Rike Stelkens

Rike Stelkens

Biträdande lektor

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Arbetar vid Zoologiska institutionen
Telefon 08-16 42 23
Besöksadress Svante Arrheniusväg 18b
Rum D 550b
Postadress Zoologiska institutionen: Populationsgenetik 106 91 Stockholm

Om mig

My lab studies the evolutionary response of populations to environmental change. We are particularly interested in understanding how genetic exchange between populations and species alters the rates and mechanisms of adaptation when populations are facing environmental stress. For this, we mainly use the unicellular microbe Baker's yeast (Saccharomyces spp.) and a combination of experimental evolution and genome sequencing. Saccharomyces is one of the few model microbes that can reproduce sexually, which makes it a great system to study hybridization.


Some of the lab's current projects are:

  • Can hybridization facilitate the colonization of novel environments?
  • Is there an optimal genetic outcrossing distance that maximizes hybrid fitness?
  • What is the genetic architecture of fitness and adaptation under environmental stress?
  • How do adaptive dynamics from standing genetic variation differ from adaptation through de novo mutations?
  • How does the rate of environmental change (e.g. gradual vs. abrupt) affect adaptation
  • What is the evolutionary significance of aneuploidy, and how does it affect hybrid fitness?
  • Hybridization and pathogenesis: What is the significance of hybridization between pathogenic strains for public health?

Other projects we are involved in look at local adaptation in natural yeast populations, the genetic basis of heterosis in yeast, and (since my background is fishy) an exciting new adaptive radiation of African cichlid fish!

If you are interested in any of the above or related questions, please drop me an email.


Grants and Sponsors:


Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation

Carl Tryggers Stiftelse 

Science for Life Laboratory

Eric Philip-Sörensens Stiftelse

Wenner Gren Foundations

Stockholm University



  1. Meier JI, RB Stelkens, DA Joyce, S Mwaiko, N Phiri, UK Schliewen, OM Selz, CE Wagner, C Katongo, O Seehausen, The coincidence of ecological opportunity with hybridization explains rapid adaptive radiation in Lake Mweru cichlid fishes, Nature Communications 10:5391.
  2. Zhang Z*, DP Bendixsen*, T Janzen, AW Nolte, D Greig, RB Stelkens, Recombining your way out of trouble: The genetic architecture of hybrid fitness under environmental stress, Molecular Biology and Evolution, 2019,; *authors contributed equally
  3. Gilchrist C, RB Stelkens, Aneuploidy in Yeast: Segregation Error or Adaptation Mechanism? Yeast, 2019,
  4. Bernardes J, RB Stelkens, D Greig, Heterosis in hybrids within and between yeast species, Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 2017, 30 (3): 538–548 doi: 10.1111/jeb.13023
  5. Stelkens RB, D Greig, Fungal evolution: On the origin of yeast species, NATURE Microbiology 2016, 1 (1): 15017, doi: 10.1038/nmicrobiol2015.17
  6. Boynton P, RB Stelkens, V Kowallik, D Greig, Measuring microbial fitness in a field reciprocal transplant experiment, Molecular Ecology Resources, 2016, doi: 10.1111/1755-0998.12562
  7. Stelkens RB, EL Miller, D Greig, Asynchronous spore germination in isogenic, natural isolates of Saccharomyces paradoxus, FEMS Yeast Research, 2016, 16 (3) doi: 10.1093/femsyr/fow012
  8. Stelkens RB*, K King*, J Webster, D Smith, M Brockhurst, Hybridization in parasites: Consequences for adaptive evolution, pathogenesis, and public health in a changing world, PLOS Pathogens, 2015, 11(9): e1005098 *authors contributed equally
  9. Stelkens RB, C. Schmid, O Seehausen, Hybrid breakdown in cichlid fish, PLOS ONE, 2015, 10(5): e0127207
  10. Stelkens RB, M Brockhurst, G Hurst, E Miller, D Greig, The effect of hybrid transgression on environmental tolerance in experimental yeast crosses. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 2014, 27(11): 2507-2519
  11. Stelkens RB, M Brockhurst, G Hurst, D Greig, Hybridization facilitates evolutionary rescue, Evolutionary Applications, 2014, 7(10): 1209-1217
  12. Stelkens RB, M Pompini, C Wedekind, Testing the effects of genetic crossing distance on embryo survival within a metapopulation of brown trout (Salmo trutta). Conservation Genetics, 2014, 15: 375-386
  13. Stelkens RB*, ES Clark*, C Wedekind, Parental influences on pathogen resistance in brown trout embryos and effects of outcrossing within a river network, PLOS ONE, 2013, 8: e57832 *authors contributed equally
  14. Stelkens RB, M Pompini, C Wedekind, Testing for local adaptation in brown trout using reciprocal transplants. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 2012, 12: 247
  15. Abbott R, D Albach, S Ansell, JW Arntzen, SJE Baird, N Bierne et al. (incl. RB Stelkens), Hybridization and speciation. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 2012, 26: 229-246
  16. Stelkens RB, G Jaffuel, M Escher, C Wedekind, Genetic and phenotypic population divergence on a microgeographic scale in brown trout. Molecular Ecology, 2012, 21:2896-2915
  17. Stelkens RB, C Wedekind, Environmental sex reversal, Trojan sex genes, and sex ratio adjustment: conditions and population consequences. Molecular Ecology, 2010, 19: 627–646
  18. Wedekind C, RB Stelkens, Tackling the diversity of sex determination. Biology Letters, 2010, 6: 7-9
  19. Stelkens RB, KA Young, O Seehausen, The accumulation of reproductive incompatibilities in African cichlid fish. Evolution, 2010, 64:617-633
  20. Stelkens RB, C Schmid, O Selz, O Seehausen, Phenotypic novelty in experimental hybrids is predicted by the genetic distance between species of cichlid fish. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 2009, 9:283, doi: 10.1186/1471-2148-9-283
  21. Stelkens RB, O Seehausen, Genetic distance between species predicts novel trait expression in their hybrids. Evolution, 2009, 63:884-897
  22. Stelkens RB, O Seehausen, Phenotypic divergence but not genetic distance predicts assortative mating among species of a new cichlid fish radiation. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 2009, 22:1679-1694
  23. Stelkens RB, MER Pierotti, DA Joyce, AM Smith, I van der Sluijs, O Seehausen, Disruptive sexual selection on male nuptial coloration in an experimental hybrid population of cichlid fish. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences, 2008, 363:2861-2870
  24. van der Sluijs I, TJM Van Dooren, KD Hofker, JJM van Alphen, RB Stelkens, O Seehausen, Female mating preference functions predict sexual selection against hybrids between sibling species of cichlid fish. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences, 2008, 363:2871-2877

Senast uppdaterad: 5 december 2019

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