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Dr. Kathrin Theißinger

Visiting hours: on request
Team Leader "Conservation Genomics"

Research Interests

My team applies genetic and genomic methods as a tool to enable a better understanding and management of natural populations, particularly with regard to biodiversity conservation, population dynamics and invasive species management in a wide variety of freshwater species (turtles, amphibians, crayfish, and macrozoobenthos). 

Academic History

  • Since 09/20 Researcher at LOEWE Centre for Translational Biodiversity Genomics, Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre, Frankfurt, Germany
  • Since 06/12 Team Leader "Conservation Genetics" at the Institute of Environmental Science, University of Koblenz-Landau, Campus Landau, Germany
  • 06/11 - 04/19 Coordinator of the degree programme "Bachelor of Environmental Sciences" at the Institute of Environmental Science, University of Koblenz-Landau, Campus Landau, Germany
  • Since 04/11 Researcher and lecturer at the Institute of Environmental Science, University of Koblenz-Landau, Campus Landau, Germany
  • 07/07 – 03/11 PhD at the Institute of Molecular Ecology, Johannes Gutenberg-University of Mainz, Germany, in cooperation with the Senckenberg Research Institute, Department of Limnology and Conservation, Gelnhausen, Germany.
  • 09/06 - 06/07 Researcher at the Senckenberg Research Institute, Department of Limnology and Conservation, Gelnhausen, Germany.
  • 08/06 Diploma in biology, Institute of Molecular Ecology, Johannes Gutenberg-University of Mainz, Germany
  • 11/04 – 10/05 Master Thesis at the Institute of Applied Ecology, University of Canberra, Australia
  • 10/00 – 10/04 Biological studies Johannes Gutenberg-University of Mainz, Germany


  • Übung Genetik (Biologie Lehramt M.Sc., Modul 11.2)

    Current Research Projects

    • Amphibians in agricultural landscapes: chemical landscape fragmentation implemented in a habitat modeling approach - (DFG-project; Christoph Leeb). more info
    • Noble Crayfish Transcriptomics: Comparing molecular responses of the crayfish immune system to an Aphanomyces astaci infectionmore info
    • SystemLink: Crossing boundaries - Propagation of in-stream environmental alterations to adjacent terrestrial ecosystems.
    • Population management of noble crayfish (Astacus astacus) in Europe (Anne Schrimpf).
    • Genetic identification of the crayfish plague (Aphanomyces astaci) (Caterina Francesconi, Anne Schrimpf). more info
    • eDNA detection of the freshwater fish Misgurnus fossilis (Lena Kusanke)
    • Reintroduction and genetic characterization of the European Pond Turtle (Emys orbicularis) in the Upper Rhine Valley
    • Mating system analyses in the European Pond Turtle (Emys orbicularis)

    Former Research Projects

    • Metabarcoding of macrozoobenthos in Bti-treated swampsmore info
    • Survival in the mud: The impact of Irrigation on the genetic Variability of Earthworms considering Operational Taxonomic units (Lena Bauer)
    • Amphibians in the agricultural landscape - direct and indirect effects on population connectivity and viability (Patrick Lenhardt). more info
    • Genetic  identification of two poison frog species in zoos (P. Bodenseh, J.-C. Fischer)
    • Noble Crayfish phylogeography in Europe (A. Schrimpf)
    • Development of a reliable, non-invasive method for wild boar (Sus scrofa) population size estimation (K. Kolodziej)
    • Comparative phylogeography of cold adapted freshwater insects in Europe
    • Genetic identification of wild cats in Germany using hair samples
    • Mating system of flatback turtles (Natator depressus) in Australia

    Peer Review Publications

    (reprints on request)

    work in progress:

    • G Formenti, K Theissinger, C Fernandes, et al., (submitted) Bridging the gap between genomics and biodiversity conservation. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, under review
    • C Leeb, M Leschner, C Brühl, A. Sinsch, K Theissinger (submitted): Influence of landscape use on the biometry and population age of the palmate newt (Lissotriton helveticus). Salamandra, under review
    • LL Boštjančić, C Francesconi, C Rutz, L Hoffbeck, L Poidevin, A Kress, J Jussila, J Makonnen4, B Feldmeyer, M Bálint, O Lecompte, K Theissinger (submitted): Comparative transcriptomics analysis of noble crayfish and marbled crayfish immune response to crayfish plague disease. Genomics, under review
    • LL Boštjančić, C Francesconi, C Rutz, L Hoffbeck, L Poidevin, A Kress, J Jussila, J Makonnen4, B Feldmeyer, M Bálint, O Lecompte, K Theissinger (submitted): Dataset of the de novo assembly and annotation of the marbled and noble crayfish hepatopancreas transcriptomes, Genomics, under review
    • C Leeb, L Schuler, E Adams, C Brühl, K Theissinger (submitted): Temperature dependent pesticide toxicity in amphibians: an underestimated risk in face of climate change? Frontiers in Environmental Sciences, under review.
    • C Francesconi, M Pirvu, A Schrimpf, R Schulz, L Parvulescu, K Theissinger (submitted): Mating strategies of invasive versus indigenous crayfish: multiple paternity as driver for invasion success? Freshwater Crayfish, under review
    • J Jussila, C Francesconi, K Theissinger, H Kokko, Jenny Makkonen (submitted): Coevolution between noble crayfish and Aphanomyces astaci raising hope for balanced relationship. Freshwater Crayfish, under review.
    • AS Le Gal, K Theissinger, C Francesconi, B Quintard, JY Georges (submitted): Mating system is influenced by phenotype in the European pond turtle Emys orbicularis. Conservation Biology, under review


    • C Francesconi, J Makkonen, A Schrimpf, J Jussila, H Kokko, K Theissinger (accepted): Elevated resistance and latent infections caused by reduced virulence: marbled crayfish and noblecrayfish challenged with the crayfish plague disease agent. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution
    • J Jussila, L Edsman, I Maguire, J Dieguez-Uribeondo, K Theissinger (2021): money kills native ecosystems: european crayfish as an example. Frontiers in Ecology & Evolution, in press


    •  C Leeb, SL Kolbenschlag, A Laubscher, E Adams, C Brühl, K Theissinger (2020): Avoidance behavior of juvenile common toads (Bufo bufo) to surface contamination by different pesticidesPLoS ONE 15(11): e0242720.
    • LM Kusanke, J Panteleit, E Sünger, S Stoll, R Schulz, K Theissinger (2020): Aquatic and Sedimentary Environmental DNA: Comparing Sampling and Laboratory Methods for the Detection of an Endangered, Cryptic Fish Species (Misgurnus fossilis). Ecology and Evolution, DOI: 10.1002/ece3.654
    • C Leeb, C Brühl, K Theissinger (2020): Potential pesticide exposure during the post-breeding migration of the common toad (Bufo bufo) in a vineyard dominated landscape. Science of the Total Environment,
    • O Pacioglu, K Theissinger, A Alexa, C Samoila, R Schulz, A Schrimpf, JP Zubrod, O SÎrbu, M PÎrvu, S Lele, JI Jones and L Parvulescu (2020): Multifaceted implications behind the competition of native and invasive crayfish: a glimmer of hope for the native’s long-term survival? Biological Invasions,
    • NN FitzSimmons, SD Pittard, N McIntyre, MP Jensen, M Guinea, M Hamann, R Kennett, B Leis, CJ Limpus, DJ Limpus, MJ McCann, A McDonald, G McFarlane, CJ Parmenter, K Pendoley, B Prince, L Slater, K Theissinger, AD. Tucker, D Waayers, A Whiting, S Whiting (2020): Phylogeography, genetic stocks, and conservation implications for an Australian endemic marine turtle. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems, 30, 440-460. DOI: 10.1002/aqc.3270


    • K Theissinger, N Röder, S Allgeier, AJ Beermann, CA Brühl, A Friedrich, S Michiels and K Schwenk (2019): Mosquito control actions affect chironomid diversity in temporary wetlands of the Upper Rhine Valley. Molecular Ecology, 2019, 1-17.
    • J Panteleit, T Horvath, J Jussila, J Makkonen, W Perry, R Schulz, K Theissinger, A Schrimpf (2019): Invasive rusty crayfish (Faxonius rusticus) populations in North America infected with the crayfish plague disease agent (Aphanomyces astaci ). Freshwater Science, DOI: 10.1086/703417

    • R Andriantsoa, S Tönges, J Panteleit, K Theissinger, VC Carneiro, J Rasamy, and F Lyko (2019): Ecological plasticity and commercial impact of invasive marbled crayfish populations on Madagascar. BMC Ecology, 19, 8-17. DOI: 0.1186/s12898-019-0224-1


    • K Theissinger, A Kästel, V Elbrecht, J Makkonen, S Michiels, S Schmidt, S Allgeier, F Leese, CA Brühl (2018): Using DNA metabarcoding for assessing chironomid diversity and community change regarding mosquito control actions in temporary wetlands. Metabarcoding and Metagenomics, 1: e21060
      DOI 10.3897/mbmg.1.21060
    • J Makkonen, J Jussila, J Panteleit, NS Keller, A Schrimpf. K Theissinger, R Kortet, L Martín-Torrijos, JV Sandoval-Sierra, J Diéguez-Uribeondo, and H Kokko (2018): MtDNA allows the sensitive detection and haplotyping of the crayfish plague disease agent Aphanomyces astaci showing clues about its origin and migration. Parasitology, doi: 10.1017/S0031182018000227


    • A Schrimpf , M Piscione, R Cammaerts, D Herman, M Collas, A Jung, F Ottburg, I Roessink, X Rollin, R Schulz, K Theissinger (2017): Genetic characterization of Western European noble crayfish populations (Astacus astacus) for advanced conservation management strategies. Conservation Genetics. DOI 10.1007/s10592-017-0981-3
    • PP Lenhardt, CA Brühl, C Leeb, K Theissinger (2017): Amphibian population genetics in agricultural landscapes: Do non-visible barriers in viniculture drive the population structuring of the European common frog (Rana temporaria)? PeerJ, DOI 10.7717/peerj.3520
      • J Panteleit, NS Keller, H Kokko, J Jussila, J Makkonen, K Theissinger, A Schrimpf (2017): Investigation of ornamental crayfish reveals new carrier species of the crayfish plague pathogen (Aphanomyces astaci). Aquatic Invasions, 12, (1:) 77–83.
          • PP Lenhardt, K Theissinger (2017): Repeated randomized selection of genotypes for reliable population differentiation in data containing siblings. European Journal of Wildlife Research.  DOI 10.1007/s10344-016-1061-6


          • K Theissinger, C Falckenhayn, D Blande, A Toljamo, J Gutekunst, J Makkonen, J Jussila, F Lyko, A Schrimpf, R Schulz, H Kokko (2016): De Novo assembly and annotation of the freshwater crayfish Astacus astacus transcriptome. Marine Genomics. doi:10.1016/j.margen.2016.02.006


            • A Schrimpf, K Theissinger, J Dahlem, I Maguire, L Parvulescu, HK Schulz, R Schulz (2014): Phylogeography of noble crayfish (Astacus astacus) reveals multiple refugia. Freshwater Biology. 59, 761–776. doi:10.1111/fwb.12302


            • A Müller, P Lenhardt, K Theissinger (2013): Pros and Cons of external swabbing in amphibians. European Journal of Wildlife Research. DOI 10.1007/s10344-013-0747-2
            • P Lenhardt, RB Schäfer, K Theissinger, C Brühl (2013): An expert-based landscape permeability model for assessing the impact of agricultural management on amphibian migration. Basic and Applied Ecology, 14, 442–451.
            • K Theissinger, M Bálint, K Feldheim, P Haase, J Johannesen, I Laube, SU Pauls (2013): Glacial survival and postglacial recolonization of an arctic-alpine freshwater insect (Arcynopteryx dichroa, Plecoptera, Perlodidae) in Europe. Journal of Biogeography, 40, 236–248 doi:10.1111/j.1365-2699.2012.02793.x
            • K Kolodziej, I Nikolov, HK Schulz, K Theissinger, R Schulz (2013):Evaluation of Fecal Storage and DNA Extraction Methods in Wild Boar (Sus scrofa). Biochemical Genetics. DOI 10.1007/s10528-013-9573-1


            • K Kolodziej, HK Schulz, K Theissinger, C Ebert, U Hohmann, R Schulz (2012): Comparison of established methods for quantifying genotyping error rates in wildlife forensics. Conservation Genetic Resources, DOI 10.1007/s12686-012-9729-z


            • K Kolodziej, K Theissinger, J Brün, HK Schulz, R Schulz (2011): Determination of the minimum number of microsatellite markers for individual genotyping in wild boar (Sus scrofa) using a test with close relatives. European Journal of Wildlife Research, DOI 10.1007/s10344-011-0588-9
            • A Schrimpf, HK Schulz, K Theissinger, L Parvulescu, R Schulz (2011): The first large-scale genetic analysis of the vulnerable noble crayfish Astacus astacus reveals low haplotype diversity in central European populations. Knowledge and Management of Aquatic Ecosystems, 401, 35.
            • K Theissinger, M Bálint, P Haase, J Johannesen, I Laube, SU Pauls (2011): Molecular data and species distribution models reveal the Pleistocene history of the mayfly Ameletus inopinatus (Ephemeroptera: Siphlonuridae). Freshwater Biology, 56 (12), 2554–2566.
            • J Taubmann, K Theissinger, KA Feldheim, I Laube, W Graf, P Haase, J Johannesen, S Pauls (2011): Modelling range shifts and assessing genetic diversity distribution of the montane aquatic mayfly Ameletus inopinatus in Europe under climate change scenarios. Conservation Genetics, 12, 503 – 516.
            • M Bálint, S Domisch, CHM Engelhardt, P Haase, S Lehrian, J Sauer, K Theissinger, SU Pauls, C Nowack (2011) Cryptic biodiversity loss linked to global climate change. Nature Climate Change, 1, 313-318.
            • M Bálint, L Ujvárosi, K Theissinger, S Lehrian, N Mészáros, SU Pauls (2011): A neglected diversity hotspot: genetic variation in the Carpathians. In: Proceedings of Biodiversity Hotspots. Springer, Heidelberg.


            • SU Pauls, K Theissinger, L Ujvarosi, M Bálint, P Haase (2009): Patterns of population structure in two closely related, partially sympatric caddisflies in Eastern Europe: historic introgression, limited dispersal and cryptic diversity. Journal of the North American Benthological Society, 28 (3): 517-536.
            • K Theissinger, K Feldheim, A Seitz, SU Pauls (2009): Isolation and characterization of 11 polymorphic trinucleotide microsatellite markers in the stonefly Arcynopteryx compacta (Plecoptera: Perlodidae). Molecular Ecology Resources, 9, 357-359.
            • K Theissinger, NN FitzSimmons, CJ Limpus, CJ Parmenter, AD Phillott (2009): Mating system, multiple paternity and effective population size in the endemic flatback turtle (Natator depressus) in Australia. Conservation Genetics, 10, 329-346.


            • K Theissinger, K Feldheim, J Taubmann, A Seitz, SU Pauls (2008): Isolation and characterization of 10 highly polymorphic di- and trinucleotide microsatellite markers in the mayfly Ameletus inopinatus (Ephemeroptera: Siphlonuridae). Molecular Ecology Resources, 8, 1285-1287.




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