Justine Vandendorpe

Justine Vandendorpe

Institute: Justus Liebig University Giessen, Germany

Email: Justine.Vandendorpe@allzool.bio.uni-giessen.de

My passion: Marine environments have fascinated me since I was very young because there are still so many mysteries to unravel about these ecosystems.

My background: I graduated from the Catholic University of Louvain (Belgium) in June 2015 with a Master degree in Organism Biology and Ecology. During my Master degree I undertook two ERASMUS exchanges. The first one at the University of Bergen (Norway) where I studied the host-parasite interaction between the velvet belly lantern shark Etmopterus spinax and the barnacle Anelasma squalicola. The second one at The Arctic University of Norway – The University of Tromsø (Norway too) where I took part in a study about hypoxia tolerance in diving birds and mammals.

My project: I am studying the potential current invasiveness of the mud snail taxon Ecrobia and its phylogeographical history in the Pontocaspian region. By unravelling the evolutionary pattern in space and time of this genus, I will attempt to answer the following questions:

  • Can the sister-group relationship of the Ponto-Caspian representatives with the North American species be explained by a transarctic interchange?
  • When did the spatial and/or demographic expansion of Pontocaspian taxa start?
  • Which abiotic or biotic factors drive the evolution of Ecrobia spp.?
  • Do all Ecrobia spp. present the same population fluctuations over time?
  • Has the larviparous Black Sea species Ecrobia maritima become invasive in the Mediterranean Sea?
  • What are the major events of the Pleistocene epoch impacting the biodiversity of the Pontocaspian region?
  • Can the planktonic behavior of Ecrobia be related to its ecology, life style and population genetics? 

I expect to get a comprehensive picture of the phylogeographical history of Ecrobia, as well as a clarification of the biogeographical relationships of this genus and an overview of the pattern and processes of its invasiveness.


French (mother tongue), English