Prof. Dr. Laura Epp

Research Interests

I use environmental DNA (eDNA) stored in samples such as sediment and water to analyse ecosystems: their current biodiversity and their history. I am particular interested in generating time series of biodiversity and understanding biodiversity as the result of historical processes - both on the scales of millennia and across seasons and decades. I track biodiversity changes both on the level of communities and within single species. This can help us understand the relative roles of climatic changes and direct anthropogenic modifications on shaping past and present biodiversity and provide us with information to project possible future changes.

Key Publications

Seeber, P. A., Batke, L., Dvornikov, Y., Schmidt, A., Wang, Y., Stoof-Leichsenring, K. R.,  Moon, K. L., Vohr, S. H., Shapiro, B., Epp, L. S. (2024) Mitochondrial genomes of Pleistocene megafauna retrieved from recent sediment layers of two Siberian lakes eLife 12:RP89992,

Seeber P. A., Palmer Z., Schmidt A., Chagas A., Kitagawa K., Marinova-Wolff E., Tafelmaier Y., Epp L.S. (2023) The first European woolly rhinoceros mitogenomes retrieved from cave hyena coprolites suggest long-lasting phylogeographic differentiation.  Biology Letters 19: 20230343.

Wang, Y., Wessel, M., Pedersen, M., Epp, L.S. (2023) Spatial distribution of sedimentary DNA is taxon-specific and linked to local occurrence at intra-lake scale, Communications Earth and Environment 4, 17.

Seeber, P. A, Epp, L.S.  (2022) Environmental DNA and metagenomics of terrestrial mammals as keystone taxa of recent and past ecosystems. Mammal Review 52(4): 538-553.

Chucholl, F., Fiolka, F., Segelbacher, G., Epp, L.S. (2021) eDNA detection of native and invasive crayfish species allows for year-round monitoring and large-scale screening of lotic systems. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 9.

Schulte, L., Bernhardt, N., Stoof-Leichsenring, K. R., Zimmermann, H.H., Pestryakova, L.A, Epp, L.S.*, Herzschuh, U. (2021) Hybridization capture of larch (Larix Mill) chloroplast genomes from sedimentary ancient DNA reveals past changes of Siberian forests. *2nd senior author. Molecular Ecology Resources 21 (3): 801-815.

Ibrahim, A., Capo, E., Wessels, M., Martin, I., Meyer, A., Schleheck, D.*, Epp, L.S.* (2021) Anthropogenic impact on the historical phytoplankton community of Lake Constance reconstructed by multimarker analysis of sediment-core environmental DNA. *shared senior authorship. Molecular Ecology.

Epp, L.S. (2019) A global perspective for biodiversity history with ancient environmental DNA. Molecular Ecology 28(10).

Epp L.S., Kruse, S., Kath, N.J., Stoof-Leichsenring, K.R., Tiedemann, R., Pestryakova, L.A., Herzschuh, U.  (2018) Temporal and spatial patterns of mitochondrial haplotype and species distributions in Siberian larches inferred from ancient environmental DNA and modeling.  Scientific Reports. 8:17436.

Epp, L.S., Gussarova, G., Boessenkool, S., Olsen, J., Haile, J., Schrøder-Nielsen, A., Ludikova, A., Hassel, K., Stenøien, H. K., Funder, S., Willerslev E., Kjær, K., Brochmann, C. (2015) Lake sediment multi-taxon DNA from North Greenland records early post-glacial appearance of vascular plants and accurately tracks environmental changes. Quaternary Science Reviews 117: 152 - 163.

Boessenkool, S., McGlynn, G., Epp, L.S., Taylor, D., Pimentel, M., Gizaw, A., Nemomissa, A., Brochmann, C., Popp, M. (2014) Use of ancient sedimentary DNA from a biodiversity hotspot in the humid tropics as a novel conservation tool. Conservation Biology 28(2): 446 - 455.

Willerslev, E., Davison, J., Moora, M., Zobel, M., Coissac, E., Edwards, M.E., Lorenzen, E.D., Vestergård, M., Gussarova, G., Haile, J., Craine, J., Gielly, L., Boessenkool, S., Epp, L.S., Pearman, P.B., Cheddadi, R. (...) Brochmann, C., Taberlet, P. (2014) Fifty thousand years of Arctic vegetation and megafaunal diet. Nature 506(7486): 47 -

Epp, L.S., Boessenkool, S., Bellemain, E.P., Haile, J., Esposito, A., Riaz, T., Erséus, C., Gusarov, V., Edwards, M.E., Johnsen, A., Stenøien, H.K., Hassel, K., Kauserud, H., Yoccoz, N.G., Bråthen, K.A., Willerslev, E., Taberlet, P., Coissac, E., Brochmann, C. (2012) New environmental metabarcodes for analysing soil DNA: potential for studying past and present ecosystems. Molecular Ecology 21: 1821 - 1833.

Epp, L.S., Stoof, K.R., Trauth, M.H., Tiedemann, R. (2010) Historical genetics on a sediment core from a Kenyan lake: intraspecific genotype turnover in a tropical rotifer is related to past environmental changes. Journal of Paleolimnology. 43: 939 - 954. s10933-009-9379-7

further publications of my team and myself are listed here


Prof. Dr. Laura Epp
Junior Professor for Environmental Genomics in Aquatic Systems
+49 (0)7531 88 3391
Mainaustr. 252, 78464 Konstanz
Room U222

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