Altermatt lab – Home


We are part of the Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies at University of Zurich as well as the Department of Aquatic Ecology at Eawag. With our work we want to understand how species occur in space and time, how they interact, and how processes such as species invasions, dispersal or climate change affect natural communities.

Metapopulation and metacommunity theory provide a conceptual framework for our research. We use both an experimental and a comparative approach, and integrate them with theoretical models. Depending on the question, we use a variety of study systems, ranging from protists (microcosm-experiments, see gallery), to aquatic invertebrates (field studies with amphipods, planktonic crustaceans, and freshwater insects), and Lepidoptera. Currently, we are especially interested how asymmetric dispersal and invasions affect diversity and species interactions in riverine systems.

Our research falls into the following categories:

  1. 1)Dispersal, invasive species and biodiversity patterns in dendritic landscapes.

  2. 2)Dispersal dynamics in metapopulations, metacommunities and meta-ecosystems.

  3. 3)Climate change and plant-insect interactions.

  4. 4)Development of environmental DNA (eDNA) as a tool to monitor aquatic biodiversity.

For the official site at University of Zurich, see here.

Welcome to the lab of Florian Altermatt

1) alpine river in the Yosemite National Park 2) adult stonefly (Perla grandis) 3) microcosm experiment with protists 4) the amphipod Gammarus fossarum feeding on leaf litter 5) larva of the Small Eggar (Eriogaster lanestris) feeding on blackthorne  (from top to bottom).

Lab News

  1. Moths evolve to avoid light: paper out in Biology Letters and highlighted in Science

  2. January 2016: Elvira’s eDNA paper out in ES&T incl. cover. congrats!

  3. November 2015: Sereina Gut will be our new Technician, welcome!

  4. Martina Ramel joins our group to do a MSc project. Welcome!

  5. Ecology PhD positions in Zurich. More info here. Apply now.

  6. Our new paper on experimental evidence for strong stabilizing forces at high functional diversity is out in Ecology. pdf

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