Professor from University of Mainz Visits IHB

Professor Xu Shuqing from the University of Mainz, Germany was invited to IHB on June 13, 2023. (Credit: IHB)

Professor Xu Shuqing from the University of Mainz, Germany was invited to the Institute of Hydrobiology (IHB) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences on June 13, 2023 for an academic exchange. During his visit, he delivered a lecture titled "Indirect effects drive real-time evolution in an aquatic community".    

Professor Xu presented recent progress made by his team in studying the evolution of biological individuals in complex ecological environments, using water lilies as a model organism. Over the past few years, his team conducted a series of field experiments and mathematical models to analyze and study the effects of inter-species interactions on the growth of biological populations and real-time evolution. Their results indicate that, in complex ecosystems, besides direct interactions between species, indirect effects also drive adaptive evolutionary processes.    

Through a collaborative effort with Switzerland, his team conducted large-scale field experiments and discovered that land aphids feeding on floating plants (such as water lilies) increased the growth and diversity of algae, indirectly driving rapid adaptive evolution in aquatic organisms like Daphnia magna. These research findings contribute to a deeper understanding of adaptation and evolution in organisms within complex ecological environments.  

Professor Xu obtained his PhD from ETH Zürich under the supervision of Prof. Florian Schiestl and Prof. Alex Widmer in 2011. His PhD thesis focused on the evolution of floral signals in a specialized pollination system. Between 2012 and 2017, he moved to Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena as a project group leader in the Department of Molecular Ecology (led by Prof. Ian Baldwin), where he worked on the evolutionary genetics of plant defences. In 2018, he was appointed as an associate professor (W2) at the University of Münster. Since April 2022 he is the department chair of evolutionary plant sciences at the University of Mainz.