When growing up in the city, going out into nature was always an astonishing experience to me, because of the richness in biological forms I could observe. Consequently, when I first started my studies in biology I was driven by the very same questions which many other ecologists and evolutionary biologists have pondered for a long time, and which are still not fully resolved: Why are there so many species, and how do they continue to coexist and persist? And what are the main mechanisms that shape communities and determine the distribution of life in space and time?
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.