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RitschardPh. D. Student
Biology and Evolution of Marine Organisms Department (SZN)

Dept. for Neuroscience and Developmental Biology (U. Vienna)

Tel.: +43-1-4277-57011
e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn
Villa Comunale
80121 Naples - Italy
Tel.: +39 081 5833 281

Curriculum Vitae

Director of Studies
: Oleg Simakov (U. Vienna), Graziano Fiorito (SZN)
Program: PhD programme in Life Sciences (Biology), University of Vienna, Austria.

Research Interests

Coleoid cephalopods (cuttlefish, squid and octopus) are fascinating to both scientists and the general public, due to vertebrate-like development, the richness of their behavior and complex brains. With the increasing availability of cephalopod genomes, we have now also started to unravel their underlying genomic innovation. Previous studies have revealed highly dynamic genome architecture in cephalopods compared to other invertebrates, suggesting functional importance of genome rearrangements during the emergence of this clade. This remodeling possibly facilitated the evolution of many cephalopod and species-specific gene families. It is of my personal interest to address the evolutionary and regulatory dynamics of those novel genes in cephalopods and investigate their function in establishing organismal innovation at the developmental and morphological levels. My main goal is to contribute to the fundamental understanding of the transitions at the genomic and developmental levels that happened during the origin of this highly diverse, morphologically and behaviorally complex clade.


Ritschard, E.A., Guerrero-Kommritz, J. & J. A. Sánchez (2019). “First molecular approach to the octopus fauna from the southern Caribbean”. Peer J. https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.7300

Ritschard, E.A., Fitak, R. R., Simakov O. & S. Johnsen (2019). “Genomic signatures of G-protein-coupled receptor expansions reveal functional transitions in the evolution of cephalopod signal transduction”. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences. https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2018.2929

Zarrella, I., Herten, K., Maes, G.E. Tai, S., Yang, M., Seuntjens, E., Ritschard, E.A., Zach, M., Styfhals, R., Sanges, R., Simakov, O., Ponte, G. & G. Fiorito (2019). The survey and reference assisted assembly of the Octopus vulgaris genome. Scientific Data. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41597-019-0017-6

Ritschard, E.A., Whitelaw, B., Albertin, C.B, Cooke, I.R., Strugnell, J.M. & O. Simakov (2019). Coupled Genomic Evolutionary Histories as Signatures of Organismal Innovations in Cephalopods. BioEssays. https://doi.org/10.1002/bies.201900073

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