Logo der Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftlichen Fakultät

Institute for Biochemistry and Biology, Biodiversity Research and Botany- Prof. Dr. Jasmin Joshi

Dipl.-Biol. Björn Huwe


About me:



Contemporary evolution, phenotypic plasticity or genetic fixation: Rates of evolution and adaptive processes in populations under novel selection regimes.

The aim of this project is to assess the importance of contemporary evolutionary processes influencing phenotypic plasticity or/and genetic fixation and to assess their importance for the adaptive capacity and persistence of plants under novel and multiple selection pressures. The extent and timing of contemporary evolution will be studied by using populations of five different plant species that are managed as ex-situ collections in botanical gardens (BG) hence forming a study system that allows a precise determination of phenotypic and genetic changes due to a consistent change in selection regime. We will compare 15 founder populations (cultivated for several generations in BGs) exposed to novel selection pressures for a defined amount of time with their original source populations in the wild. We will analyse 1) genetic diversity of BG and wild source populations by using restriction site-associated DNA tags (RAD tags) generated by high-throughput sequencing and 2) assess phenotypic diversity by comparison of life-history traits. To compare fitness parameters under changing conditions und multiple stress factors, all populations are reciprocally transplanted to all wild and garden sites. The same half-sib families are experimentally exposed to perturbations, i.e. to new environmental conditions. Thereby, the amount and interrelationship of local adaptation, phenotypic plasticity and genetic diversity in relation to the time since exposure to novel environmental conditions can be evaluated.


In addition I am involved in the BIOMEX - Project "BIOlogy and Mars EXperiment".

The first aim of this project is to investigate the resistance of different bio-molecules like pigments and cellular components when exposed to space and Mars-like conditions.
The second aim is to get knowledge on the survival capabilities of different terrestrial extremophiles of archaea, bacteria, cyanobacteria, snow alga, black fungi, lichens and bryophytes. In addition it will be analyzed if there is some interaction between the biological samples and a variety of analogues minerals (Mars, Lunar) and the original rock-material (terrestrial). This is tested under space and Mars-like conditions.

Projekt Biomex


The exposure to real space conditions is essential because even by the best simulation chambers, real space conditions with different radiation sources like ionizing radiation, UV-radiation, x-rays, gamma-ray from even galactic radiation, vacuum and temperature cycles can't be simulated all together, in parallel, on earth.
The results will be relevant for space proven bio-signature definition and for the formation of a bio-signature data base (e.g. the proposed creation of an international RAMAN library). The library will be useful for future space missions like projects for life detection analysis on Mars.
Furthermore, the results will provide new information about the probability that the chosen organisms survive a "natural", interplanetary transfer on rock-material (theory of Lithopanspermia; www.scienceinschool.org/print/599 ).

My part of this project is to experimentally test  the limits of adaptation of high alpine bryophyte species (particularly Grimmia sessitiana) to extreme abiotic environmental conditions (as experienced in extraterrestrial environments). Within this project we will expose special prepared moss cushions, including spore-material, to space and martian atmospheric conditions on the ISS. They are bedded on different analogues minerals (Mars,Lunar) and the original rock-material.

Currently we are in preparatory stage (preflight) and do analysis on viability in the lab.

Funded by: European Space Agency (ESA) and German Aerospace Centre (DLR)





University of Potsdam

Institute for Biochemistry and Biology

Biodiversity research and Botany

Maulbeerallee 1, Raum 1.13

14469 Potsdam

Tel: +49 (0)331 - 977 4813

Fax: +49 (0)331 - 977 4865

email: bhuwe[at]uni-potsdam.de


Universität Potsdam

Biodiversitätsforschung/ Spezielle Botanik

Maria Thrun

Maulbeerallee 2a

14469 Potsdam


Telefon: +49-(331)-977-1920

Fax: +49-(331)-977-1977


Email: mthrun[at]uni-potsdam.de

Universität Potsdam, Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät, Institut für Biochemie und Biologie