Tania Holtzem, MSc
T +43 (0)512 507-51773
My main research interests lie in the area of invertebrate zoology, comparative genomics, computational biology and molecular ecology. I am particularly interested in how the exchange of genetic material affects the genetic composition and consequently the ecological function of individuals, populations and species. In my PhD project, which is part of the EU INTERREG SEEWANDEL research initiative, I investigate the genomic and functional resilience of the water flea populations of the genus Daphnia in three peri-Alpine lakes (Lake Constance, Lake Zurich and Lake Walen) that have undergone different states of eutrophication and oligotrophication. The planktonic grazers Daphnia represent a major food source for fish and invertebrate predators; thus, they are considered as keystone species within the trophic network of lentic systems. During the eutrophication period, several peri-Alpine lakes have experienced events of hybridization between the native species D. longispina mostly adapted to oligotrophic environments and the invasive species D. galeata favoring eutrophic conditions. Here, the goal of my research project is to identify and quantify the effects of gene-flow on population fitness, their function in the ecosystem, and the evolutionary and adaptive potential of these keystone species. To achieve this, I will combine fieldwork and wet laboratory experiments with bioinformatics.
Population genetics and genomics
Speciation and gene flow