Evolutionary Biology
Schärer Group
Group Members
Main Questions
Current Research
   Sex Allocation
   Sperm Competition
   Mating Behaviour
   Sexual Conflict
Former Research
Research Methods
Press & Outreach

Schärer Group
Evolutionary Biology
Zoological Institute
University of Basel
Vesalgasse 1
CH-4051 Basel

Current research

a living Macrostomum lignano squeezed between two microscope slides

Macrostomum lignano: an introduction
We primarily work with the free-living flatworm Macrostomum lignano, a transparent simultaneous hermaphrodite that we have recently described taxonomically (more on this).

Sex allocation
Evolutionary theory makes detailed predictions about how animals should allocate limited resources to their male and female reproductive functions. Because we can non-invasively measure testis and ovary size in Macrostomum lignano, it is a great model organism to study sex allocation (more on this).

Sperm competition
We can accurately measure changes in sperm production in worms that have grown up in different social situations, and using a sperm tracking technique we have developed, we can observe where these sperm end up in the mating partner (more on this).

Mating behaviour
We have developed a convenient way to observe and record the mating behaviour in Macrostomum. We use this method to quantitatively describe its intriguing mating behaviours (more on this).

Sexual conflict
Sexual conflict can lead to sexually antagonistic co-evolution, which can lead to co-variation in the complexity of male and female genitalia and complex mating behaviours. We are performing phylognetically controlled comparative studies to investigate reproductive trait evolution (more on this).

Taxonomy of the genus Macrostomum
We do field work to collect and describe other members of the genus Macrostomum, and take DNA samples to perform molecular phylogenetic work. The different Macrostomum species vary enormously in reproductive morphology (more on this).

this page was last updated on Tuesday, December 22, 2015