Dr. Cornelya F. C. Klütsch works at the interface of molecular ecology, genomics, and conservation. Her main research interests include the use of genetic and genomic tools to address applied and basic conservation, management, and eco-evolutionary questions in wildlife and fish species. Currently, she is a Research Scientist at the Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research (NIBIO, Norway) where she works in a transnational, interdisciplinary, and inter-sectorial framework on local, regional, and international conservation issues in (sub)arctic environments. This includes a wide range of topics and systems including population genetic and wildlife forensic analyses of large carnivores (e.g., lynx and brown bear) and freshwater species (e.g., brown trout, freshwater mussels). Further, she is interested in the development of eDNA and metabarcoding approaches as tools for environmental research and monitoring of soil and freshwater biota. Recently, Cornelya expanded her horizons and works now more intensely on the integration of citizen science and ecosystem service assessments into research and conservation management. Finally, she continues teaching within the Edu-Arctic and INTERACT projects with the aim of bringing molecular ecological topics into the classroom (i.e., STEM education). With this broad approach, she hopes to contribute to the development of a sustainable society and green and blue bioeconomies.

Previous positions/education:

Postdoctoral research position and sessional lecturer at Trent University (Ontario, Canada).

Postdoctoral research position at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm (Sweden)

PhD at the Alexander Koenig Research Museum and the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms University in Bonn (Germany)

Master’s degree in zoology at the Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg (Germany)

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The lumpfish Cyclopterus lumpus is commercially exploited in numerous areas of its range in the North Atlantic Ocean, and is important in salmonid aquaculture as a biological agent for controlling sea lice. Despite the economic importance, few genetic resources for downstream applications, such as linkage mapping, parentage analysis, marker-assisted selection (MAS), quantitative trait loci (QTL) analysis, and assessing adaptive genetic diversity are currently available for the species. Here, we identify both genome- and transcriptome-derived microsatellites loci from C. lumpus to facilitate such applications. Across 2,346 genomic contigs, we detected a total of 3,067 microsatellite loci, of which 723 were the most suitable ones for primer design. From 116,555 transcriptomic unigenes, we identified a total of 231,556 microsatellite loci, which may indicate a high coverage of the available STRs. Out of these, primer pairs could only be designed for 6,203 loci. Dinucleotide repeats accounted for 89 percent and 52 percent of the genome- and transcriptome-derived microsatellites, respectively. The genetic composition of the dominant repeat motif types showed differences from other investigated fish species. In the genome-derived microsatellites AC/GT (67.8 percent), followed by AG/CT (15.1 percent) and AT/AT (5.6 percent) were the major motifs. Transcriptome-derived microsatellites showed also most dominantly the AC/GT repeat motif (33 percent), followed by A/T (26.6 percent) and AG/CT (11 percent). Functional annotation of microsatellite-containing transcriptomic sequences showed that the majority of the expressed sequence tags encode proteins involved in cellular and metabolic processes, binding activity and catalytic reactions. Importantly, STRs linked to genes involved in immune system process, growth, locomotion and reproduction were discovered in the present study. The extensive genomic marker information reported here will facilitate molecular ecology studies, conservation initiatives and will benefit many aspects of the breeding programmes of C. lumpus.


Habitat discontinuity, anthropogenic disturbance, and overharvesting have led to population fragmentation and decline worldwide. Preservation of remaining natural genetic diversity is crucial to avoid continued genetic erosion. Brown trout (Salmo trutta L.) is an ideal model species for studying anthropogenic influences on genetic integrity, as it has experienced significant genetic alterations throughout its natural distribution range due to habitat fragmentation, overexploitation, translocations, and stocking. The Pasvik River is a subarctic riverine system shared between Norway, Russia, and Finland, subdivided by seven hydroelectric power dams that destroyed about 70% of natural spawning and nursing areas. Stocking is applied in certain river parts to support the natural brown trout population. Adjacent river segments with different management strategies (stocked vs. not stocked) facilitated the simultaneous assessment of genetic impacts of dams and stocking based on analyses of 16 short tandem repeat loci. Dams were expected to increase genetic differentiation between and reduce genetic diversity within river sections. Contrastingly, stocking was predicted to promote genetic homogenization and diversity, but also potentially lead to loss of private alleles and to genetic erosion. Our results showed comparatively low heterozygosity and clear genetic differentiation between adjacent sections in nonstocked river parts, indicating that dams prevent migration and contribute to genetic isolation and loss of genetic diversity. Furthermore, genetic differentiation was low and heterozygosity relatively high across stocked sections. However, in stocked river sections, we found signatures of recent bottlenecks and reductions in private alleles, indicating that only a subset of individuals contributes to reproduction, potentially leading to divergence away from the natural genetic state. Taken together, these results indicate that stocking counteracts the negative fragmentation effects of dams, but also that stocking practices should be planned carefully in order to ensure long‐term preservation of natural genetic diversity and integrity in brown trout and other species in regulated river systems.