Our group currently consists of 2 permanent researchers, 2 postdocs, 3 Ph.D. students, and one undergraduate. We are happy to consider more students (graduate or undergraduate) with a strong interest in ecology and evolution and desire to work hard in pursuing scientific questions.

Principal investigator

Martin Reichard sexual selection, life history & host-parasite interactions

Martin defended his PhD. on aquatic ecology in 2002, trying to understand the causes and consequences of larval fish dispersal in large rivers. He then took a series of postdoctoral positions and fellowships on behavioural ecology in the United Kingdom (Queen Mary London, Leicester, St Andrews).

His recent research encompasses
1. evolutionary ecology of annual fishes in Africa and the Neotropics (including work on their rapid ageing and its life history correlates and consequences)
2. impact of invasions on coevolutionary dynamics (mainly using the bitterling-mussel association)
3. mate choice, sexual selection, and alternative mating tactics (primarily using fish)

Research Scientist

Matej Polačik (since 2008) – evolutionary ecology of killifish, embryonic diapause in fish, invasion ecology

Matej’s PhD project was on comparative biology of native and invasive populations of gobies. He joined the lab as a postdoc to study bitterling-mussel coevolution and stayed with the CSF postdoctoral fellowship to investigate alternative life strategies in African annual fishes. After another postdoctoral fellowship (Fulbright) at Jason Podrabsky’s lab in Portland State University, OR, USA, Matej came back to take permanent position at the institute. We are happy to host him in the lab while he is developing his team.

All other lab members are contracted from ongoing projects.

Current Postdocs

Radim Blažek (since 2011) – killifish life history

Radim completed his PhD as fish parasitologist. He joined our lab to work on ‘Evolution of rapid ageing in African annual fishes’ and is primarily responsible for large-scale common garden experiments with 8 Nothobranchius populations. He is also involved in field collections throughout Africa.

Milan Vrtílek (since 2014) – killifish evolutionary ecology

Milan defended his Ph.D. on experimental and field-based investigations into variability and reaction norms in the reproductive allocation of female killifish across a natural gradient of aridity in 2014. Since 2015 he now holds tow-year ASCR postdoctoral fellowship and has expanded his interest into ecomorphology. He completed his MSc. in our lab in 2010, working on the effects of invasive species on the bitterling-mussel relationship.

Former Postdocs

Caroline Methling (2013-2014) – fish physiology

Caroline completed her PhD on cardio-respiratory physiology of the European eel at University of Copenhagen. She worked in our new respirometry lab, looking at metabolism of the ageing fish, quantifying the cost of parasitism, and exploring adaptations of the bitterling embryos for their extraordinary habitat, the mussel gills. Caroline has taken position at National Institute of Aquatic Resources at Technical University of Copenhagen.

Pedro Morais (2014-2015) – invasion ecology and life history

Pedro has a degree in Marine Biology and a PhD in Population Ecology (University of Algarve, Portugal). He is a generalist ecologist – he worked across aquatic ecosystems (from oceans to freshwater temporary pools), across taxa (as diverse as protistoplankton, bivalves, and fish) and used a range of techniques (from determination of primary productivity to otolith microchemistry). His main research interests, though, focus on two topics. First, he is concerned with the evaluation of non-native species impacts on aquatic ecosystems functioning. Second, he is interested in the causes and mechanisms of fish life history plasticity. For both reasons, he is welcome to our team.

Romain Rouchet (2013-2015) – bitterling-mussel coevolution

Romain defended his PhD at ETH in Zurich, working on the role of parasitoid adaptation to symbiont-conferred resistance in the coevolution of a pest aphid with its wasp parasitoid. For his first postdoctoral position, he has elected to obtain experience on coevolution from another model system and now works on the effects of invasive species on the European bitterling and its relationships with native freshwater mussels.

Radomil Řežucha (2015) – personalities & sexual selection

Radek worked as a short-term postdoctoral research assistant in our lab during 2015. He defended his Ph.D. with his work on the link between personalities, alternative reproductive behaviour and mate choice, using a wide spectrum of fish taxa (bitterling, Endler’s guppy, annual killifish) in 2014. He started to work in the lab in 2007 during his MSc. project. Radek now works as ethologist at the Research Institute for Cattle Breeding in Rapotín, CZ.

Research Associates

Carl Smith (since 2013) – mating systems

Carl is a lecturer at the University of St Andrews, UK. He is a member of our team for a project on how invasive species affect coevolved relationships and has an interest in understanding the basis to mating system evolution.

Rowena Spence (since 2013) – bitterling-mussel coevolution

Rowena is primarily based at University of St Andrews, UK. She works on our project on invasive species and coevolved relationships.

PhD students (supervised and co-supervised)

Daniel García (since 2015) – life history and ageing in Neotropical annual killifish

Daniel is based at Universidad de la República in Montevideo, Uruguay, and co-supervised by Martin and Marcelo Loureiro. His project focuses on the role of early life on ageing and life history traits later in the life, including the evolution and coexistence of killifish morphotypes.

Veronika Michálková (since 2012) – parasites & fish behaviour

Veronika is interested in the effect of parasites on fish behaviour, including mate choice and antipredator responses. She combines behavioural studies with histology and respirometry. She is supervised by Markéta Ondračková.

Veronika Bartáková (since 2013) – bitterling-mussel relationship

Veronika is looking at various aspects of bitterling-mussel symbiosis, including the effect of non-native species at the population and community levels. Veronika completed her MSc. in our lab, working on population genetics of African killifish. She is co-supervised by Pepa Bryja.


Lucie Kubická (since 2013) – cognition and behaviour in killifish

Lucie studies at Charles University in Prague. Her project in our lab includes testing cognitive abilities of killifish at the levels of species, populations and individuals and the effect of social environment on cognitive abilities. She is now at a one-year study stay at University of Bergen in Norway.


Jiří Farkač – aquarium facility

Jiří is responsible for the everyday running of our extensive aquarium facilities where we keep several species of bitterling, African killifish, Endler’s guppies, cichlids and catfishes.

Lenka Bartoničková – lab manager