Ecological speciation and polymorphism in postglacial fishes

The main research objectives are related to the mechanisms that underlie the incipient diversification process that causes polymorphism in postglacial fish through ecological speciation. The mechanisms are often associated with trophic adaptations in behaviour and morphology which occur frequently along resource gradients in the pelagic-benthic axis. We combine field studies (ecology and life-history traits) with molecular tools and experimental studies. The reasons for the origin of resource polymorphisms range from allopatric divergence under geographical isolation during the last Ice Age, to divergent natural selection in sympatry. Species pairs of European whitefish Coregonus lavaretus and Arctic charr Salvelinus alpinus are excellent model species as they have large plasticity in phenotypic and life-history traits and strong niche diversifications. Postglacial lakes are unique hotspots for studying early evolution processes as they are young in evolutionary time (<12,000 years), replicated, discrete, but variable entities in the landscape, pristine systems with vacant niches and low species packing, and frequently inhabited by sympatric fish morphs.

Contact person: Rune Knudsen.


             Contact person: Shripathi Bhat

             Contact person: Marianne Simonsen