Caroling Sommer-Trembo

PostDoc in the group of Prof. Walter Salzburger

Current Research


For me, one of the most thrilling and challenging endeavors in biology is the unravelling of the complex process of speciation and the identification of factors that determine species diversity. During my PhD, I investigated evolutionary causes and consequences of consistent behavioural traits in poeciliid fishes and, for instance, found out that specific behavioural types can enforce/impede premating isolation between parapatrically-evolving populations.

My current research project focusses on the role of inter-specific variation in basic behavioural patterns in the context of the massive adaptive radiation of cichlid fishes in Lake Tanganyika. Combining standardized assays in a semi-natural environment with experiments in the lake, I focus on the behavioural assessment of a large number of phylogenetically representative cichlid species. I use state of the art visual and analytical techniques including a deep learning-based tracking software to be able to unbiasedly quantify behavioural data. In a second step, I aim to compare the resulting phenotypic data with genomic information (e.g., genome-wide diversity, brain gene expression, phylogeny), ecological and morphological data to provide first in-depth insights into how species-specific behavioural tendencies might influence the species’ propensities to diversify.

Curriculum Vitae

Aug 2018 –

Postdoctoral fellow at the Zoological Institute, University of Basel, Switzerland

Apr 2018 – Jul 2018


Research project at the Zoological Museum of Hohenheim, Germany

Sep 2014 – Dec 2017


Ph.D. at the Institute for Ecology, Evolution and Diversity, Goethe University Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Oct 2011 – Mar 2014

Master at the Eberhard-Karls University of Tübingen, Germany

Oct 2008 – Sep 2011

Bachelor at the University of Hohenheim, Germany