Prof. Dr.

Justyna Wolinska

+49(30) 64 181 686
+49(30) 64 181 682

Müggelseedamm 301, 12587 Berlin


I study evolutionary and ecological processes mediated by parasitism in aquatic ecosystems. Parasites are ubiquitous and impose strong selection on their hosts to evolve resistance, while themselves being under strong selection to undermine host defenses. My research group aims to develop a better understanding of the interface between such host-parasite co-evolution and major ecological processes in the face of global environmental change.


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

Full publication list






    Thijs Frenken; Elisabet Alacid; Stella A. Berger; Elizabeth C. Bournr; Melanie Gerphagnon; Hans-Peter Grossart; Alena S. Gsell; Bas W. Ibelings; Maiko Kagami; Frithjof C. Küpper; Peter M. Letcher; Adeline Loyau; Takeshi Miki; Jens C. Nejstgaard; Serena Rasconi; Albert Rene; Thomas Rohrlack; Keilor Rojas-Jimenez; Dirk S. Schmeller; Bettina Scholz; Kensuke Seto; Telesphore Sime-Ngando; Assaf Sukenik; Dedmer B. van de Waal; Silke van den Wyngaert; Ellen Van Donk; Justyna Wolinska; Christian Wurzbacher; Ramsy Agha

    Integrating chytrid fungal parasites into plankton ecology: research gaps and needs

    Environmental Microbiology. - 19(2017)10, S. 3802-3822




    Grants, Academic Service, Teaching


    Scientific grants (as PI)

    • 2018-2021 (3 years): DFG (German-Israeli collaboration): “The evolution of virulence under conditions of frequent multiple infections”.
    • 2017-2020 (3 years): DFG & SNF (German-Swiss collaboration): “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): “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)

    Other grants

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

    Academic Service

    • Editorial Board: Journal of Evolutionary Biology (2010-2013 and 2015-present); BMC Evolutionary Biology (2015-present)
    • Reviewer for Scientific Journals: Evolution, Evolution Letters, 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)

    Teaching at IGB

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

    Biotic Interactions in a Changing World (MSc level) – lecture and seminar



    December - Yameng's story got published: She generated a transcriptomic dataset from infected (and uninfected) Daphnia and found that the parasite suppresses immune responses in the host:

    December - Florent gives a presentation during the annual IGB Science Day: "Making Science Fun: memes, drawings and parasitology". He is such a showman; he made us laugh many times!

    November - we are hosting Amanda Kyle Gibson. She gives the institute seminar on "Common clones: parasite adaptation in heterogeneous host populations".

    November - New Master student, Nesar Ghadernezhad, starts project on the effect of nanoplastic pollution on the spread of disease in aquatic environments, in collaboration with Abel de Souza Machado.

    October - Thijs Frenken joins our group. This one-year postdoctoral project ("Will a warmer world be a sicker world?") is funded by International IGB Fellowship Programme.

    September - Justyna gives a keynote lecture at the 6th Polish Evolutionary Conference in Warsaw, PL.

    September - Ramsy attends the Third Plankton Chytridiomycosis Workshop, in Wageningen, NL.

    September - Another successful collaboration with our Chinese colleagues! Here, we compared European and Chinese Daphnia galeata, on both the mitochondrial and nuclear level. New publication available here.

    August - Our new paper on the diversity and structure of the Daphnia pulex group in China is out! Available here.

    August - Florent represents our group on the ESEB congress on Evolutionary Biology (Montpellier, France).

    July - Our modeling-study got published! It examines the conditions that explain the frequently observed establishment of Daphnia hybrids. Available here.

    July - Justyna gives a talk at the Seminar Series in Behaviour & Evolution, Bielefeld University.

    June - We went bowling; Yile and Bruno were winning everything!

    June - Celebration of women in science: Soapbox Science in Berlin - Maja is one of the speakers.

    May - Our experimental evolution assay showing that parasite adaptation is hampered by host diversity got published. Congratulations to Ramsy and Alina (Ramsy's MSc student). See press release.

    April - Prof. Iñaki Ruiz-Trillo (The Institute of Evolutionary Biology, IBE, Barcelona) is visiting our lab.

    April - Dr. Falk Hillmann (The Leibniz Institute for Natural Product Research and Infection Biology – Hans Knöll Institute, HKI) is visiting our lab.

    March - Bruno Ortiz-Canavate Ozeki joints our group to conduct his MSc project; he is Erasmus Student from Universidad Autonoma de Madrid.

    March - Florent attends PhD Student Meeting in Animal Evolutionary Biology in Czech Republic.

    February - Our new Chytrid-paper is out; available here.

    February - Dr. Frida Ben-Ami is visiting our lab; kick-off meeting for Florent's PhD project.

    January - Dr. Slawek Cerbin (Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan) is visiting our lab. We are collaborating on "Daphnia facing the global climate change" project.

    January - Florent Manzi starts his PhD with us: "The evolution of virulence under conditions of frequent multiple infections". This is a collaborative project with a group of Dr. Frida Ben-Ami, from Tel Aviv University in Israel.


    December - feels like a Xmas present:) - our long-term field study is finally out, published in Evolution. We analysed genotype dynamics in a Daphnia population sampled across 13 years (over 240 time points). We found that periods of higher infection are correlated with higher genotype turnover in the host population. Outside of epidemics, turnover of host genotypes is slowed down. Overall, our study shows that parasites are important for maintenance of host genetic diversity. See a commentary about our manuscript.

    December - Justyna is visiting lab of Slawek Cerbin, at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan. She gives a talk at the department seminar series.

    December - Manja defended her PhD thesis at the FU: "Community and population dynamics in lakes under global change". Congratulations!

    November - our experimental study on how Daphnia reacts to microplastics got published; available here. This study resulted from collaboration with the group of Christian Laforsch from University of Bayreuth.

    November - another experimental study resulting from collaboration with the group of Bruno B. Castro got published; our study shows that temperature acts as a modulator of interactions between pollution and disease. Available here.

    November - Prof. Adam Petrusek (Charles University of Prague) is visiting our lab. We are discussing next steps regarding our "Daphnia-microsporidia" project.

    November - Maja Grubisic got funding for one-year postdoc (DRS HONORS fellowship), to work with us and with a group of Franz Hölker. Maja will study the potential effects of artificial light at night on benthic primary producers. Maja's project starts in January 2018.

    October - paper of Ana Cuco, Bruno B. Castro et al. (our Portuguese collaborators) is out; our study suggests that fungicide contamination can affect the severity and spread of disease in aquatic systems. Available here.

    October - Yile Tao starts his PhD: "Role of parasitic chytrids in regulating cyanobacterial blooms". Yile's PhD is funded by FUB-CSC Programm. Yile, warm welcome!

    September - Manja, Yameng and Justyna present their work at the Cladocera Conference in Kulmbach, Germany.

    September - Melanie and Ramsy give talks at SAME15 (15th Symposium on Aquatic Microbial Ecology) in Zagreb, Croatia.

    September - Justyna attends ESEB Congress in Groningen, the Netherlands. She is co-organizing a symposium on Evolutionary Implications of Hybridization.

    July - Melanie is going back to France, after having stayed one year with us (IGB Fellowship Programme); Melanie, you will be missed!

    June - paper of Ramsy et al. is out! Congratulations!! "Integrating chytrid fungal parasites into plankton ecology. Research gaps and needs". This opinion paper provides a perspective view on possible directions of future research about chytrids parasitizing phytoplankton. Available here.

    June - Prof. Adam Petrusek (Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic) is visiting our lab. Justyna is collaborationg with him (as well as with Justyna's former PhD student, Mingbo Yin) on the following project: “Genetic diversity and phylogeography of the Asian Daphnia”.

    May - Yameng and Justyna attend 'Introduction to evolutionary biology for infection biologists' workshop (organized by IZW). Justyna teaches about host-parasites coevolution and evolution of virulence.

    May - Justyna attends "I scientist" conference in Berlin (on gender, career paths and networking). The conference's mission is to to increase visibility of female role models and  raise awareness of unconscious biases. During the Networking Breakfast, she serves as an expert on how to combine science and family.

    May - Tanya (Tatiana Semanova) is leaving for the US (postdoc position at the University of Kansas). We all wish you good luck!

    March - Manja, Ramsy and Justyna attend "Conflict and cooperation – bridging evolution, ecology and immunology" meeting in Bautzen, Germany. Manja and Ramsy give talks.

    February - Manja presents her work at the "Young Natural History Scientists' Meeting" in France, Paris.

    February - fantastic news: our grant proposal ("The evolution of virulence under conditions of frequent multiple infections", submitted together with Frida Ben-Ami from Tel Aviv University) got funded by the DFG. This project will start in January 2018.

    January - kick-off meeting for "Host-parasite interactions in hybridizing Daphnia" project. Place: Eawag, Dübendorf, Switzerland. Lab-Attendees: Yameng, Anurag and Justyna.

    January - kick-off meeting for "DNA-metabarcoding of plankton communities" project. Place: Villa Ehrlich, Berlin. Lab-Attendees: Tanya, Uschi, Elisabeth and Justyna.

    January - Dr. Dominik Martin-Creuzburg (University of Konstanz, Germany) is visiting our lab. We are collaborating with him on the following project: “Chytrid: an overlooked transfer agent of matter and energy in aquatic food webs”.

    January - welcoming a new lab member: Tatiana Semanova, Tanya (postdoc); the launch of a new project: "DNA-metabarcoding of plankton communities".

    January - welcoming Yaming Lu (postdoc); the launch of a new project: "Host-parasite interactions in hybridizing Daphnia - from correlations to experiments".

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