Group of Prof. Walter Salzburger

"I've never met an animal, or a plant for that matter, that wasn't interesting, but some stand out as special. Cichlid fishes are right up there." George Barlow (2000)

Haplochromis aenicolor (image by E. Schraml)


More than 150 years after the publication of Charles R. Darwin's The Origin, the identification of the processes governing the emergence of novel species remains a fundamental question to biology. Why did some groups diversify in a nearly explosive manner, while others have remained virtually unvaried over millions of years? What are the external factors that promote diversification? And what is the molecular basis of adaptation, evolutionary innovation and diversification?

The research of the Salzburger Lab focuses on exactly these questions. More specifically, we are interested in the question of how variation in the DNA translates into organismal diversity. Our inspiration comes from nature's sheer endlessness of forms, the spectacular diversity of life, and the significance of the process of evolution itself. The main model systems in the lab are the adaptive radiations of cichlid fishes in East Africa, of threespine stickleback fishes and of Antarctic notothenioid fishes.

The Salzburger Lab is a young, multinational, open-minded, enthusiastic and creative team. Our foremost criterion is scientific excellence and we definitely aim to establish our lab in the circle of the leading groups in the field. The outstandingly harmonic atmosphere and familiarity in our group is very important to all of us, too.