Evolution of Animals with focus on Amphibians and Fish


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Home – Research Interests

Welcome to the webpage of Matthias Stöck and collaborators at the Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB) in Berlin. See the links on the menu above for more information. I have broad interests in evolution, molecular ecology, speciation genetics and genomics, phylogeography, biodiversity, behavior and systematics, especially, but not only, of vertebrates. Current research reveals a great role for reticulate evolution enabled by interspecies/interpopulation interactions and hybridization in animals. This is changing our insights into the origin of the diversity of genes, genomes and phenotypes, and their relation to environment and evolution. To understand the processes that generate biodiversity, my research includes organismal, genetic and genomic topics to examine evolution, among others through hybridization and allopolyploidization in a phylogenetic framework. 
I am addressing these questions in selected vertebrate systems (mainly frogs and fish) on different spatial and temporal scales. My research also touches a variety of exciting evolutionary questions as the consequences of genome and gene duplication, evolutionary genetics of hybridization with the interplay of two or more foreign genomes in one nucleus and one organism, the evolution of sex and recombination, the occurrence or absence of meiosis, mitochondrial evolution as co-evolution with the nucleus, hybrid fertility and fitness, and ultimately hybrid speciation and evolution. This stimulates pleasant interdisciplinary collaborations. A major  topic, supported by a research grant of the German Research Foundation (DFG), and a Heisenberg-Fellowship from 2012 to 2017, is molecular genetic research on the sex determination systems in anurans, especially bufonid and hylid frogs. We have developed phylogeographic frameworks (including the discovery of so far unrecognized lineages) that allow studying and dating the molecular evolution of sex-linked markers in several taxa, and their interaction in secondary contacts. We are going to characterize the linkage groups that gave rise to the sex chromosomes of several hylid and bufonid frogs. In collaboration with experts at the IGB, Department V, we are currently applying this research comparatively to ecotoxicological questions, such as endocrine disruption in non-model (tree frogs Hyla, green toads Bufo) vs. model species (clawed frogs, Xenopus), with the long term goal of deriving pollution thresholds to protect the environment. Since XII/2017, I am coordinating the STURGEoNOMICS project at the IGB.

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