dr. M.E. (Martine) Maan

Rosalind Franklin Fellow


Research units:

Research interests



Our research is focused on understanding how new species are formed. Specifically, we ask how and when adaptation to different ecological conditions contributes to the development of reproductive barriers between subpopulations, such that they may become separate species.

In sexually reproducing organisms, selective mating is a critical step in the process of speciation. Such selective mating can be generated by geographic isolation, but this mechanism leaves many cases unexplained: new species form even when spatial isolation is absent or incomplete. In these cases, selective mating is the outcome of individual behavioural decisions, ultimately driven by natural selection.

We study how the exploitation of a new ecological opportunity, such as a different spatial niche or alternative food source, affects the behaviour of individuals in such a way that gene flow between populations is reduced.



Ongoing projects:

Divergent visual adaptation and sexual selection in cichlid fish 

Parasite-mediated divergent selection

Phenotypic plasticity and species divergence


  1. Cichlidogyrus infection may reveal a role of parasites in an adaptive radiation

    Gobbin, T., Vanhove, M., Maan, M. & Seehausen, O. 20-Aug-2017

    Research output: ScientificPoster

  2. Visual adaptation and microhabitat choice in two closely related cichlid species from Lake Victoria

    Mameri, D., van Kammen, C., Groothuis, T., Seehausen, O. & Maan, M. 2017

    Research output: ScientificPoster

  3. Community assembly in Lake Tanganyika cichlid fish: Quantifying the contributions of both niche-based and neutral processes

    Janzen, T., Alzate Vallejo, A., Muschick, M., Maan, M. E., Plas ,van der, F. & Etienne, R. S. Feb-2017 In : Ecology and evolution. 7, 4, p. 1057-1067 11 p.

    Research output: Scientific - peer-reviewArticle

  4. Developmental effects of visual environment on species-assortative mating preferences in Lake Victoria cichlid fish

    Wright, D. S., Demandt, N., Alkema, J. T., Seehausen, O., Groothuis, T. G. G. & Maan, M. E. Feb-2017 In : Journal of Evolutionary Biology. 30, 2, p. 289-299 11 p.

    Research output: Scientific - peer-reviewArticle

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Press / Media
  1. Lichtregime bepaalt overleving cichlide

    Martine Maan


    2 items of media coverage

    Press / Media: Research

  2. Fish thrive in the right kind of light

    Martine Maan


    1 media contribution

    Press / Media: Research

  3. Jonge academici krijgen stem

    Martine Maan


    1 item of media coverage

    Press / Media: Other

View all (7) »