The group

Christian Buschbaum

Why do species and communities of coastal ecosystesm show specific patterns in their occurrence, what are the underlying processes and do overall principles for different ecosystems exist? These are the primary questions of my research. My particular interest focuses on species interactions in temperate and Arctic regions and on the effects alien marine organisms on native coastal ecosystems.

Mathias Wegner

Parasites are everywhere! That's why I spent my whole scientific carreer with research on "host-parasite coevolution". I started out with investigating the selective maintenance of genetic variability of immune genes (MHC) in three-spined sticklebacks in the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology. From there I went to the Institute of Integrative Biology (IBZ) at the ETH Zürich where I studied experimental coevolution of red flour beetles and their microsporidian parasites. Being a native islander, bringing my favorite research subject to the Waddensea station of the AWI was a logical consequence. Here, I make use the unique evolutionary histories of invasive species to understand host-parasite coevolution in the wild.

Lisa Shama

I am interested in the evolutionary potential of populations to respond to rapidly changing environments. During my PhD, I investigated the influence of gene flow and phenotypic plasticity in promoting and constraining adaptation in populations of an alpine caddisfly. As a PostDoc, I started dabbling in the realm of quantitative genetics, and assessed the relative contributions of selection and drift (Qst / Fst) to latitudinal variation of growth rate for populations of a damselfly. My current work with marine sticklebacks focuses mainly on transgenerational plasticity (parental environment effects on offspring traits) in response to ocean warming. So far, I can say that maternal effects play an important role in populations’ adaptive responses to climate change, but also carry-over effects from grandparent environments (particularly from grandmothers) shape offspring growth, physiology and gene expression.

Tobias Dolch

Tobias studied Geography with the study focus ‘Ecology and Environmental Science’ at the University of Bonn and at Monash University, Melbourne. After his studies he had worked for the Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research Warnemünde before he went to the Wadden Sea Station Sylt of the Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) in 2004. He did his PhD on the analysis of morphodynamics and habitat changes in the Wadden Sea and obtained his degree in Physical Geography in 2008. Tobias works in coastal ecology and focuses on the current status and long-term development of intertidal seagrass beds. Since 2011 he is also teaching at the Department of Geography of the University of Kiel.

Andreas Waser

I am a marine biologist with broad interests in the ecology of benthic organisms in coastal environments. Particularly, I am interested in studying how different species interact which each other and what consequences this has for other species and the benthic species community in general. My research focuses on invasive species, parasites and habitat forming species like epibenthic bivalves (mussels, oysters). In my current project, I am investigating the epibenthic species community of subtidal areas in the Sylt-Rømø Bight, with special focus in recently abandoned on-bottom culture areas of blue mussels. The project aims to investigate whether these former culture plots are suitable for the development of natural mussel beds in the subtidal zone.

Annika Cornelius

The increasing number of non-native species (Neozoa) in the Wadden Sea and the mostly unknown effects of successful establishment in the ecosystem are the basis for my research. I deal with the effects of the successful establishment of two pacific crabs, Hemigrapsus takanoi and Hemigrapsus sanguineus in the Wadden Sea. My PhD project is intended to provide a detailed picture of the ecological consequences of the invasion of Hemigrapsusspp. for the ecosystem. For this I will consider both direct and indirect effects between introduced and native organisms.

Coralie Broquard

I am interested in the effects of biotic and abiotic factors on aquatic organisms' physiology. I initially focused my work on the use and effects of antibiotics and hormones in farmed fish. Then, I did a Ph.D. thesis on the genetic, molecular and environmental factors involved in the sex determination of the Pacific oyster (Crassostrea gigas) and their effects on its growth. As a PostDoc, I studied the effect of climate change (multi-stressors experiments in microcosms) on the early developmental stages of lugworm (Arenicola marina) in order to improve its dynamic energy balance (DEB) model. I joined the AWI Wadden Sea Station to work on the sources and transmission pathways of antibiotic resistance genes in environments exposed to oyster farming (European project SPARE-SEA). 

Helen Spence-Jones

My interest in big-picture evolutionary questions has taken me from the behavioural ecology of meerkats in the Kalahari desert to a PhD on Baldwin dynamics of phenotypic plasticity in St Andrews, and now to Sylt for a postdoc looking at transgenerational plasticity in threespine sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus). I am combining physiological and molecular approaches to look at epigenetic inheritance in response to temperature variation and heatwaves: whether parental experience can affect offspring response to temperature fluctuations… and perhaps even provide an avenue of rapid adaptation in response to environmental change.

Eike Petersen (BTA)

Eike has been working as a technical assistant in the community and evolutionary ecology team since January 2017. She is a wizard in the molecular lab and also enjoys mucking about in the Watt.  She is always happy to help students with their research on the tidal flats.


Timm Kress (TA)

As a technical assistant, I am responsible for animal care and help with the preparation of experiments in the thermal constant rooms and mesocosms. Of the many long-term data series at the station, I am responsible for the fish and jellyfish monitoring. I am also the point of contact for guest researchers and groups, and take care of the dispatch of animal and plant material.



Dr. Christian Buschbaum

Dr. Mathias Wegner

Dr. Lisa Shama


Senior scientists:

Dr. Tobias Dolch



Dr. Andreas Waser

Dr. Annika Cornelius

Dr. Helen Spence-Jones

Dr. Coralie Broquard

Dr. Sarah Brand




Bachelor/Master Students:


Technical Assistance:

Eike Petersen

Timm Kress



Kaibil Wolf (Technical assistant)

Dr. Dagmar Lachschewitz (Senior scientist)

Dr. Alexandre Fellous (Postdoc)

Eric Weniger (BSc.)

Neal Scheraga (MSc.)

Carl Bukowski (BSc.)

Thea Petermann (BSc.)

Sylvia Wanzenböck (MSc.)

Lukas Füxjäger (MSc.)

Lena Ruf (BSc.)

Anna Sommer (MSc.)

Jonas Geburzi (PhD.)

Felicitas Demann (PhD.)

Marieke Feis (PhD.)

Vivian Oloton (MSc.)

Leo Gottschalk (BSc.)

Ana Lokmer (PhD.)

Franziska Schade (PhD.)

Carolin Wendling (PhD.)