Justyna Wolinska

PD Dr. Justyna Wolinska

Department: (A2) Ecosystem Research
Function: Scientist
E-mail address:
Phone: +49(30) 64 181 686
Fax number: +49(30) 64 181 682
Address: Müggelseedamm 301, 12587 Berlin
  • CV
  • Research
  • Publications
  • Teaching
  • Others

Curriculum vitae

Scientific education

2012: Habilitation (Evolutionary Ecology), Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (LMU), Germany
2006: PhD (Evolutionary Ecology), Eawag/ETH Zurich, Switzerland
2001: MSc (Environmental Protection), Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland
1999: BSc (Environmental Protection), Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland

Professional experience

Since 2015: Professor for Aquatic Evolutionary Ecology, Freie Universität Berlin (FU), Germany
Since 2014: Research Group Leader, IGB Berlin, Germany
2008-2014: Assistant Professor, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (LMU), Germany
2006-2008: Postdoc Research Fellow, Indiana University, Bloomington, USA

Awards and honors

Scientific grants (as PI)

2017-2020 (3 years): DFG & SNF (German-Swiss collaboration project): “Host-parasite interactions in hybridizing Daphnia, from correlations to experiments”.
2013-2016 (3 years): DFG (proposal integrated within a Priority Program: Host-parasite coevolution; rapid reciprocal adaptation and its genetic basis): “Red Queen dynamics in Daphnia; revealing evolutionary change in a parasite population”.
2012-2015 (3 years): DFG & SNF (German-Swiss collaboration project): “Host-parasites interactions in Daphnia: the role of variable environments”.
2012-2015 (3 years): DFG (proposal integrated within a Research Unit: Natural selection in structured populations): “The role of hybridization in the colonization of newly opened habitats”.
2010-2013 (3 years): DFG “Facing multiple enemies: trade-offs between adaptive responses to predators and parasites in the context of inducible defences”.
2010-2013 (3 years): DFG (proposal integrated within a Priority Program: Host-parasite coevolution; rapid reciprocal adaptation and its genetic basis): “Red Queen dynamics in Daphnia: the role of variable environments. Part 2”.
2009-2010 (1 year): DFG “Red Queen dynamics in Daphnia: the role of variable environments. Part 1”.

Scientific grants (as Host)

2017 (1 year): International IGB Fellowship Program - Tatiana Semenova: “Hidden diversity of Müggelsee: linking long-term research and monitoring with DNA-metabarcoding of plankton communities” (postdoc stipend)
2016 (1 year): International IGB Fellowship Program - Melanie Gerphagnon: “Chytrid: an overlooked transfer agent of matter and energy in aquatic foodwebs” (postdoc stipend)
2016-2017 (2 year): Alexander von Humboldt-Foundation - Ramsy Agha: “Host-parasite coevolution in asexually-reproducting host” (postdoc stipend)
2016 (6 months): German Academic Exchange Service DAAD - Marcin Dziuba: "Climate change impact on Daphnia-parasite interaction in D. longispina species complex" (PhD stipend)
2014-2015 (2 years): German Academic Exchange Service DAAD (CONACYT: cooperation program with Mexico) - Federico Castro Monzon: "Parasite-driven demographic changes across evolutionary timescales" (PhD stipend)
2010-2011 (2 years): Bayerische Eliteförderung - Olivia Hesse: "The effect of multiple stressors on Daphnia" (PhD stipend)

Other grants

(I helped to write and / or defend these proposals in front of the funding committee)

2010-2012 (3 years): VolkswagenStiftung: Munich Graduate School Evolution, Ecology and Systematics (EES)
2011-2013 (3 years): EU funding: Erasmus Mundus Master Programme in Evolutionary Biologe (MEME); partner universities: Munich, Groningen, Uppsala, Montpellier and Harvard

Academic Service


Editorial Board: Journal of Evolutionary Biology (2010-2013 and 2015-present); BMC Evolutionary Biology (2015-present)

Reviewer for Scientific Journals
: Evolution, Ecology, Am Nat, Proc R Soc B, Mol Ecol, Funct Ecol, Biol Lett, BMC Biology, Mol Biol Evol, Int J Parasitol, J Anim Ecol, Oecologia, Oikos, Biol Invasions, FEMS Microbiol Ecol, Freshw Biol, PLoS ONE, Evol Ecol, Ecol Res, Parasitology, Dis Aquat Org, J Eukaryot Microbiol, Aquat Biol, Aquat Ecol, Aquat Sci, Hydrobiologia, Zoology, Acta Zool Acad Sci Hung, Sensors, Trop Biomed

Reviewer for Funding Agencies: National Science Foundations (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Israel, Poland and USA), Humboldt Foundation (Germany), National Geographic Society (USA), Graduate Women in Science (USA)

Research Area

We are evolutionary ecologists who study rapid evolutionary changes in natural populations and communities, as a response to environmental challenges. Parasites are ubiquitous and impose strong selection on their hosts to evolve resistance. Parasites are likewise under strong selection to undermine host defenses. Host-parasite interactions therefore provide the perfect empirical framework within which to study rapid evolution.

Our research interests fall into three categories: 1) Mechanisms underlying host-parasite coevolution and the consequences of environmental changes for the coevolutionary process. We study how coevolution affects ecological processes, such as the maintenance of diversity at population and community levels, and how this biodiversity is maintained in the face of global environmental change. In addition to host-parasite coevolution, we explore other strong evolutionary forces that allow rapid adaptation to new environments, such as 2) species hybridization, and 3) phenotypic plasticity (in particular inducible defenses).

To detect rapid evolutionary change, we use several empirical approaches. In field studies of natural populations we are exploring the links between coevolution and genetic diversity, as well as between environmental components and the occurrence of disease. Specifically, we are tracking genetic changes in populations and communities over both time and space (by employing molecular approaches, e.g. next-generation-sequencing). Another part of our research involves experimental coevolution (single-generation experiments, as well as long-term surveys in microcosms). As a study organism, we mainly use the crustacean Daphnia, a well-established model in ecological, evolutionary and genomic research. Additionally, my group has recently established another model to study rapid host-parasite coevolution: cyanobacteria infected with chytrid fungus; initial experiments have proven successful. Our field sites consist of large permanent lakes (natural lakes in Germany and man-made water reservoirs in the Czech Republic) and a set of flooded gravel pits in and around Munich.

coevolution, Daphnia, frequency-dependence, hybridization, hybrid fitness, parasitism, phenotypic plasticity, Red Queen

Current group


Melanie Gerphagnon: 2016-present. Chytrid: an overlooked transfer agent of matter and energy in aquatic food web. Funding: International IGB Fellowship Program
Ramsy Agha
: 2014-present. Host-parasite coevolution in asexually-reproducting hosts. Funding: IGB internal budget & Alexander von Humboldt Foundation

(Yameng Lu and Tatiana Semenova will join our group in January 2017)

PhD students

Manja Saebelfeld: 2014-present. Evolutionary responses to global change. Funding: IGB internal budget


Other students

MSc student, Alina Gross: 2016-present. Experimental evolution of parasitic chytrids.
BSc student, Yari Osenberg: 2016-present. Population density and body size of Daphnia in response to DOC.
Erasmus student, Dilara Ogretmen: 2016-present. Ecological implications of chytrid parasitism on planktonic cyanobacteria.


Other members

Technical assistant (molecular lab), Elisabeth Funke
Technical assistant (wet lab), Ursula Newen

Former members


Sabine Giessler: 2012-2014

PhD students

Enrique Gonzalez Tortuero: 2013-2016. After PhD: Postdoc at University College Cork, Ireland
Johanna Griebel: 2012-2016. After PhD: Data scientist in a private company in Munich, Germany
Jakub Rusek: 2012-2015. After PhD: Coordinator at European Academies Science Advisory Council (EASAC), Brussels, Belgium
Mingbo Yin: 2009-2011(winner of the Chinese Government Award for Outstanding Students Abroad). After PhD: Assistant Professor at Fudan University, Shanghai, China


MSc / Diploma students

Amanda Navas Faria: 2013 (winner of the 7th LMU EES annual conference: best presentation of the MSc Project; thesis has been published: Griebel, Navas Faria et al. 2015, PLoS ONE). After MSc: PhD student at Georg-August-University Göttingen
Gokce Ayan: 2013 (poster prise at the international SEFS conference in Münster, 2013; thesis has been published: Rusek, Ayan et al. 2015, J Plank Res). After MSc: PhD student at the Max Planck Institute, Kiel
Felicitas Buchberger: 2013. After MSc: PhD student at LMU Munich
Monika Poxleitner: 2012 (winner of the 6th EES annual conference: best presentation of the MSc Project; thesis has been published: Griebel, Poxleitner et al. 2015, PLoS ONE). After MSc: PhD student at LMU Munich
Stefanie Weigl: 2011 (thesis has been published: Weigl et al. 2012, Parasitology). After Diploma: MSc student at TU Munich
Isara Arsiranant: 2010. After Diploma: working at Marine and Coastal Resources Research Center in Thailand
Olivia Hesse: 2010 (thesis has been published: Hesse et al. 2012, BMC Ecol). After Diploma: PhD student at LMU Munich
Wolfgang Engelbrecht: 2010. After Diploma: PhD student at LMU Munich
Jennifer Lohr: 2009 (thesis has been published: Lohr et al. 2010, Parasitology; Lohr et al. 2010, J Eukaryot Microbiol). After MSc: PhD student at University of Fribourg, Switzerland


Bachelor students

Christin Manthey: 2015; Anna May: 2013; Clarissa Mathieson: 2012; Corinna Sachs: 2012; Helena Macke: 2011; Felicitas Buchberger: 2011; Eva Kluzik: 2010

Click here - to search in library database


  • Wei, Wenzhi; Gießler, Sabine; Wolinska, Justyna; Ma, Xiaolin; Yang, Zhong; Hu, Wei; Yin, Mingbo (2015):
    Genetic structure of Daphnia galeata populations in Eastern China.
    PLoS One, 10 (3): e0120168
  • Gonzalez-Tortuero, Enrique; Rusek, Jakub; Petrusek, Adam; Gießler, Sabine; Lyras, Dimitrios; Grath, Sonja; Castro Monzon, Federico; Wolinska, Justyna (2015):
    The quantification of representative sequences pipeline for amplicon sequencing: case study on within-population ITS1 sequence variation in a microparasite infecting Daphnia.
    Molecular Ecology Resources,
  • Ma, Xiaolin; Petrusek, Adam; Wolinska, Justyna; Gießler, Sabine; Zhong, Yang; Yang, Zhong; Hu, Wei; Yin, Mingbo (2015):
    Diversity of the Daphnia longispina species complex in Chinese lakes: a DNA taxonomy approach.
    Journal of Plankton Research, 36 (3): 641-657.
  • 2014

  • Wolinska, Justyna; Petrusek, Adam; Yin, Mingbo; Koerner, Henrike; Seda, Jaromir; Gießler, Sabine (2014):
    Population structure of a microparasite infecting Daphnia: spatio-temporal dynamics.
    BMC Evolutionary Biology, 14 (247)
  • Yin, Mingbo; Gießler, Sabine; Griebel, Johanna; Wolinska, Justyna (2014):
    Hybridizing daphnia communities from ten neighbouring lakes: spatio-temporal dynamics, local processes, gene flow and invasiveness.
    BMC Evolutionary Biology, 14 (80)

Other Publications

Link to my Google Scholar page
Peer-reviewed journals (46 publications)



Agha, Saebelfeld, Manthey, Rohrlack and Wolinska. Chytrid parasitism facilitates trophic transfer between bloom-forming cyanobacteria and zooplankton (Daphnia). Sci Rep 6: 35039
Tellenbach, Tardent, Pomati, Hairston, Wolinska and Spaak. Cyanobacteria facilitate parasite epidemics in Daphnia. Ecology In press. DOI: 10.1002/ecy.1576
Cuco, Abrantes, Goncalves, Wolinska and Castro. Toxicity of two fungicides in Daphnia: is it always temperature-dependent? Ecotoxicology 25:1376-1389
Gonzalez-Tortuero*, Rusek, Turko, Petrusek, Maayan, Pialek, Tellenbach, Giessler, Spaak and Wolinska. Daphnia parasite dynamics across multiple Caullerya epidemics indicate selection against common genotypes in a Central European lake. Special issue on Host-Parasite Coevolution. Zoology doi:10.1016/j.zool.2016.04.003
Ma, Wolinska, Petrusek, Giessler, Huand Yin. The phenotypic plasticity in Chinese populations of Daphnia similoides sinensis: recurvate helmeted forms are associated with the presence of predators. J Plankton Res doi: 10.1093/plankt/fbw031
Gonzalez-Tortuero*, Rusek, Maayan, Petrusek, Pialek, Laurent and Wolinska. Genetic diversity of two Daphnia-infecting microsporidian parasites, based on sequence variation in the internal transcribed spacer region. Parasit Vectors 9:1
Griebel*, Giessler, Yin and Wolinska. Parental and hybrid Daphnia from the D. longispina complex: long-term dynamics in genetic structure and significance of overwintering modes. J Evol Biol 29:810-823



Griebel*, Giessler, Poxleitner, Navas Faria, Yin and Wolinska. Extreme environments facilitate hybrid superiority – the story of a successful Daphnia galeata x longispina hybrid clone. PLoS One 10(10): e0140275
Rusek*, Ayan, Turko, Tellenbach, Giessler, Spaak and Wolinska. New possibilities arise for studies of hybridization: SNP-based markers for the multi-species Daphnia longispina complex derived from transcriptome data. J Plankton Res 37:625-635.
Gonzalez-Tortuero*, Rusek, Petrusek, Giessler, Lyras, Grath, Castro-Monzon and Wolinska. The Quantification of Representative Sequences pipeline for amplicon sequencing: case study on within-population ITS1 sequence variation in a microparasite infecting Daphnia. Mol Ecol Res15: 1385-1395
Wei, Giessler, Wolinska, Ma, Yang, Hu and Yin. Genetic structure of Daphnia galeata populations in Eastern China. PLoS ONE 10(3): e0120168.



Ma, Petrusek, Wolinska, Giessler, Zhong, Yang, Hu and Yin. Diversity of the Daphnia longispina species complex in Chinese lakes: a DNA taxonomy approach. J Plankton R 37:56-65.
Wolinska, Petrusek, Yin, Koerner, Seda and Giessler. Population structure of a microparasite infecting Daphnia: spatio-temporal dynamics. BMC Evol Biol 14:247
Yin, Giessler, Griebel and Wolinska. Hybridizing Daphnia communities from ten neighbouring lakes: spatio-temporal dynamics, local processes, gene flow and invasiveness. BMC Evol Biol 14:80.



Giessler and Wolinska. Capturing the population structure of microparasites: using ITS-sequence data and a pooled DNA approach. Mol Ecol Res 13:918-928.
Engelbrecht, Hesse, Wolinska and Laforsch. Two threats at once: encounters with predator cues alter host life-history and morphological responses to parasite spores. Hydrobiologia 715:93-100.



Hesse**, Laforsch, Engelbrecht and Wolinska. Fighting parasites and predators: How to deal with multiple threats? BMC Ecol 12:12.
Buser*, Spaak and Wolinska. Disease and pollution alter Daphnia taxonomic and clonal structure in experimental assemblages. Freshw Biol 57:1865-1874.
Leung, King, and Wolinska.Escape from the Red Queen: an overlooked scenario in coevolutionary studies. Oikos 121:641-645.
Weigl**, Koerner, Petrusek, Seda and Wolinska. Natural distribution and co-infection patterns of microsporidia parasites in the Daphnia longispina complex. Parasitology 139:870-880.
Yin*, Petrusek, Seda and Wolinska. Fine-scale temporal and spatial variation of taxon and clonal structure in the Daphnia longispina hybrid complex in heterogeneous environments. BMC Evol Biol 12:12.
Yin*, Petrusek, Seda and Wolinska. Fine-scale genetic analysis of Daphnia host populations infected by two virulent parasites – strong fluctuations in clonal structure at small temporal and spatial scales. Int J Parasitol 42:115-121.



Wolinska, Seda, Koerner, Smilauer and Petrusek. Spatial variation of Daphnia parasite load within individual waterbodies. J Plankton Res 33:1284-1294.
Yin*, Laforsch, Lohr and Wolinska. Predator-induced defence makes Daphnia more vulnerable to parasites. Evolution 65:1482-1488.
Schoebel*, Tellenbach, Spaak and Wolinska.Temperature effects on parasite prevalence in a natural hybrid complex. Biol Lett 7:108-111.
Wolinska, Spaak, Petrusek, Koerner, Seda and Giessler. Transmission mode affects the population genetic structure of Daphnia parasites. J Evol Biol 24:265-273.



Schoebel*, Wolinska and Spaak. Higher parasite resistance in Daphnia populations with recent epidemics. J Evol Biol 23:2370-2376.
Yin*, Wolinska and Giessler. Clonal diversity, clonal persistence and rapid taxon replacement in natural populations of species and hybrids of the Daphnia longispina complex. Mol Ecol 19:4168-4178.
Lohr**, Laforsch, Koerner and Wolinska. A Daphnia parasite (Caullerya mesnili) constitutes a new member of the Ichthyosporea, a group of protists near the animal-fungi divergence. J Eukaryot Microbiol 53:328-336.
Lohr**, Yin and Wolinska. Prior residency does not always pay off – coinfections in Daphnia. Parasitology 137:1493-1500.



Wolinska, Giessler and Koerner. Molecular identification and hidden diversity of novel Daphnia parasites from European lakes. Appl Environ Microbiol 75:7051-7059.
Wolinska and King. Environment can alter selection in host-parasite interactions. Trends Parasitol25:236-244.
Wolinska and Spaak. The cost of being common: evidence from natural Daphnia populations. Evolution 63:1893-1901.



Wolinska, King, Vigneux and Lively. Virulence, cultivating conditions, and phylogenetic analyses of oomycete parasites in Daphnia. Parasitology 135:1667-1678.
Wolinska and Lively. The cost of males in Daphnia pulex. Oikos 117:1637-1646.
Keller, Wolinska, Manca and Spaak. Spatial, environmental, and anthropogenic effect on the taxon composition of hybridizing Daphnia. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B 363:2943-2952.
Wolinska, Lively and Spaak. Parasites in hybridizing communities: the Red Queen again? Trends Parasitol 24:121-126.



Wolinska, Keller, Manca and Spaak. Parasite survey of a Daphnia hybrid complex: host-specificity and environment determine infection. J Anim Ecol 76:191-200.
Wolinska, Löffler and Spaak. Taxon specific reaction norms to predator cues in a hybrid Daphnia complex. Freshw Biol 52:1198-1209.
Keller, Wolinska, Tellenbach and Spaak. Reproductive isolation keeps hybridizing Daphnia species distinct. Limnol Oceanogr 52:984-991.
Tellenbach, Wolinska and Spaak. Epidemiology of a Daphnia brood parasite and its implications on host life-history traits. Oecologia 154:369-375.



Wolinska, Bittner, Ebert and Spaak. The coexistence of hybrid and parental Daphnia: the role of parasites. Proc R Soc B 273:1977-1983.



Fyda, Warren and Wolinska. An investigation of predator-induced defence responses in ciliated protozoa. J Nat Hist 39:1431-1442.
Lass, Vos, Wolinska and Spaak. Hatching with the enemy: Daphnia diapausing eggs hatch in the presence of fish kairomones. Chemoecology 15:7-12.



Wolinska, Keller, Bittner, Lass and Spaak. Do parasites lower Daphnia hybrid fitness? Limnol Oceanogr 49:1401-1407.
Löffler, Wolinska, Keller, Rothhaupt and Spaak. Life history patterns of parental and hybrid Daphnia differ between lakes. Freshw Biol 48:1372-1380.

* PhD student; ** MSc student


IGB Berlin

Experimental and Theoretical Evolutionary Ecology (MSc level) – lecture, seminar and practical classes. Winter semester.

Biotic Interactions in Changing World (MSc level) – lecture and seminar. Summer semester.

LMU Munich
Experimental Evolutionary Ecology (MSc level) - lecture and practical classes

Ecology (BSc level) - lecture and practical classes

Disease Ecology and Evolution (BSc level) - literature seminar                  

Global Change (MSc level) - literature seminar              

Biology of Alpine Habitats (MSc level) - field excursion

Preparing a scientific talk (MSc level) - skills course

Preparing a scientific poster (MSc level) - skills course               

Writing a grant proposal (MSc level) - skills course

Eawag Zurich

Statistics for biologists (MSc level) - practical classes

Genetic techniques in aquatic ecology (MSc level) - practical classes