Prof. Dr. Florian Altermatt

Associate Professor of Aquatic Ecology, University of Zurich and Eawag

I’m interested in linking community ecology processes, such as species-interactions and dispersal, with biodiversity and ecosystem functioning at larger, regional scales. Much of my interest is on metacommunity and meta-ecosystem dynamics in dendritic, river-like networks.

Besides my interest in conceptual community ecology, I’m also a keen naturalist. My pleasures are–as Vladimir Nabokov said once–the most intense known to man: writing and butterfly hunting (with the camera).

Dr. Roman Alther

Oberassistent / Senior Research Assistant, University of Zurich and Eawag

As an Oberassistent/Senior research assistant in the Altermatt lab, I’m involved in teaching, supervision, and many of the lab’s research activities. My research focuses on amphipod systematics and faunistics, both in epigean and subterranean ecosystems, with a focus on Switzerland. Amphipods as model organisms help me to gain a deeper insight into processes forming biodiversity patterns over time and space. More specifically, dendritic aquatic systems represent a suitable study system wherein different ecological and evolutionary mechanics, such as dispersal, invasion and speciation, can be studied. Subterranean habitats are unique ecosystems with a long-lasting evolutionary history and interesting both from a biogeographic and ecosystem functioning perspective, but currently under anthropogenic stress.

Eva Cereghetti

PhD student, Eawag

I am a PhD student with a keen interest in meta-ecosystem dynamics and the functional role of species. My work in the Altermatt Lab focuses on material and energy flows of leaf litter in headwater catchments, especially focusing on cross-system transfer of this dead organic material and its decomposition within terrestrial and aquatic environments. Additionally, I investigate spatial and temporal changes in amphipod communities and their contribution to the decomposition of leaves. My aim is to use long-term empirical data to demonstrate how these ecological processes consist of individual aspects with unique seasonal dynamics, yet ultimately all linked to each other.

Dr. Marjorie Couton

Postdoc, Eawag

My main research interests are linked to molecular ecology. I have always been interested in using DNA to get information on ecosystems at the individual level (species detection), at the population level (population genetics) or at the community level (diversity assessments). During my PhD, I used molecular tools such as metabarcoding to detect introduced species in ports and marinas and to evaluate their contribution to marine communities. Now, my goal is to assess the diversity and distribution of groundwater amphipods across Switzerland. I plan to apply metabarcoding techniques to environmental DNA from groundwater samples in order to characterize the amphipod diversity in these environments but also to assess groundwater biodiversity in a broader perspective.

Prof. Dr. Cene Fišer

Assistant Professor, University of Ljubljana

I am studying phenotype diversity and diversification within the subterranean amphipod genus Niphargus. A part of my research is dedicated to the on-going taxonomic revision of the genus, the other part to studying mechanisms underlying its evolutionary radiation.

Mara Knüsel

PhD student, Eawag

With a research background in ecology and zoology I am interested in the distribution of species, both spatially and temporally, and the underlying drivers. As a PhD student in the Altermatt lab, I investigate the occurrence of groundwater amphipods in Swiss drinking water wells. The objective of my research is to provide baseline data about the nationwide distribution and diversity of amphipod species in the groundwater. With this knowledge I aim to contribute to a deeper understanding of the biodiversity in aquatic hypogean ecosystems.

Team alumni