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Ecological speciation in stickleback

English title Ecological speciation in stickleback
Applicant Matthews Blake
Number 139326
Funding scheme Project funding
Research institution Aquatische Umweltanalytik EAWAG
Institution of higher education Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology - EAWAG
Main discipline Ecology
Start/End 01.05.2012 - 30.04.2016
Approved amount 180'000.00
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Keywords (8)

host-parasite coevolution; eco-evolutionary dynamics; ecological speciation; biodiversity; stickleback; genomics; environmental change; eutrophication

Lay Summary (English)

Lay summary
The central theme of this project is to understand how environmental change affects the ecological and evolutionary processes that maintain biodiversity. In particular, we focus on how nutrient pollution of freshwater environments (eutrophication) can affect interactions between parasites and their hosts. We use threespine stickleback in lakes and streams as our model system, and will examine how parasite communities vary along a gradient of lake productivity and how this covaries with the immune system function of stickleback. In recent years there has been substantial progress in understanding the genetic architecture and variation of the stickleback immune system, particularly in relation to fitness variation among individuals and to variation in mate choice decisions. Here, we propose to do a suite of experiments, in freshwater mesocosms, to test how genetic variation in the immune system of stickleback influences host-parasite interactions under different levels of nutrient productivity. We anticipate that this work will shed light on how natural and sexual selection are jointly mediated by parasites and environmental conditions.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants


Name Institute


The association of feeding behaviour with the resistance and tolerance to parasites in recently diverged sticklebacks
Anaya-Rojas Jaime (2016), The association of feeding behaviour with the resistance and tolerance to parasites in recently diverged sticklebacks, in Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 29(11), 2157-2167.
Experimental evidence that parasites drive eco-evolutionary feedbacks
Brunner Franziska, Experimental evidence that parasites drive eco-evolutionary feedbacks, in PNAS, 1--.


Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Christophe Eizaguirre / QMUL Germany (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
- Exchange of personnel

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
ESEB 2015 Lausanne, CH Poster The role of parasitism and environmental change in ecosystems during stickleback adaptive radiations 10.08.2015 Lausanne, Switzerland Anaya-Rojas Jaime;
Biology 15 Poster Ecosystem consequences of parasitism and nutrinets loading during an adaptive radiation 11.02.2015 Eawag, Switzerland Matthews Blake; Anaya-Rojas Jaime;

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
157750 Cluster of sondes for the high-resolution analysis of aquatic ecosystems 01.12.2014 R'EQUIP
175614 Eco-evolutionary dynamics in aquatic ecosystems 01.02.2018 Project funding