Population genetics of Texas fishes
    (in cooperation with Dr. R. S. King)
    We wish to test hypotheses concerning isolation by distance and the impact of anthropogenic 
    barriers on fish genetic diversity.

    Pictures of the investigated species    

Phylogeny, phylogeography and evolution in the grasshopper genus Sphingonotus s.l.
(in cooperation with PD Dr. Axel Hochkirch, University of Trier, Germany)

Using molecular, morphological (SEM of wing structures, genitalia, wing coloration and pigmentation patterns) and behavioral (song structure) analysis, we studied the evolution, phylogeny and phylogeography of the genus Sphingonotus (Orthoptera, Oedipodinae). We sequenced one nuclear and three mitochondrial genes, reconstructed phylogenetic trees and networks using different statistical methods and plotted morphological characters on the resulting cladograms in order to reconstruct the evolutionary importance of prezygotic isolation mechanisms in this genus. 

Pictures of several investigated Sphingonotus species

Molecular comparison of North American Trimerotropis and Palaearctic Sphingonotus
(in cooperation with Dr. Axel Hochkirch, University of Trier, Germany)
We use mtDNA sequences to compare the two species rich genera Trimerotropis and Sphingonotus. 

Pictures of some species of Trimerotropis

Phylogeography and conservation in the endangered butterfly Lycaena helle
(conducted by Dr. Jan C. Habel, Marc Meyer, Natural History Museum of Luxembourg, Luxembourg, in cooperation with PD Dr. Thomas Schmitt, Bettina Augenstein, University of Trier, Germany & Dr. Frank Zachos, University of Kiel, Germany)

Using microsatellite, allozyme and sequence data, we are studying the life history of the endangered butterfly species Lycaena helle (Lepidoptera, Lycaenidae).  These methods allow us to understand distribution of genetic variation in this species while reconstructing its biogeographic relationships. These data may assist in the conservation of this species. 

Phylogeography of the Bryomdemini grasshoppers from the Altai Mountains in Altai and Tuva regions of Siberia and Phylogeny of the family
(in cooperation with Dr. Jan C. Habel, Natural History Museum Luxembourg, Luxembourg, Dr. Alexander Benediktov, Moscau State University, Russia & Prof. Dr. Michael Sergeev, Natural History Museum St. Petersburg, Russia)

Relatively little is known about the Bryodemini grasshoppers (Orthoptera, Oedipodinae) of the Altai Mountains.  Using one one nuclear and three mitochondrial markers, we are investigating the phylogeography of members of this family.  To achieve a more complete sampling we cooperate with several scientists from Eastern Europe and Asia. 

    Information about some species of Bryodemini grasshoppers

Phylogeographic patterns in the Atlas Mountains in Morocco
(in cooperation with Dr. Jan C. Habel, Natural History Museum Luxembourg, Luxembourg, PD Dr. Thomas Schmitt, University of Trier Germany & Dr. Frank Zachos, University of Kiel, Germany)

The Atlas Mountains in Northern Africa were a glacial refugia during the Pleistocene. As such, they represent an ideal system to study the biogeographic consequences of refugia. We want to unravel general biogeographical patterns of this mountain range. In order to achieve this, we use the butterfly species Parage aegeria (Lepidoptera, Satyrinae), darkling beetles of the genus Pimelia (Coleoptera, Tenebrionidae) and scorpions of the genus Buthus (Scorpiones, Buthidae) as model organisms. Two genes (one nuclear, the other mitochondrial) of each group will be sequenced. The resulting phylogenies will help us to understand the species richness of Pimelia and Buthus and their geographical distribution patterns. 

Patterns of genetic isolation due to geographic separation in oasis at the northern margin of the Saharan desert
(in cooperation with Dr. Jan C. Habel, Natural History Museum Luxembourg, Luxembourg)

A butterfly species, Parage aegeria, and a toad, Bufo viridis, were chosen to analyze the genetic differentiation in isolated oasis habitats. The selected species are bound either to shadow or to water and therefore cannot exist in the open desert; therefore the degree of between population isolation is expected to be high. Mitochondrial and nuclear DNA sequencing were selected to analyze these effects.

Phylogeography of Carabus sylvestris in Central Europe
(conducted by Dr. Claudia Drees, Leuphana University Lueneburg, Germany, in cooperation with Dr. Jan C. Habel, Natural History Museum Luxembourg, Luxembourg and Prof. Dr. Thorsten Assmann, Leuphana University Lueneburg, Germany)

We investigate the biogeography of the ground beetle Carabus sylvestris (Coleoptera, Carabidae) in Central Europe with the two mitochondrial genes ND5 and COI. The results will be compared to allozyme data and niche models.