Functional Environmental Genomics

Monitoring adaptive changes: Revealing anthropogenic selection pressures from genomic time series

Institution: Senckenberg Society for Nature Research


Anthropogenic substances introduced into the environment that adversely affect the fitness of organisms act as selection factors. Organisms often adapt to them within a few generations. Our approach is to exploit this through population genomic time series in the field and in experiments. To do this, the foundations must first be laid in this area. The long-term goal is to use routine population genomic time series monitoring of field populations to detect anthropogenic impairments at an early stage and to narrow down the causes.

In addition, we are still working on the new concept of evolutionary management in this project, in which we i) identify information on the genomic basis of desired traits and ii) then use this to support and accelerate the spread of appropriate genotypes in the relevant populations. A pilot project is underway with drought resistance in beech.


  • Prof. Dr. Markus Pfenninger (PI)
  • Prof. Dr Miklós Bálint
  • Prof. Dr. Steffen Pauls
  • Dr. Halina Binde-Doria (TBG-Postdoc)
  • Dr. Barbara Feldmeyer (Postdoc)
  • Dr. María Esther Nieto-Blazques



  • Environmental studies
  • Ecological and evolutionary experiments
  • Population genomics
  • NGS techniques to generate reference genomes from non-model organisms
  • Re-sequencing of individuals and/or population pools
  • Wild GWAS
  • SNP chips