Mechanisms of Reproductive Isolation During Rapid Speciation
I am mainly interested in speciation, which is described as the emergence of reproductive isolation mechanisms among groups of individuals ultimately leading to divergence into distinct species. While speciation is mostly the result of a physical barrier that prevents gene flow entirely (allopatry), it can also occur within the same environment devoid of such barriers (sympatry). However, the evolution of reproductive isolation has been rarely investigated.
With my PhD project, I aim to understand the relative importance and rate of evolution of different reproductive isolation mechanisms among different biogeographic settings. The Nicaraguan Midas cichlid complex, comprised of sympatric and allopatric species, provides a great study system to investigate the occurrence of reproductive barriers.
My project will consider different mechanisms of reproductive isolation: premating, postmating-prezygotic and postzygotic isolation. By combining behavioral, molecular and developmental approaches, I will explore how reproductive isolation mechanisms contributed to rapid speciation in Midas cichlids.
- 2018 - present: PhD student in Evolutionary Biology, Research group of Prof. Axel Meyer, University of Konstanz, Germany
- 10/2014 - 09/2017: M.Sc. in Cellular and Molecular Biology, University of Konstanz, Germany
- 06/2015 - 10/2015: Internship, Chromosome Biology, Research group of Dr. Wolfgang Zachariae, MPI of Biochemistry, Munich
- 10/2011 - 09/2014: B.Sc. in Biological Science, University of Konstanz, Germany
Awards and Fellowships:
- 2018: PhD Fellowship (3 years) , Hector Fellow Academy
- 2018: Award for best presentation at the stable isotope summer school, University of Konstanz
- Evolution Meetings 2019, Providence, RI, USA, June 2019. Rometsch S. J., Torres-Dowdall J., Machado-Schiaffino G., Karagic N. and Meyer A.: The evolution of highly exaggerated traits: Dual function of nuchal humps in Midas cichlids. watch
- 111th Annual Meeting of the German Zoological Society, Greifswald, Germany, September 2018. Rometsch S. J., Torres-Dowdall J. Machado-Schiaffino G., Karagic N. and Meyer A.: Does size matter? The Evolution of Head Humps in Cichlid Fishes.
- 109th Annual Meeting of the German Zoological Society, Kiel, Germany, September 2016. Rometsch S. J., Torres-Dowdall J. and Meyer A.: Integration of Genital Asymmetry and Behavioral Lateralization.
- 108th Annual Meeting of the German Zoological Society, Graz, Austria, September 2015. Rometsch S. J., Schneider R., Torres- Dowdall J. and Meyer A.: Does Sexual Dichromatism predict Sex-Biased Opsin Expression in Cichlid Fishes?
- German Zoological Society (DZG)
- Society for the Study of Evolution (SSE)
5. Rometsch, S.J., Torres-Dowdall, J., & Meyer, A. (2020) Evolutionary dynamics of pre- and postzygotic reproductive isolation in cichlid fishes. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences (in press)
4. Schneider, R.F.*, Rometsch, S.J.*, Torres‐Dowdall, J., & Meyer, A. (2020), Habitat light sets the boundaries for the rapid evolution of cichlid fish vision, while sexual selection can tune it within those limits. Molecular Ecology
3. Torres-Dowdall, J., Rometsch, S.J., Aguilera, G., Goyenola, G., & Meyer, A. (2020). Asymmetry in genitalia is in sync with lateralized mating behavior but not with the lateralization of other behaviors. Current Zoology, 66(1), 71-81.
2. Härer, A., Torres-Dowdall, J., Rometsch, S.J., Yohannes, E., Machado-Schiaffino, G., & Meyer, A. (2019). Parallel and non-parallel changes of the gut microbiota during trophic diversification in repeated young adaptive radiations of sympatric cichlid fish. bioRxiv, 793760.
1. Aguilera, G., Terán, G. E., Mirande, J. M., Alonso, F., Rometsch, S.J., Meyer, A., & Torres-Dowdall, J. (2019). Molecular and morphological convergence to sulfide-tolerant fishes in a new species of Jenynsia (Cyprinodontiformes: Anablepidae), the first extremophile member of the family. PloS one, 14(7).
* indicates equal contribution