Federica R. Schanz | MSc Student


M. Sc. project in Environmental Sciences – focus of research:

The development of survival strategies, either via phenotypic plasticity, adaptive evolution or a combination of both mechanisms, allows populations to persist in a changing environment. However, the mechanisms and processes underlying adaptation to changing environmental conditions is still not fully understood, hampering the forecasting of such dynamics, the prediction of ecosystem function and the definition of appropriate conservation management. The aim of the individual-based study is to investigate whether brachionid rotifers, Brachionus calyciflorus, from Lake Orta (Italy) did adapt to changing levels of copper pollution. To this end, I will resurrect rotifer resting eggs from three distinct pollution periods to establish clonal stock cultures. Then, I will subject individuals from these cultures to one of three copper concentrations in combination with one of two food levels in order to measure individual daily rates of survival, development, and reproduction. From these data, I will estimate stage-specific vital rates and use them to project the asymptotic population growth rates (λi). Finally, by conducting perturbation analyses, I will study the contributions of each vital rate to the observed differences in λi between the experimental groups (retrospectively). Additionally, I will investigate information about how potential future changes in each vital rate affect the population growth rates (prospectively).

During this Master project I will be supervised by Stefan Sommer.




  • 2016-present, M.Sc. in Environmental Sciences, University of Zürich
  • 2012-2016, B.Sc. in Biology with special focus on Plant Ecology, University of Bern