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Fox sparrow nest on Mandarte, photo by Kathrin Naepflin

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Timothée Bonnet

Funded by a Forschungskredit of the University of Zurich

 I am an evolutionary biologist primarily interested in contemporary evolution, quantitative genetics, and the origin and maintenance of variation in fitness. During my PhD, I studied how selection translates into genetic evolution in a wild population of snow voles (Chionomys nivalis). During my post-doc I work on the demographic importance of genetic change (evolutionary rescue) relative to other demographic drivers.

personal webpage

Simon Evans

Funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF)

My previous work used plumage coloration as a route to understanding the eco-evolutionary forces governing ornament expression. This research was based on long-term study populations of great tits (Oxford, UK) and collared flycatchers (Gotland, Sweden). All individuals in these nestbox-breeding populations are uniquely marked, allowing individuals to be monitored throughout their lives and pedigrees to be constructed that describe the relatedness structure within each population. By combining phenotypic and relatedness information, it is possible to estimate quantitative genetic parameters (e.g., heritability).
    I'm now applying this approach to humans, exploring how changes in the social environment (e.g., the Industrial Revolution and the accompanying demographic transition) have impacted the evolutionary dynamics of human life-history traits. While it's frequently stated that humans are no longer evolving, numerous molecular genetic studies have shown that—at least for specific loci—evolution in contemporary human populations is occurring. In this study, we are exploring whether the considerable environmental changes human society has experienced over recent centuries have resulted in the evolution of polygenic traits closely allied to Darwinian fitness.

personal webpage


MSc students

Nicolas Erzer

Unravelling the mechanisms underlying parental age-effects on offspring survival in humans

Xenia Wietlisbach

The genetics of giants: Aldabra giant tortoise population genetics



Dominique Waldvogel

Database development and management, lab and field work


Past members

Andres Hagmayer

    Currently PhD student at Wageningen University, The Netherlands.

Anja Bürkli

    Currently post-doc at the Aquatic Ecology group of the ETH Zurich.

Franziska Lörcher

    Currently project leader at Swild - Urban Ecology and Wildlife Research, Zurich.

Jasmin Winkler

    Currently running Ecolytics.

Kathrin Näpflin

    Currently post-doc at the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard.

Nina Vasiljevic

Philipp Becker

Pirmin Nietlisbach

    Currently a post-doc at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.

Vicente García Navas Corrales

    Currently post-doc at the Estación Biológica de Doñana-CSIC, Spain.