Lehrstuhl für Paläontologie & Geobiologie




Prof. Dr. Bettina Reichenbacher

1) Teleost Fishes (fossil & extant)

I am interested in understanding why speciation happens. I intend to understand the processes that form micro- and macroevolutionary changes. As far as possible, my students work based on a "total evidence approach". This means study of fossil and extant species based on data derived from skeletons, otoliths, dentitions, scales and, in the case of extant species, molecular sequences.
Research questions focus on evolutionary processes in the context of the geological history and environmental changes.
Groups currently under study:

  • Killifishes, with emphasis on Aphanius from Iran, click here for more information.
  • Gobiiformes, with focus on the evolutionary history
  • Cichlidae, with focus on the fossil record from East Africa (Kenya)

Selected publications


  • Masoudi, M., Esmaeili, H.R., Teimori, A., Gholami, Z., Gholamhosseini, A., Sayyadzadeh, G., Keivany, Y., Reichenbacher, B. (2016). Sympatry and possible hybridization among species of the killifish genus Aphanius Nardo, 1827 (Teleostei: Cyprinodontidae) in Southwestern Iran. Limnologica, 59 (2016): 10–20.
  • Altner, M. & Reichenbacher, B. (2015). †Kenyaichthyidae fam. nov. and †Kenyaichthys gen. nov. – First Record of a Fossil Aplocheiloid Killifish (Teleostei, Cyprinodontiformes). PLoS ONE 10(4):e0123056. This article is open access, please click here.
  • Reichenbacher, B. & Reichard, M. (2014). Otoliths of Five Extant Species of the Annual Killifish Nothobranchius from the East African Savannah. – PLoS ONE 9(11): e112459. This article is open access, please click here.
  • Esmaeili, H.R., Teimori, A., Gholami, Z., Reichenbacher, B. (2014). Two new species of the tooth-carp Aphanius (Teleostei: Cyprinodontidae) and the evolutionary history of the Iranian inland and inland-related Aphanius species. Zootaxa 3786(3): 246-268.
  • Teimori, A., Jawad, L.A.J., Al-Kkarusi, L.H., Al-Mamry, J.N. & Reichenbacher, B. (2012). Late Pleistocene to Holocene diversification and zoogeography of the Arabian killifish Aphanius dispar inferred from otolith morphology. Scientia Marina, 76(4): 637-645. [Featured Article]. This article is open access, please click here. You can also download the pdf here.


  • Reichenbacher, B., Gregorová, R., Holcová, K., Šanda, R., Vukić, J., Přikryl, T. (2017). Discovery of the oldest Gobius (Teleostei, Gobiiformes) from a marine ecosystem of Early Miocene age. Journal of Systematic Palaeontology. In press.
  • Gierl, C. & Reichenbacher, B. (2015): A new Fossil Genus of Gobiiformes From the Miocene Characterized by a Mosaic Set of Characters. Copeia, 103(4): 792–805.
  • Gierl, C., Reichenbacher, B., Gaudant, J., Erpenbeck, D. & Pharisat, A. (2013). An Extraordinary Gobioid Fish Fossil from Southern France. PLoS ONE 8(5): e64117. This article is open access, please click here.


  • Altner, M., Schliewen, U., Penk, S.B.R., Reichenbacher, B. (2017). †Tugenchromis pickfordi gen. et sp. nov. from the upper Miocene – a stem-group cichlid of the ‘East African Radiation’. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 37(2). In press.nach oben

2) Kenya Project: Fish Fossils from Miocene Palaeolakes in the Central Kenya Rift and their Palaeoenvironmental Implications

We study the composition of the fossil fish fauna, co-occurring other fossils such as pollen and the sedimentary environment. Palaeontological and sedimentological data are used to reconstruct the Miocene palaeoenvironment and palaeoclimate changes (for details see Kenya Project).nach oben

3) Palaeogene–Neogene stratigraphy, biota and palaeoecosystems from the Paratethys and adjacent areas

Research questions include topics on biostratigraphy and chronostratigraphy, palaeogeography, regional geology, palaeoenvironment and palaeoclimate. See also Molasse Research (in German).

Most Recent papers:

  • Pippèrr, M. & Reichenbacher, B. (2017). Late Early Miocene palaeoenvironmental changes in the North Alpine Foreland Basin. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 468: 485–502.
  • Sant, K., Kirscher, U., Reichenbacher, B., Pippèrr, M., Jung, D., Doppler, G., Krijgsman, W. (2017). Late Burdigalian sea retreat from the North Alpine Foreland Basin: new magnetostratigraphic age constraints. Global and Planetary Change, 152: 38–50.
  • Pippèrr, M., Reichenbacher, B., Doppler, G., Hagmaier, M. & Jung, D. (2016): The northern coast of the Ottnangian (middle Burdigalian, early Miocene) Molasse Sea in Germany: sediments, foraminiferal assemblages and biostratigraphy. International Journal of Earth Sciences, 105: 1055–1085.
  • Jost, J., Kälin, D., Börner, S., Vasilyan, D., Lawver, D., Reichenbacher, B. (2015). Vertebrate microfossils from the Upper Freshwater Molasse in the Swiss Molasse Basin: Implications for the evolution of the North Alpine Foreland Basin during the Miocene Climate Optimum. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 426: 22–33.
  • Reichenbacher, B., Krijgsman, W., Lataster, Y., Pippèrr, M., van Baak, C.G.C., Chang, L., Kälin, D., Jost, J., Doppler, G., Jung, D., Prieto, J., Abdul Aziz, H., Böhme, M., Garnish, J., Kirscher, U., Bachtadse, V. (2013). An alternative magnetostratigraphic framework for the Lower Miocene (Burdigalian / Ottnangian, Karpatian) in the North Alpine Foreland Basin. Swiss Journal of Geosciences 106: 309–334.