Björn Stelbrink

Björn Stelbrink
Museum für Naturkunde - Leibniz Institute for Research on Evolution and Biodiversity | MFN · Research

Dr. rer. nat.

About

133
Publications
45,821
Reads
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1,375
Citations
Citations since 2016
77 Research Items
1151 Citations
2016201720182019202020212022050100150200
2016201720182019202020212022050100150200
2016201720182019202020212022050100150200
2016201720182019202020212022050100150200
Introduction
I have a broad interest in evolutionary biology. My current research is mainly focused on diversification patterns and processes of freshwater molluscs in insular ecosystems – either true islands or habitat islands such as ancient lakes. I mostly use genetic (and recently also genomic) data to infer phylogenetic relationships and to reconstruct clade-specific traits as well as the biogeographical origin of these groups.
Additional affiliations
March 2021 - August 2021
Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen
Position
  • Research Associate
December 2020 - February 2021
University of Basel
Position
  • PostDoc Position
October 2019 - November 2020
University of Basel
Position
  • Research Associate
Education
May 2012 - July 2014
January 2008 - September 2008
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Field of study
  • Biology

Publications

Publications (133)
Article
Ancient Lake Ohrid is the oldest and biologically most diverse freshwater lake in Europe. The recent deep-drilling campaign SCOPSCO provided detailed insights into the lake's limnological history over the past 1.36 my. However, it remains unclear what factors triggered the onset of radiation and whether diversification rates remained constant throu...
Article
Full-text available
The Viviparidae, commonly known as River Snails, is a dominant group of freshwater snails with a nearly worldwide distribution that reaches its highest taxonomic and morphological diversity in Southeast Asia. The rich fossil record is indicative of a probable Middle Jurassic origin on the Laurasian supercontinent where the group started to diversif...
Article
Full-text available
Aim: The roles of geodynamics, climatic variability and landscape evolution in shaping aquatic biodiversity patterns on the African continent remains poorly understood. We studied the geographical origin and phylogenetic relationships of an Afrotropical freshwater snail genus to examine the role of drainage evolution on diversification and range ev...
Article
Full-text available
Unravelling the drivers of species diversification through geological time is of crucial importance for our understanding of long-term evolutionary processes. Numerous studies have proposed different sets of biotic and abiotic controls of speciation and extinction rates, but typically they were inferred for a single, long geological time frame. How...
Article
IN PRESS: Birds-of-paradise represent a textbook example for geographical speciation and sexual selection. Perhaps the most iconic genus is Paradisaea, which is restricted to New Guinea and a few surrounding islands. Although several species concepts have been applied in the past to disentangle the different entities within this genus, no attempt h...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Insular systems such as oceanic islands, crater and long-lived lakes and mountain tops (‘islands in the sky’) are ideal settings for studying evolutionary and biogeographical patterns and processes. We use phylogenetic and phylogeographic datasets of various freshwater mollusc groups spanning from continental to local scales to study the originatio...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The islands of the Indian Ocean including Madagascar and smaller island systems such as the Mascarene Islands, the Seychelles and the Comoros are considered a biodiversity hotspot given their large share of endemic species. The geological and palaeogeographical history of these islands is well studied and has been used by biologists to explain affi...
Article
Full-text available
Museum material is an important source of metadata for past and recent biological events. With current sequencing technologies, it is possible to obtain historical DNA (hDNA) from older material and/or endangered species to answer taxonomic, systematic, and biogeographical questions. However, hDNA from museum collections is often highly degraded, m...
Article
Full-text available
Schistosomiasis affects over 700 million people globally. 90% of the infected live in sub-Saharan Africa, where the trematode species Schistosoma mansoni and S. haematobium transmitted by intermediate hosts (IH) of the gastropod genera Biomphalaria and Bulinus are the major cause of the human disease burden. Understanding the factors influencing th...
Article
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Aim: Ecological communities are structured through the interplay of deterministic assembly processes such as competition and environmental filtering. Whereas the drivers of spatial community structure are frequently studied in extant communities, little is known about the relative importance of assembly processes in response to environmental factor...
Article
Full-text available
The distribution of the five Erhaia (Gastropoda, Truncatelloidea, Amnicolidae) species that are diagnosed by both morphological and molecular data is combined with several records of less completely diagnosed nominal Erhaia species. The resulting distribution pattern is summarized in a map and is discussed herein. Erhaia norbui sp. nov. is describe...
Article
Full-text available
Ancient Lake Poso in Central Sulawesi, Indonesia, is among the deepest lakes in Asia, and hosts a largely endemic fauna of fishes, crustaceans, and molluscs. Introduction of non-native fish species started at least a century ago to foster local fish production. Recent fieldwork suggests that introduction of non-native fishes is ongoing, including s...
Article
Full-text available
The South American brackish water snail Heleobia charruana (d'Orbigny, 1841), abundant in Uruguay, is newly recorded for three western European countries: the United Kingdom (2003), the Netherlands (2014) and Belgium (2017). Its identity was confirmed using morphological and molecular methods. The method successfully used to isolate DNA and to furt...
Article
The complex geological and climatic processes that have shaped the Indo-Australian Archipelago since the Cenozoic likely also gave rise to its species-rich biota. Strictly freshwater organisms might be particularly suitable for understanding the influence of these abiotic factors on their biogeography in such a insular setting as their distribution...
Data
Note: Because of the publisher's and journal's policy, changes to published articles will only be made if the publication record is seriously affected by the academic accuracy of the published information: https://academic.oup.com/journals/pages/authors/production_and_publication/changing-published-articles
Article
Full-text available
The scarcity of high-resolution empirical data directly tracking diversity over time limits our understanding of speciation and extinction dynamics and the drivers of rate changes. Here, we analyze a continuous species-level fossil record of endemic diatoms from ancient Lake Ohrid, along with environmental and climate indicator time series since la...
Article
The set of ancient lakes on Sulawesi, Indonesia, represents a unique global hotspot of aquatic biodiversity. These lakes have been recognized widely because of their high number of endemic species with specialized and distinctive morphological characters, life history and ecological adaptations. An interesting case of unusual life history involving...
Article
Acroloxus coloradensis is a rare and potentially glacial relict freshwater limpet species endemic to North America. However, despite its remarkable patchy distribution across the continent, only very few genetic data is available for the different populations. Here, we sequenced two standard barcoding markers for individuals from five populations t...
Article
Full-text available
Shells of the Rissooidea species that are known from Bhutan are characterized. Tricula montana is reported from that country for the first time. Two Erhaia species from Bhutan are described as new to science, viz. E. jannei sp. nov., and E. pelkiae sp. nov., The holotypes of the Erhaia species that were described from Nepal are figured with photogr...
Article
Ancient lakes are renowned as freshwater hotspots of biodiversity and endemism. However, some of these water bodies are poorly studied with the minute pill clams in the genus Pisidium (family Sphaeriidae) being particularly overlooked. The Malili lake system is located on Sulawesi, which is the largest and possibly biologically most diverse Indones...
Article
! ! ! ARTICLE - IN - PRESS ! ! ! Ancient lakes with their endemic species assemblages, like Lake Tanganyika in East Africa, are regarded as hotspots of aquatic biodiversity and as natural laboratories providing insights into evolutionary processes, such as intra-lacustrine speciation. The origin of the gastropod species super flock in Lake Tangany...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Snails such as Galba truncatula are hosts for trematode flukes causing fascioliasis, a zoonosis that is a major public health problem. Galba truncatula has recently been shown to be a cryptic species complex. African populations of Galba spp. are not yet studied using molecular assessments and is imperative to do so and reconstruct the...
Article
Full-text available
Lake Lanao on Mindanao island is the largest freshwater lake in the Philippines and may represent one of the few ancient lakes in Southeast Asia. This lake’s fauna is best known for its endemic cyprinid fishes that have been nearly driven to extinction through various anthropogenic actions. In contrast, only little is known about Lake Lanao’s inver...
Article
We here present the first near-complete mitogenome of a member of the freshwater gastropod family Paludomidae, Pseudocleopatra dartevellei. This Congo River species is of particular importance, because the sister to the Lake Tanganyika radiation is supposed to be a paludomid riverine species. We used ancient DNA (aDNA) techniques including single-s...
Article
Full-text available
Mediterranean climates are characterized by strong seasonal contrasts between dry summers and wet winters. Changes in winter rainfall are critical for regional socioeconomic development, but are difficult to simulate accurately¹ and reconstruct on Quaternary timescales. This is partly because regional hydroclimate records that cover multiple glacia...
Article
Full-text available
Ecrobia is a genus of small brackish-water mud snails with an amphi-Atlantic distribution. Interestingly, the species occurring in the northwestern Atlantic, E. truncata, is more closely related to the Pontocaspian taxa, E. grimmi and E. maritima, than to the species occurring in the northeastern Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea. At least three colon...
Article
Full-text available
Aim: Elevated biodiversity is the result of the cradle, museum or sink functions. The contributions of these three functions to species accumulation and their changes through time remain unknown for glacial refugia. Additionally, our understanding of the role these functions played during pre‐glacial periods is limited. We test for changes in contr...
Article
Due to the ubiquity and high dispersal capacity of unicellular eukaryotes, their often extraordinary diversity found in isolated and long‐lived ecosystems such as ancient lakes is typically attributed to multiple colonization events rather than to in situ speciation. However, respective evolutionary studies are very scarce and the often high number...
Poster
Full-text available
Diversity in unicellular organisms such as diatoms has evolved via multiple colonization events rather than by in situ diversification. However, a recent study demonstrated that diatoms may also radiate, and that this mechanism is perhaps most relevant in isolated and long-term stable environments such as ancient lakes. Among others, the endemic di...
Presentation
Full-text available
Invertebrates are exceptionally diverse, but declining because of anthropogenic changes to their habitat, as exemplified by freshwater bivalves in Europe and North America. Much less information is available for African freshwater bivalves, especially for Unionidae, which comprise 9 genera and ~40 nominal species, many of which are endemic to Afric...
Presentation
Full-text available
Lake Lanao on Mindanao is the largest permanent freshwater lake in the Philippines and may represent one of the few ancient lakes in Southeast Asia. However, age estimates for this lake differ widely across the literature ranging from 10,000 up to 10 My years. The lake’s fauna is best known for its cyprinid radiation comprising a total of 18 specie...
Poster
Full-text available
The African Great Lakes are not only known for their high levels of biodiversity and degree of endemism, but also for their importance in neglected tropical water-borne diseases. Besides these often large and old lacustrine lake systems, a variety of smaller and younger lakes exist such as the crater lakes of western Uganda, whose biodiversity and...
Poster
Full-text available
Ancient lakes with their endemic species assemblages, like Lake Tanganyika in East Africa, are regarded as hotspots of aquatic biodiversity and as natural laboratories providing insights into evolutionary processes, such as intra-lacustrine speciation. This is particularly exemplified by studies on the origin of species flocks in both cichlids and...
Presentation
Full-text available
Anatolia is noted for a high concentration of ancient lakes with elevated aquatic species diversity, yet little is known of how and when this diversity arose. Here, lakes and their drainages in Anatolia have been considered a major refugium for temperate aquatic taxa during the Quaternary glacial period. Aided by fluctuating Black Sea salinities du...
Presentation
Full-text available
The interplay of deterministic processes such as environmental filtering or species competition and stochastic processes like dispersal or extinction govern community patterns in time and space. However, empirical evidence from nature about the relative contributions of these processes and their drivers in time is limited. This may be partly due to...
Presentation
Full-text available
What determines species diversity and can ecosystems reach equilibrial species richness? Previous contributions to these puzzling questions came mainly from simulation studies or global analyses with heterogeneous geological, environmental and paleontological records. These deficiencies call for evolutionary studies in model systems with continuous...
Article
Within Viviparidae, the systematic affinities of several genera are uncertain, with respect to one another, but also as to their subfamily attribution. From the genera that have been assigned unambiguously to one of the three sub-families, a clear biogeographic pattern emerges that highlights a wide geographic separation of Bellamyinae from Vivipar...
Article
Full-text available
Herein, we use genetic data from 277 sleeper sharks to perform coalescent-based modeling to test the hypothesis of early Quaternary emergence of the Greenland shark (Somniosus microcephalus) from ancestral sleeper sharks in the Canadian Arctic-Subarctic region. Our results show that morphologically cryptic somniosids S. microcephalus and Somniosus...
Presentation
Full-text available
Lake Lanao is the largest freshwater lake in the Philippines and may represent one of the ancient lakes of the world, though postulated ages for this lake differ widely across the literature ranging from 10,000 up to 10 million years. The lake has been considered ancient particularly because of its cyprinid radiation that originally comprised a tot...
Presentation
Full-text available
The two ancient lake systems of Sulawesi, Lake Poso and the five lakes of the Malililake system, are a hotspot of aquatic endemism. Species flocks of invertebrates and fishes have arisen in situ in both systems, but the Malili lake system has been colonized twice by riverine ancestors in several groups. All well-studied taxa (gecarcinid crab, atyid...
Article
The occurrence of at least one species of Erhaia in Bhutan, viz. Erhaia wangchuki sp. n., is confirmed by DNA sequencing. A second unnamed species from Bhutan, that might be congeneric, is known from only a single shell. According to the molecular analysis, E. wangchuki is most closely related to a still undescribed Erhaia species from China. These...
Article
Species richness in freshwater bony fishes depends on two main processes: the transition into and the diversification within freshwater habitats. In contrast to bony fishes, only few cartilaginous fishes, mostly stingrays (Myliobatoidei), were able to colonize fresh water. Respective transition processes have been mainly assessed from a physiologic...
Article
This study reviews and synthesises existing information generated within the SCOPSCO (Scientific Collaboration on Past Speciation Conditions in Lake Ohrid) deep drilling project. The four main aims of the project are to infer (i) the age and origin of Lake Ohrid (Former Yu-goslav Republic of Macedonia/Republic of Albania), (ii) its regional seismot...
Article
Full-text available
Group I introns and homing endonuclease genes (HEGs) are mobile genetic elements, capable of invading target sequences in intron-less genomes. LAGLIDADG HEGs are the largest family of endonucleases, playing a key role in the mobility of group I introns in a process known as 'homing'. Group I introns and HEGs are rare in metazoans, and can be mainly...
Data
Schematic representation of selected COXI exons of complex Scleractinia (blue bar), robust Scleractinia (green bar), and Corallimorpharia (red bar). Boxes show insertion position of intron 720 (orange) and 884 (purple). Symbols (+) and (-) in the insertion sites boxes indicate intron presence or absence, respectively. Shaded areas represent conserv...
Data
GenBank accession numbers for the COXI and cyt b genes used for the divergence time estimations. Taxa are sorted alphabetically. (DOC)
Data
Intron alignment found in complex Scleractinia using secondary structure elements. Secondary structures of intron 884 of complex Scleractinia are similar based on the number of loop and stem regions (P1-P9) of canonical group I intron structures. The only exception was found in Siderastrea radians intron, which differs in the P5 region. Boxes indic...
Data
Evolutionary rates of the COXI gene and of the LAGLIDADG homing endonuclease gene in robust and complex Scleractinia. The rate of nucleotide substitutions causing amino acid changes (Ka) is plotted relative to substitutions at silent sites (Ks). Circles represent Ka/Ks ratios. The dotted line indicates the theoretical expectation of neutral evoluti...
Data
Alignment of the putative LAGLIDADG motifs found in Scleractinia and Corallimorpharia. Both motifs are well conserved in robust Scleractinia, whereas complex Scleractinia and Corallimorpharia displayed degraded motifs. (TIF)