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Dr. Sylke Nestmann

B.Sc., M.Sc., Ph.D.


physical: Building 16.x // The Station Crescent // Oteha Rohe
tel: +64 9 4140800 ext 41499 // email: s.nestman(at)


2008-2013, PhD, The role of chance and history in the evolution of a novel trait in Pseudomonas fluorescens SBW25., NZIAS, Massey University Albany, New Zealand

2007, Diploma in Biology, Changes in genetic diversity of Lolium perenne within experimental grassland communities., Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena and Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Jena, Germany


I am fascinated by the diversity that organisms display and I try to understand how mutational change translates into phenotypic traits and how evolutionary history can affect this.

I am interested in the role of evolutionary history in the evolution of novel traits. During my PhD I focused on the evolution of phenotypic switching. This new variant evolved in Pseudomonas fluorescens SBW25 during a long-term evolution experiment in the Rainey laboratory. I used the well-established SBW25 model system to perform real-time evolution experiments and used gene reconstruction approaches to investigate how evolutionary history affects the evolution of phenotypic switching. In addition I am interested in repeatability, genotypic and phenotypic parallelism and the role of constraints and epistatic interactions in the evolution of novelties.


Nestmann, S., Rajicic, T. S., Dehmer, K. J., Fischer, M., Schumacher, J., Roscher, C. (2011) Plant species diversity and composition of experimental grasslands affect genetic differentiation of Lolium perenne populations. Molecular Ecology, 20(10), 2188-2203. doi:10.1111/j.1365-294X.2011.05027.x.

Sylke Nestmann