Evolutionsbiologie / Evolutionary Biology

Bewilligungen / Grants 2007

Doktorandenstipendium "Genetic and spatial distribution of fire salamanders (Salamandra salamandra) during an early stage of adaptive differentiation" 

Bewilligung: 24.08.2007 Laufzeit: 3 Jahre

With this PhD fellowship mechanisms of adaptive (sympatric) speciation will be studied in a population of fire salamanders in a confined forest area near Bonn. Previous genetically and ecologically based studies have shown that the fire salamanders in this area have differentiated into two different genetic clusters due to ecological adaptation. One type prefers streams as larval habitats, whereas the other reproduces in ponds. Reciprocal transplantation experiments with Salamander larvae between both habitat types will indicate the strength of differential selection and the motivation to split. Furthermore, a fine structure analysis of the spatial distribution of the genotypes of adult Salamanders with transmitters in combination of GIS analysis will provide data about movement patterns of both ecotypes. The results of this project (differential selection and spatial distribution) are an important contribution to understand the adaptive differentiation process that is happening at the moment in the Kottenforst and will be important to understand the process of adaptive speciation in terrestrial vertebrates. 

Universität Bielefeld
Lehrstuhl für Verhaltensforschung
Ralf Hendrix

Universität Bielefeld
Lehrstuhl Verhaltensforschung
Molekulare Ökologie und Verhalten
Dr. Sebastian Steinfartz

Zoologisches Forschungsinstitut und Museum Alexander Koenig, Bonn
Sektion Herpetologie
Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Böhme

Ansprechpartner:
Universität Bielefeld
Lehrstuhl für Verhaltensforschung
Ralf Hendrix
Morgenbreede 45
33615 Bielefeld
Tel.: 0521 1062653

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Ausbildungskonzept "Integrated approaches to teach and study the role of evolution for the emergence of biological complexity" 

Bewilligung: 20.06.2007 Laufzeit: 3 Jahre

The goal of this concept at the University of Münster is to strengthen the teaching of evolution on the BSc level and to establish a special study program "Evolutionary Biology" within the current Master of Science in Biology. The development of the curriculum will be arranged in close cooperation with the Biological School and the Centre of Evolutionary and Ecological Studies (CEES) at the University of Groningen/Netherlands, with the mid-term vision of a "double diploma" acknowledged by both universities. The funds provided will be used to (1) establish a Media Lab in collaboration with the Didactics of Biology Division which will allow to teach the principles of evolution in an easy to grasp fashion, (2) to initiate the "Bernhard Rensch Summer School on Evolutionary Biology" for students from Münster, Groningen and abroad and to (3) establish a junior professorship in Molecular Evolution. This group,led by Dr. Ignacio Bravo,will complement teaching activities to aspects of molecular and experimental evolution. Altogether, these activities will lead to a comprehensive, interdisciplinary setup in the field of evolutionary biology at an international level. 

Universität Münster
FB Biologie
School of Biological Sciences
Prof. Dr. Norbert Sachser
Hindenburgplatz 55
48143 Münster
Tel.: 0251 8323012
Fax: 0251 8323896
Universität Münster

FB Biologie
Institut für Evolution und Biodiversität
Prof. Dr. Erich Bornberg-Bauer
Schlossplatz 4
48149 Münster
Tel.: 0251 8321630
Fax: 0251 8321631

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Postdoktorandenstipendium "Whole genome sequencing 'Candidatus Streptomyces philanthi', an endosymbiotic actinomycete from the antennae of Philanthus digger wasps (Hymenoptera, Crabronidae)" 

Bewilligung: 03.04.2007 Laufzeit: 3 Jahre

Symbiotic interactions are of great evolutionary and ecological importance for any organism. Female beewolves (solitary digger wasps of the genus Philanthus, Hymenoptera: Crabronidae) cultivate bacteria of the recently described species 'Candidates Streptomyces philanthi' in unique antennal gland reservoirs and deliver them into the brood cell. The larva transfers the bacteria to its cocoon, where they provide protection against fungal infestation. It is planned to sequence, assemble and annotate the genome of 'Candidates Streptomyces philanthi'. The genome sequence will provide detailed information on the metabolic abilities of the beewolf symbionts, especially on the production of antibiotics for the protection of the beewolf offspring against pathogen infestation, which might prove valuable for human medicine. By comparison with publicly available genomes of other insect symbionts as well as with free-living Streptomyces species, changes in genome size, architecture, nucleotide and codon usage can be detected as a response towards the symbiotic life-style. These results will shed light on the evolutionary and genomic consequences of insect-bacteria symbioses. 

Universität Regensburg
Institut für Zoologie
Dr. Martin Kaltenpoth

University of Utah
Dept. of Biology
21 Life Science Building
Prof. Dr. Colin Dale
USA

Universität Regensburg
Zoologisches Institut
Prof. Dr. Erhard Strohm

Ansprechpartner:
Universität Regensburg
Institut für Zoologie
Dr. Martin Kaltenpoth
Postfach
93040 Regensburg
Tel.: 0941 9433057
Fax: 0941 9433325

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Postdoktorandenstipendium "Evolutionary consequences of an urbanizing world"

Bewilligung: 03.04.2007  Laufzeit:  3 Jahre

Das Vorhaben wurde am 04.02.2009 von Seewiesen bei Starnberg nach Radolfzell umgesetzt.

The human impact in the global biosphere now controls many major facets of ecosystem function. One of the most striking man-made environmental changes is the existence and rapidly ongoing spread of urban areas. Human ecological impact has enormous evolutionary consequences as well and can greatly accelerate evolutionary change in the species around us. It is well established that urban areas have been successfully colonized by animals. However, less is known about the extent to which urbanization causes micro-evolutionary changes in animals thriving in urban areas. In a combined laboratory/field study on European blackbirds (Turdus merula)  the hypothesis will be tested, whether urban life changes the general behavioural disposition (similar to the personality types in humans) and the underlying physiological coping mechanisms (e. g. stress physiology) of blackbirds. In the laboratory it will simultaneously be studied whether the observed differences between urban and rural blackbirds are the result of (1) micro-evolutionary changes that have evolved during the urbanization process, or of (2) phenotypic plasticity of individuals experiencing different environmental conditions. The results of this project will extend the knowledge of the ecological and evolutionary consequences of the rapidly urbanizing world.

Max-Planck-Institut für Ornithologie, Andechs und Radolfzell
Vogelwarte Radolfzell
Schloß Möggingen
Dr. Jesko Partecke
Schloßallee 2
78315 Radolfzell
Tel.: 07732 1501
Fax: 07732 1501 65

Max-Planck-Institut für Ornithologie, Andechs und Radolfzell
Abt. Verhaltensökologie und Evolutionäre Genetik
Direktor
Prof. Dr. Bart Willem Kempenaers
Postfach 1564
82305 Seewiesen bei Starnberg
Tel.: 08157 932 334
Fax: 08157 932 400
Homepage: www.orn.mpg.de

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Postdoktorandenstipendium "Plasticity and constraint in the evolution of development: Has the aquatic larval stage re-evolved in plethodontid salamanders?" 

Bewilligung: 03.04.2007 Laufzeit: 3 Jahre

Dollo's Law states that complex structures are unlikely to be regained in the same form, once they are lost during evolution. This notion has been seriously challenged recently by studies indicating a re-evolution of an aquatic larva from direct developing ancestors in plethodontid salamanders. While the phylogenetic evidence seems compelling, there is presently little understanding of the evolutionary and developmental mechanisms that would enable such a re-evolution. This project is an investigation of the development of plethodontid salamanders to study the evolution of direct development in plethodontids and to investigate mechanisms leading to its potential reversal. To this end, whole-mount immunostaining, confocal laser scanning microscopy, micro-CT scanning, computerized 3D reconstruction and other techniques will be employed to investigate the development of the head skeleton and associated musculature, as a particularly rich source of relevant characters. Investigating the developmental processes involved will further the understanding of the role played by development in mediating evolutionary diversification in general. 

Universität Jena
Institut für Spezielle Zoologie und Evolutionsbiologie mit Phyletischem Museum
Dr. Hendrik Müller

Universität Jena
Institut für Spezielle Zoologie und Evolutionsbiologie mit Phyletischem  Museum
Prof. Dr. Lennart Olsson

Harvard University, Boston/Cambridge
Museum of Comparative Zoology
Herpetology Department MCZ 109C
Prof. Dr. James Hanken
USA

Ansprechpartner:
Universität Jena
Institut für Spezielle Zoologie und Evolutionsbiologie mit Phyletischem Museum
Dr. Hendrik Müller
Ebertstraße 1
07743 Jena
Tel.: 03641 949160

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Doktorandenstipendium "Identification and characterization of genes and regulatory elements under local natural selection in modern humans" 

Bewilligung: 21.03.2007 Laufzeit: 3 Jahre

The Out-of-Africa Model of Human Evolution finds the origins of modern humans in East Africa. During their spread across the globe during the last 100,000 years, human populations were exposed to new environments, unfamiliar diets and different diseases. From an evolutionary point of view this implies that local natural selection likely has contributed substantially to the present distribution of human genetic diversity. Part of this diversity, namely in populations of African, European and Asian ancestry, has recently been captured by the "International HapMap Project". Its analysis promises to be key in the search for signs of local positive selection in the human genome. Based on these new data, a set of promising new candidate genes and regulatory regions have been identified. These candidate loci are associated with conceivably locally selected traits (including skin differences, nutrition and disease) and shall be tested rigorously for signs of recent selection within this PhD project at the University Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona. After initial genotyping and statistical tests for positive selection, both association studies and initial functional studies are planned for the most promising candidates. 

Universität Konstanz
Haushaltsabteilung
Haushalt - Forschungsförderung
Johannes Engelken

Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona
Evolutionary Research Unit
Dr. Elena Bosch
SPANIEN

Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona
Evolutionary Research Unit
Prof. Dr. Jaume Bertranpetit
SPANIEN

Max-Planck-Institut für evolutionäre Anthropologie, Leipzig
Department of Evolutionary Genetics
Prof. Dr. Mark Stoneking

Ansprechpartner:
Universität Konstanz
Haushaltsabteilung
Haushalt - Forschungsförderung
Johannes Engelken
Universitätsstraße 10
78464 Konstanz
Tel.: 07531 88 2298

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Doktorandenstipendium "Dynamics of phylogeographic patterns: phylogeography of the Eurasian beaver from the late Pleistocene and Holocene" 

Bewilligung: 19.03.2007 Laufzeit: 3 Jahre

Molecular studies on the Eurasian beaver, Castor fiber, revealed a remarkable genetic structure of recent populations. Thus, deeper knowledge about the causative evolutionary processes is needed to understand how this phylogeographic pattern evolved. For the first time, analyses of both, ancient and modern DNA of the Eurasian beaver will provide essential knowledge about long term population dynamics. By analysing fossil remains of extinct populations, the genetic history of the beaver will be traced throughout the past of many thousands of years. It is planned to address the following fundamental issues with the ancient DNA analyses: (1) Phylogeographic patterns of Pleistocene and Holocene beaver populations will be analysed, to retrace the development of the pattern observed today. (2) Genetic diversity levels of beaver populations will be compared throughout time. Thus, supposed bottleneck effects and anthropogenic influences can be evaluated. Combined with microsatellite typing of recent beaver populations, crucial insights into underlying evolutionary processes are expected. 

Max-Planck-Institut für evolutionäre Anthropologie, Leipzig
Abt. für Evolutionäre Genetik
Susanne Horn

Max-Planck-Institut für evolutionäre Anthropologie, Leipzig
Abt. für Evolutionäre Genetik
Dr. Michael Hofreiter

Helmholtz-Zentrum für Umweltforschung - UFZ, Standort Halle
Dept. Community Ecology
Dr. Stefan Klotz

Ansprechpartner:
Max-Planck-Institut für evolutionäre Anthropologie, Leipzig
Abt. für Evolutionäre Genetik
Susanne Horn
Deutscher Platz 6
04103 Leipzig
Tel.: 0341 3550523

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Doktorandenstipendium "The evolution of acoustic identity traits - begging calls in colonial weaver birds" 

Bewilligung: 19.03.2007 Laufzeit: 3 Jahre

Intra-specific variation in signalling traits offers an elegant opportunity for investigating and understanding selection and adaptation in nature. Most research has interpreted signal evolution in relation to condition or quality of the bearer, whereas alternative explanations, in particular identity signalling, have largely been neglected. Here it is planned to investigate the role of identity signalling in begging calls of chicks in colonially breeding Weavers. Chicks' vocalizations communicate information relevant for both offspring recognition and indication of body condition thereby offering an ideal system to study proximate and ultimate causes in variation of acoustic multi-component signals. This project employs experimental field studies investigating variation of begging call components as well as mechanisms of recognition by the parents in combination with extensive genetic analyses in order to separate these two potential sources of variation. This research will broaden the knowledge of the evolutionary value of phenotypic variation as well as enhance the understanding of animal and human communication. 

Max-Planck-Institut für Ornithologie, Andechs und Radolfzell
Abt. Verhaltensökologie und Evolutionäre Genetik
Hendrik Reers
Postfach 1564
82305 Starnberg (Seewiesen)
Tel.: 08157 932 329

Max-Planck-Institut für Ornithologie, Andechs und Radolfzell
Abt. Verhaltensökologie und Evolutionäre Genetik
Direktor Prof. Dr. Bart Willem Kempenaers
Postfach 1564
82305 Seewiesen bei Starnberg
Tel.: 08157 932 334
Fax: 08157 932 400
Homepage: http://www.orn.mpg.de

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Doktorandenstipendium "Evolutionary biology of the Large Blue Butterflies Maculinea nausithous and M. teleius: analyses across their distributional range and implications for the species' status" 

Bewilligung: 19.03.2007 Laufzeit: 3 Jahre

The goal of this project is to investigate whether different populations of Maculinea nausithous and M. teleius can be identified as cryptic species. The highly endangered populations of M. nausithous and M. teleius are small and fragmented; individuals have a high spatial fidelity and long distance migrations are rare. Consequently, the gene flow between populations is low and the evolution of reproduction isolating barriers is possible leading to the possible evolution of new species. The probability of intraspecific divergence between populations at the species- and population-levels is enhanced because of the unique adaptation of the Maculinea-species on certain ant species of the genus Myrmica: the Maculinea larvae parasitize ant nests and predate the brood. Within this study the host-ant specificity and the parasite-host (i.e. butterfly-ant) compatibility among at least four populations along a palaearctic transect will be examined. The intention is to generate an intraspecific phylogeny and investigate genetic variability by using DNA barcoding and microsatellite genotyping. If populations are indeed identified as cryptic species, this would have a high impact on the conservation of these particular species. 

Helmholtz-Zentrum für Umweltforschung - UFZ, Standort Leipzig
Dept. Biozönoseforschung
Sylvia Ritter
Theodor-Lieser-Straße 4
06120 Halle
Tel.: 0345 5585320

Helmholtz-Zentrum für Umweltforschung - UFZ, Standort Leipzig
Dept. Biozönoseforschung
Head of Animal Ecology
Privatdozent Dr. Josef Settele
Theodor-Lieser-Straße 4
06120 Halle
Tel.: 0345 5585320
Fax: 0345 5585329

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Postdoktorandenstipendium "Adaptation to biotic and abiotic stress in wild tomato species" 

Bewilligung: 19.03.2007 Laufzeit: 2 Jahre

Plants are exposed to abiotic stress (e.g. temperature fluctuations, drought, variation in soil quality, and UV radiation) as well as biotic stress (e.g. intra- and interspecific competition for resources and attack by pathogens and herbivores). Wild tomato species which originated in western South America and the Galapagos Islands are found in a wide range of habitats. The goal of this project is to study the evolution of "candidate genes" involved in three traits: cold adaptation, drought tolerance and resistance to pathogens. Analyses of DNA sequences of candidate genes from a collection of plants across different habitats will be used to determine the strength and form of natural selection operating at these loci. The specific goals are to develop new tests to detect natural selection, taking into account the natural history of wild tomatoes including population subdivision and recurrent gene flow between these incipient species. 

Universität München
Evolutionsbiologie Dept. Biologie II
Dr. Aurelien Tellier
Großhadernerstraße 2
82152 Planegg-Martinsried
Tel.: 089 21807 4102
Fax: 089 21807 4104

Universität München
Evolutionsbiologie
Dept. Biologie II
Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Stephan
Grosshadernerstraße 2
82152 Planegg-Martinsried
Tel.: 089 21807 4103
Fax: 089 21807 4104
Homepage: http://www.zi.biologie.uni-muenchen.de/evol

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Doktorandenstipendium "Studies on the evolution of complex natural products biosynthetic pathways on the basis of Taxolbiosynthesis in plants and endophytic fungi" 

Bewilligung: 19.03.2007 Laufzeit: 3 Jahre

The aim of the project is to examine the evolutionary origin of the biosynthetic pathway of the diterpenoide natural product Taxol. In this context the focus lies on the investigation of gene transfer processes between evolutionary distantly related species. Therefore, the production of Taxol in plants, Taxus spp., as well as in endophytic fungi like Taxomyces andreanae, an endophyte isolated from the inner bark of the pacific yew Taxus brevifolia, provides an excellent model system. Through identification and characterisation of the biosynthetic genes from Taxomyces andreanae and following comparison with the known sequences of these genes from Taxus brevifolia insight about the evolution of the biosynthetic pathway of Taxol shall be gained. Furthermore, the arrangement of the genes on the genome will be studied to analyse if they exist as a biosynthetic gene cluster and to get information about possible gene transfer processes during evolution. Thus this unique system Taxus/Taxus endophyte provides the possibility to look inside the world of secondary metabolism and its evolution.

Fraunhofer-Institut für Molekularbiologie und Angewandte Ökologie (IME), Aachen
Forschungsleiter Industrielle Biotechnologie
Uwe Heinig
Forckenbeckstraße 6
52074 Aachen
Tel.: 0241 6085 12121

Fraunhofer-Institut für Molekularbiologie und Angewandte Ökologie (IME), Aachen
Forschungsleiter Industrielle Biotechnologie
Dr. Stefan Jennewein
Forckenbeckstraße 6
52074 Aachen
Tel.: 0241 6085 12121
Fax: 0241 6085 010000

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Doktorandenstipendium "Detecting genomic signatures of positive selection in structured populations" 

Bewilligung: 19.03.2007 Laufzeit: 3 Jahre

The advent of high-throughput DNA sequencing technologies, together with the increasing computer power and the development of sophisticated statistical models constitutes the basis for the ability to detect genomic regions that have been targeted by natural selection in the recent past. The distribution of DNA polymorphisms in the genomes of all living organisms reveals the evolutionary history of these species and provides important information about the genomic footprints of selection. This project aims to explore the signatures of positive directional selection in populations with substructure. Statistical and computational methods will be developed in order to detect the polymorphisms that are subject to past natural selection and to discern them from polymorphisms that are influenced exclusively by stochastic forces such as genetic drift and demography. Importantly, these methods will explicitly take population structure into account, an issue that, although biologically relevant, has been neglected in most currently available statistical tests. 

Universität München
Evolutionsbiologie
Dept. Biologie II
Pavlos Pavlidis
Grosshadernerstraße 2
82152 Planegg-Martinsried
Tel.: 089 21807 4103

Universität München
Evolutionsbiologie
Dept. Biologie II
Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Stephan
Grosshadernerstraße 2
82152 Planegg-Martinsried
Tel.: 089 21807 4103
Fax: 089 21807 4104
Homepage: http://www.zi.biologie.uni-muenchen.de/evol 

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