


Research funding comes from the following organizations: