Genetic model organisms provide experimental platforms for studies on the molecular principles of complex biological processes. Common features of these organisms include a short life cycle, cellular and molecular manipulability, and the ability to carry out relatively simply genetic analyses of complex functions

© B. Zeis

In our research we utilize the planktonic microcrustacean Daphnia. We focus on the analysis of gene function and the elucidation of the organization, integration and control of protein networks that give rise to specific biological processes. Particularly, we are interested in the molecular principles of environmental adaptation and acclimatization both within the tolerable range of environmental variation and at the tolerance limits, at which cellular stress responses are triggered. During these studies, we pursue an integrative approach, which combines analyses on the molecular, cellular and organismic level and considers ecological and evolutionary aspects. Methods and techniques utilized during these studies include tools from protein biochemistry (e.g. proteomics, chromatography and electrophoresis techniques, enzyme and metabolite analyses), physiology (e.g. optophysiology (video microscopy) and standard techniques of animal physiology), ecology (e.g. genetic and morphological characterization of Daphnia populations, microcosm experiments) and evolutionary biology (laboratory selection experiments).