Principal investigator

Martin Reichard [list of all publications]
evolution of ageing, brood parasitism, reproductive tactics

After Ph.D. in zoology, Martin took a series of postdoctoral positions and fellowships in the UK (Queen Mary London, Leicester, St Andrews) before establishing a lab in Brno.

His recent research is primarily focused on
1. understanding the evolution of lifespan, ageing and its life history consequences (this includes broader studies on the ecology and evolution of annual fishes in Africa and the Neotropics.)
2. impact of invasions on coevolutionary dynamics (largely based on the association between parasitic bitterling fishes and their host mussels)
3. mate choice, sexual selection, and reproductive tactics in fishes (using killifish, bitterling and other fish taxa)

Permanent Research Scientist

Matej Polačik [list of all publications]
killifish life history, including embryonic period

Matej’s primary goal is to understand embryo ecology over the long months of their diapause and the consequences of that unique development for post-hatching lifespan

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 continued with investigations on alternative life strategies in African annual fishes. After a stay at Jason Podrabsky’s lab in Portland State University, OR, USA, Matej took permanent position at the institute.

Postdoctoral researchers

Radim Blažek [list of all publications]
killifish life history, brood parasitism

Radim is devoted field and experimental biologist, with additional interest in fish parasitology, and is involved in many aspects of our data collection.

Milan Vrtílek [list of all publications]
life history and ecomorphology in killifish

Milan succeeded in our ambitious plan to follow replicated wild killifish populations over their lifetime. Over 30,000 km of car travel and 5 months camping in the Mozambican bush, a unique set of data and samples is secured!

Milan studied the effect of invasive species on the bitterling-mussel relationship for his MSc., followed by a PhD. (2014) on experimental and field-based investigations into variability and reaction norms in the reproductive allocation of female killifish. He then completed a two-year internal postdoctoral fellowship and a short-term stay at CEREEP (with Tom Van Dooren, CNRS France; 2017) that expanded his focus on ecomorphology and energetic constraints in killifish embryos.

Caroline Methling [list of all publications]
fish physiology

Caroline has re-joined the lab after holding a position at National Institute of Aquatic Resources at Technical University of Copenhagen.

Her current projects in our lab (i) explore adaptations of the bitterling embryos for their extraordinary habitat – the mussel gills, (ii) quantify the physiological costs in the bitterling-mussel relationship, and (iii) look at physiological parameters associated with extraordinary life history of annul killifishes.

PhD students

Veronika Bartáková (since 2012) [list of all publications]
population genetics and phylogeography

Veronika is at the late stage of her PhD. at Masaryk University in Brno, looking at population and community aspects of bitterling-mussel symbiosis.

Our insights on population genetic structure and phylogeography of killifish, bitterling, and invasive mussels can all be traced to Veronika’s analyses. She completed her MSc. in our lab, working on population genetics of African killifish.

Daniel García (since 2015) [list of all publications]
life history and ageing in Neotropical annual killifish

Daniel is based at Universidad de la República in Montevideo, Uruguay, studying Neotropical annual killifishes in the heart of their distribution.

His project uses Neotropical Austrolebias killifishes to understand the role of the evolution and coexistence of sympatric killifish morphotypes, including the roles of competition and population density on ageing and associated life history traits. A long way from the lab home has advantage to intensively study wild populations and perform field experiments.

Jakub Žák (since 2017) [list of all publications]
biology of ageing in killifish

Jakub volunteered during the extensive 2016 fieldwork in Mozambique and now joined the lab as PhD. student enrolled at Charles University in Prague.

Jakub pursues experimental approach to study various aspects of ageing in African killifish.


Jiří Farkač – aquarium facility

Eva Holánová – molecular lab

Former members

Postdoctoral Researchers

Pedro Morais (2014-2015) [list of all publications]
invasion ecology

Pedro’s work aimed to understand competitive interactions between native and invasive freshwater mussel species, with a focus on population-specific details. He is now postdoc at UC Berkeley.

Romain Rouchet (2013-2015) [list of all publications]
bitterling-mussel coevolution

Romain used experimental approach to look at the effects of non-native populations being transferred within species range, especially their impact on coevolutionarily-driven interactions.

Past PhD students

Radomil Řežucha (2010-2015)[list of all publications]
personalities & sexual selection

Radek worked on the link between personalities, alternative reproductive behaviour and mate choice, using a spectrum of our fish models (bitterling, Endler’s guppy, annual killifish).

Markéta Konečná (2006-2009) [list of all publications]
individual and population consequences of sexual selection

Markéta combined fieldwork, mesocosm experiments and behavioural observations to understand how sexual selection affects individuals and populations of the European bitterling fish.

Past MSc. students

Lucie Kubická (Charles University, 2016)

– cognition and behaviour in African killifish

Veronika Bartáková (Masaryk University, defended 2013)

– African killifish phylogeography

Milan Vrtílek (Masaryk University, defended 2010)

– effect of invasive molluscs on bitterling populations

Radomil Řežucha (Masaryk University, defended 2010)

– linking personality and reproductive tactics in the bitterling

Yvona Petrášová (Masaryk University, defended 2009)

– diversity and ecology of fish communities in the Gambia River, Senegal