CPS-privatClaus-Peter Stelzer

Present position:

Senior Scientist, Head of Working Group "Experimental Evolutionary Ecology"

Research area:

Experimental Evolutionary Ecology


+43 512 507-50203

Employment History · Research · Staff · Projects · Teaching · Publications

Employment History

  • September 1, 2012 - present:
    Senior Scientist and Privatdozent at the Research Department for Limnology, Mondsee of the University of Innsbruck

  • 2012:
    Habilitation (venia legendi) in "Evolutionary Ecology", University of Salzburg (Austria)

  • 2006 - 2012:
    Research fellow at the Institute of Limnology, Mondsee, Austria

  • 2003 – 2006:
    Lecturer (Wissenschaftlicher Assistent); Institute of Ecology and Evolution, University of Münster (Germany)

  • 2001 – 2003:
    ; Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, in the lab of Prof. Terry Snell (USA)

  • 2000:
    PhD thesis
    in Zoology/Limnology; University of Kiel (Germany)

  • 1996 - 2000:
    MSc and PhD studies; Max-Planck Institute of Limnology, Plön (Germany)



  • Genome evolution of Eukaryotes
  • Intraspecific genome size variation
  • Experimental evolution
  • Rotifer biology and ecology

More details on our research



Dora Čertnerová PostDoc, guest researcher
Fabian Oberauer, PhD student
Maria Pichler, laboratory technician - part time
Réka Somogyi, laboratory technician - part time



Austrian Science Fonds (FWF 35916) "Genome size variation and adaptation in rotifers" (PI: Claus-Peter Stelzer) 2022 - 2026

Austrian Science Fonds (FWF P26256) "Mechanisms and significance of genome size variation in rotifers" (PI: Claus-Peter Stelzer) 2014 - 2018 

Austrian Science Fonds (FWF 20735-B17) "Evolution of asexuality in experimental rotifer populations" (PI: Claus-Peter Stelzer) 2008-2012



past and present

University of Innsbruck

  • Genome evolution (Lecture with seminar and exercises)
  • Laboratory methods (Experimental laboratory course)
  • Aquatic evolutionary ecology (Lecture with laboratory course)


University of Salzburg

  • Evolution and Biodiversity (Lecture with exercises)


University of Münster

  • Evolution and Biodiversity of Animals (Zoology course at the introductory level)
  • Evolutionary and Population Genetics (Lecture)
  • Biology of Ageing (Experimental laboratory course)
  • Evolution of Asexual Reproduction (Experimental laboratory course)




  • Stelzer C.-P., Pichler M., Stadler P. (2023). Genome streamlining and clonal erosion in nutrient-limited environments: a test using genome-size variable populations, Evolution, https://doi.org/10.1093/evolut/qpad144


  • Blommaert J., Stelzer C.-P. (2022). Meiotic transmission patterns of additional genomic elements in Brachionus asplanchnoidis, a rotifer with intraspecific genome size variation, Scientific Reports 12:2900 https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-022-25566-8


  • Stelzer C.P., Blommaert J., Waldvogel A.M., Pichler M., Hecox-Lea B., Mark Welch D.B. (2021). Comparative analysis reveals within-population genome size variation in a rotifer is driven by large genomic elements with highly abundant satellite DNA repeat elements. BMC Biol 19:206,  https://doi.org/10.1186/s12915-021-01134-w

  • Stelzer C.P., Pichler M., Hatheuer, A. (2021). Linking genome size variation to population phenotypic variation within the rotifer, Brachionus asplanchnoidis. Commun Biol 4:596, https://doi.org/10.1038/s42003-021-02131-z


  • Schärer L., J. N., Brand, P., Singh K., Zadesenets S., Stelzer C.-P.,  Viktorin G. (2020). A phylogenetically informed search for an alternative Macrostomum model species, with notes on taxonomy, mating behavior, karyology and genome size. Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research 58:41–65, DOI: 10.1111/jzs.12344


  • Scheuerl T., Stelzer C.-P. (2019). Asexual reproduction changes predator population dynamics in a life predator-prey system. Population Ecology 61:210–216, doi.10.1002/pope.1017

  • Stelzer C.-P., Pichler M., Stadler P., Hatheuer A., Riss S. (2019): Within-population genome size variation is mediated by multiple genomic elements that segregate independently during meiosis. Genome Biology and Evolution, evz253, https://doi.org/10.1093/gbe/evz253

  • Pjeta R., Wunderer J., Bertemes P., Hofer T., Salvenmoser W., Lengerer B.; Coassin S., Erhart G, Beisel C., Sobral D., Kremser L., Lindner H, Curini-Galletti M., Stelzer C.P. , Hess M.W., Ladurner P. (2019). Temporary adhesion of the proseriate flatworm Minona ileanae. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B  374:1784. doi/org/10.1098/rstb.2019.0194

  • Blommaert J., Riss S., Hecox-Lea B., Mark Welch D.B., Stelzer C.-P. (2019). Small, but surprisingly repetitive genomes: transposon expansion and not polyploidy has driven a doubling in genome size in a metazoan species complex. BMC Genomics 20: 466, doi.org/10.1186/s12864-019-5859-y


  • Riss S., Arthofer W., Steiner F.M., Schlick-Steiner B.C., Pichler M., Stadler P., Stelzer C.-P. (2017). Do genome size differences within Brachionus asplanchnoidis (Rotifera, Monogononta) cause reproductive barriers among geographic populations? Hydrobiologia, 796(1): 59-75.  doi:10.1007/s10750-016-2872-x

  • Stelzer C.P. (2017). Extremely short diapause in rotifers and its fitness consequences. Hydrobiologia, 796(1): 255-264. doi 10.1007/s 10750-016-2937-x

  • Stelzer C.P. (2017). Life history variation in monogonont rotifers. In: Hagiwara A. & Yoshinaga T.: Rotifers: Aquaculture, Ecology, Gerontology, and Ecotoxicology. Springer, preview, 180pp., doi 10.1007/978-981-10-5635-2

  • Mills S., Alcántara-Rodríguez J.A., Ciros-Pérez J., Gómez A., Hagiwara A., Hinson Galindo K., Jersabek C.D., Malekzadeh-Viayeh R., Leasi F., Lee J.-S., Welch D.B.M., Papakostas S., Riss S., Segers H., Serra M., Shiel R., Smolak R., Snell R.L., Stelzer C.-P., Tang C.Q., Wallace R.L., Fontaneto D., Walsh E.J. (2017). Fifteen species in one: deciphering the Brachionus plicatilis species complex (Rotifera, Monogononta) through DNA taxonomy. Hydrobiologia  796(1): 39-58, doi 10.1007/s10750-016-2725-7. PDF

  • Scheuerl T., Stelzer C.-P. (2017). Sex initiates adaptive evolution by recombination between beneficial loci. PLoS ONE 12(6): e0177895. doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0177895

  • Stelzer C.P., Lehtonen J. (2017) Diapause and maintenance of facultative sexual reproductive strategies. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B  371: 20150536. doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2015.0536
  • Michaloudi E., Mills S., Papakostas S., Stelzer C.-P., Triantafyllidis A., Kappas I., Vasileiadou K., Proios K., Abatzopoulos T.J. (2016). Morphological and taxonomic demarcation of Brachionus asplanchnoidis Charin within the Brachionus plicatilis cryptic species complex (Rotifera, Monogononta). Hydrobiologia, doi 10.1007/s10750-016-2924-2


  • Stelzer, C.-P. (2015). Does the avoidance of sexual costs increase fitness in asexual invaders? Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1501726112


  • Routtu  J., Hall D. M., Albere  B., Beisel  C., Bergeron D. R., Chaturvedi  A., Choi  J.-H., Colbourne  J., De Meester  L., Stephens T. M., Stelzer  C.-P., Solorzano  E., Thomas K. W., Pfrender E. M., Ebert  D. (2014). An SNP-based second-generation genetic map of Daphnia magna and its application to QTL analysis of phenotypic traits. BMC Genomics 15:1033. Doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-1033


  • Scheuerl T., Stelzer C.P. (2013) Patterns and dynamics of rapid local adaptation and sex in varying habitat types in rotifers. Ecology and Evolution. DOI: 10.1002/ece3.781

  • Hanson, S.J., Stelzer, C.P., Welch, D.B., Logsdon, J.M. (2013) Comparative transcriptome analysis of obligately asexual and cyclically sexual rotifers reveals genes with putative functions in sexual reproduction, dormancy, and asexual egg production. BMC Genomics 14(1): 412. DOI: 10.1186/1471-2164-14-412
  • Hanson, S. J.,Schurko, A. M., Hecox-Lea, B., Mark Welch, D. B., Stelzer, C. P., Logsdon Jr., J. M. (2013) Inventory and Phylogenetic Analysis of Meiotic Genes in Monogonont Rotifers. J Hered. 104(3): 357-370. doi:10.1093/jhered/est011


  • Stelzer, C.P. (2012) Population regulation in sexual and asexual rotifers: an eco-evolutionary feedback to population size? Functional Ecology 26: 180–188. PDF

  • Stelzer, C.P. (2012) Evolutionary Ecology of Rotifers. Habilitation Thesis PDF


  • Scheuerl, T., Riss, S., Stelzer, C.P. (2011). Phenotypic effects of an allele causing obligate parthenogenesis in a rotifer. Journal of Heredity 102(4): 409-415. PDF

  • Stelzer, C.P., Riss, S., Stadler, P. (2011) Genome size evolution at the speciation level: The cryptic species complex Brachionus plicatilis (Rotifera) BMC Evolutionary Biology 11: 90. PDF

  • Stelzer, C.P. (2011). A first assessment of genome size diversity in Monogonont rotifers. Hydrobiologia 662: 77–82 PDF

  • Stelzer, C.P. (2011). The cost of sex and competition between cyclical and obligate parthenogenetic rotifers. American Naturalist 177(2): E43-E53. PDF


  • Stelzer, C.P., Schmidt, J., Wiedlroither, A., Riss, S. (2010) Loss of Sexual Reproduction and Dwarfing in a Small Metazoan. PLoS ONE 5(9): e12854. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0012854. PDF


  • Stelzer, C.P. (2009) Automated system for sampling, counting, and biological analysis of rotifer populations. Limnol. Oceanogr. Methods 7: 856-864. PDF


Stelzer, C.P. (2008): Obligate asex in a rotifer and the role of sexual signals. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 21 (1): 287–293. PDF


  • Stelzer, C.P. (2006): Changes in the competitive abilities of two planktonic rotifer species at different temperatures: an experimental test. Freshwater Biology 51: 2187-2199. PDF

  • Timmermeyer, N. and Stelzer, C.P. (2006): Induction of sexual reproduction in Synchaeta tremula (Rotifera, Monogononta). Journal of Plankton Research 28: 1233-1239. PDF

  • Snell, T.W., Kubanek, J.,Carter, W. , Payne, A. B., Kim, J., Hicks, M., and Stelzer, C.P. (2006): A protein signal triggers sexual reproduction in Brachionus plicatilis (Rotifera). Marine Biology 149: 763-773. PDF

  • Stelzer, C.P. and Snell, T.W. (2006): Specificity of the crowding response in the Brachionus plicatilis species complex. Limnology and Oceanography 51: 125-130. PDF

  • Stelzer, C.-P. (2006) Competition between two planktonic rotifer species at different temperatures: an experimental test. Freshwater Biology 51(12): 2187-2199. PDF


  • Snell, T.W. and Stelzer, C.P. (2005): Removal of surface glycoproteins and transfer among Brachionus species. Hydrobiologia 546: 267-274. PDF

  • Stelzer, C.P. (2005): Evolution of rotifer life histories. (Review) Hydrobiologia 546: 335-346. PDF


  • Stelzer, C.P. and Snell, T.W. (2003): Induction of sexual reproduction in Brachionus plicatilis (Monogononta, Rotifera) by a density-dependent chemical cue. Limnology and Oceanography 48: 939-943. PDF


  • Stelzer, C.P. (2002): Phenotypic plasticity of body size at different temperatures in a planktonic rotifer: mechanisms and adaptive significance. Functional Ecology 16: 835-841. PDF


  • Stelzer, C.P. (2001): Resource limitation and reproductive effort in a planktonic rotifer. Ecology 82: 2521-2533. PDF


  • Boersma, M. and Stelzer, C.P. (2000): Response of a zooplankton community to the addition of unsaturated fatty acids: an enclosure study. Freshwater Biology 45: 179-188. PDF


  • Stelzer, C.P. (1998): Feeding behaviour of the rotifer Ascomorpha ovalis: functional response, handling time and exploitation of individual Ceratium cells. Journal of Plankton Research 20: 1131-1144. PDF

  • Stelzer, C.P. (1998): Population growth in planktonic rotifers: Does temperature shift the competitive advantage for different species? Hydrobiologia 387/388: 349-353. PDF


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