Michael Mitschke, BA

Room 513

My broad interests include various topics of ecology, conservation, and population genetics. Currently, I investigate the impact of anthropogenic environmental change on the genetic composition of populations.

Eutrophication, the enrichment of nutrients, is one of the major anthropogenic stressors for freshwater ecosystems. Lago di Varese, an originally mesotrophic peri-Alpine lake in northern Italy, has faced eutrophication since about 1950 and reached a hypereutrophic state in 1970. Due to successful measures, the trophic state has been recovering since about 1980, and the lake is now eutrophic. Nevertheless, the changes had huge impacts on the organisms inhabiting Lago di Varese, including water fleas from the Daphnia longispina complex. Daphnia are planktonic grazers and play an important role in lentic food webs. The three species of the Daphnia longispina complex have different trophic preferences and hybridize with each other. All three species are known to have occurred in Lago di Varese.

The goal of my master´s thesis is to investigate temporal patterns of species composition, hybridization, and introgression using whole-genome sequencing from Daphnia resting eggs in the context of extreme trophic shifts.

Research topics
Behavioural ecology
Population genetics and genomics
Speciation and gene flow

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