Sarah Crawford

Name: Crawford, Sarah, Dr.
Room: 3.316
Phone: +49 (0) 69 798 42169
Fax: +49 (0) 69 798 42161

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Position: Group Leader (Stress Ecology, Sediment and Evolutionary Toxicology)

Research Interests

The research focus of this working group is on the effects of multiple stressors and contaminated sediments to aquatic organisms. Long-term exposure to chemicals or environmental stressors can lead to genetic adaptation in exposed populations due to directional selection favouring genotypes that are more tolerant. However, an increased genetic adaptation to chemical stressors can result in a decrease in tolerance to other stressors, such as changes in temperature, which may result in negative impact on populations of aquatic biota. The emerging fields of evolutionary toxicology and resurrection ecology allow for the determination of changes in the function and fitness of genes evolving in response to changing environments, without the time constraints of traditional multigenerational tests. Evolutionary toxicology investigates the effects of stressors on the genetics of natural populations, while resurrection ecology examines individuals and populations hatched from dormant specimens retrieved from dated lake sediment layers. Our aim is to assesses the micro-evolutionary adaptations of natural populations to multiple stressors in freshwater ecosystems. This research allows us to gain insight into long-term and potentially future evolutionary responses of aquatic organisms, providing feedback for risk assessment and future management of lake systems in changing environments.

Current and previous work
  • Acute and chronic toxicity tests with resurrected Daphnia magna from sediment cores
  • (Paleo)omic techniques to investigate the processes and mechanisms of microevolutionary adaptation
  • Spiked and field-contaminated sediment toxicity tests with Chironomus dilutus
  • Effect-based tools to investigate aqueous and sediment-bound contaminants (bioassay battery with in vitro & in vivo assays, biomarkers, omics)
  • Bioavailability and toxic effects of sediment-bound contaminants
  • Consequences of flood events related to remobilized contaminants from sediments
Research fields
  • Evolutionary and aquatic toxicology
  • Paleoecotoxicology, (paleo)genomics and (paleo)limnology
  • Contaminant bioavailability
  • Sediment weight-of-evidence approach and assessment
  • Biological monitoring (bioassays, biomarkers)
  • Benthic invertebrates and community assessment
  • Environmental Risk Assessment

Current Projects

  • “Stress Ecology, Sediment and Evolutionary Toxicology" working group
  • Evolutionary Toxicology and Resurrection Ecology
  • Sediment Ecotoxicology

Curriculum vitae


Working Group Leader Stress Ecology, Sediment and Evolutionary Toxicology, Dept. of Evolutionary Ecology and Environmental Toxicology (E3T), Institute for Ecology, Evolution and Biodiversity, Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main, Germany


Postdoctoral Researcher & Working Group Leader (Stress Ecology & Sediment Toxicology), Dept. of Ecosystem Analysis, Institute for Environmental Research, RWTH Aachen University, Aachen, Germany


NSERC CREATE (HERA) Human and Ecological Risk Assessment Training Program – Certificate of Risk Assessment Training, University of Saskatchewan, Canada


PhD in Toxicology at the University of Saskatchewan, Canada. Thesis title: Quantifying and modeling the bioavailability and toxicity of sediment-associated uranium to a model freshwater benthic organism, Chironomus dilutus


Graduate Teaching Fellow, Toxicology Centre, University of Saskatchewan, Canada (Biology and Toxicology Undergraduate & Graduate level)


Research Scientist, Climate land and the environment & Forage Biotechnology, AgResearch Grasslands, New Zealand


Regulatory Assistant, Research & Biological Development, Syngenta Canada, Inc., Canada


Laboratory Assistant, Dept. Environmental Biology, University of Guelph, Canada


Water Resource Technician, Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Canada


Bachelor of Science in Environmental Biology (Honours, Toxicology), University of Guelph, Canada