My research focuses on gaining a mechanistic understanding of species interactions in aquatic microbial systems, including the evolution and ecology of these interactions. We use different experimental systems and the tools of experimental evolution (such as long-term culturing studies) and combine these with mathematical modeling and genome analyses. These studies allow us to follow adaptive evolution within microbial populations in real time. The ability to manipulate experimental conditions makes these long-term studies a great method to test for the conditions that favor evolution of species interactions such as resistance against viruses or parasitism.
Experimental evolution studies have proven to be extremely useful for unraveling the conditions, mechanisms and ecological consequences of major evolutionary transitions. These approaches can change the way we think about the evolution of symbioses: from individuals autonomously surviving in their environment to mutualistic interactions.
Symbiosis in Aquatic Systems
University of Konstanz, Limnological Institute, Department of Biology