Dr. Monica M. Sheffer


Zoologisches Institut und Museum
Allgemeine und Systematische Zoologie

Loitzer Str. 26
Gebäude 3.3, Raum 0.48
17489 Greifswald

Tel.: +49 (0)3834 420-4245

Research Interests

I am interested in using and developing molecular techniques to answer questions about animals’ ecology, especially - but not exclusively - in the context of global climate change and adaptation to extreme conditions.

Current Projects

- Microbiome of Argiope bruennichi
- Population genomics and the role of introgression in local adaptation
- Physiological limits, energy use, and cold tolerance strategy of Argiope bruennichi

Past Projects

My work at UC Berkeley made use of Next Generation Sequencing paired with field observations to describe and quantify the dynamics of dietary and spatial niche partitioning in three web-sharing Hawaiian spider genera.

Sheffer, M.M.; Hoppe, A.; Krehenwinkel, H.; Uhl, G.; Kuss, A.W.; Jensen, L.; Jensen, C.; Gillespie, R.G.; Hoff, K. & Prost, S. 2021. Chromosome-level reference genome of the European wasp spider Argiope bruennichi: a resource for studies on range expansion and evolutionary adaptation. GigaScience. DOI: doi.org/10.1093/gigascience/giaa148 PDF

We sequenced, assembled, and annotated the first chromosome-level genome for a spider.

Winter, S.; Prost, S.; de Raad, J.; Coimbra, R.; Wolf, M.; Nebenfuehr, M.; Held, A.; Kurzawe, M.; Papapostolou, R.; Tessien, J.; Bludau, J.; Kelch, A.; Gronefeld, S.; Schoeneberg, Y.; Zeitz, C.; Zapf, K.; Prochotta, D.; Murphy, M.; Sheffer, M.M.; Sonnewald, M.; Nilsson, M.; Janke, A. 2020. Chromosome-level genome assembly of a benthic associated syngnathiformes species: the common dragonet, Callionymus lyra. GigaByte 1. DOI: doi.org/10.46471/gigabyte.6 PDF

A masters course generated a chromosome-level genome of a fish species. I contributed to this work by generating proximity-ligation Hi-C data, scaffolding with which allowed the genome to reach chromosome level.

Sheffer, M.M.; Uhl, G.; Prost, S.; Lueders, T.; Urich, T.; Bengtsson, M.M. 2020. Tissue- and population-level microbiome analysis of the wasp spider Argiope bruennichi identified a novel dominant bacterial symbiont. Microorganisms 8: 8. DOI: doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms8010008 PDF

We describe the microbiome of different tissue types in Argiope bruennichi and discover a new-to-science bacterial symbiont which is vertically transmitted.

Curriculum Vitae
April 2018 - Present University of Greifswald; PhD candidate
February 2018 Awarded Masters Equivalency certification from the University of Greifswald
August 2017 - February 2018 University of Greifswald; visiting researcher
May 2017 Awarded Bachelor of Science degree from UC Berkeley with Honors and Distinction in Molecular Environmental Biology with a concentration in Insect Biology
August 2013 - May 2017 University of California, Berkeley; Bachelors student
Scholarships, Grants, Awards
California Conservation Genomics Project, research funding (see website)
RISE Germany Fellowship (for student research internship)
UC Berkeley Institute of European Studies Berkeley-Greifswald Scholarship (for student research internship)
Nikon Poster Prize at the German Zoological Society Meeting: 1st place
Conference-wide Poster Competition at the German Zoological Society Meeting: 3rd place
RESPONSE Exchange Grant for Research on Biological Responses to Novel and Changing Environments
UC Berkeley Institute of European Studies Berkeley-Greifswald Scholarship
UC Berkeley Institute of International Studies: Undergraduate Merit Scholarship
UC Berkeley Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on Sustainability: Sustainability Award Winner
UC Berkeley Institute of International Studies: Best Research Summary
Margaret C. Walker Fund for Teaching and Research in Systematic Entomology
UC Berkeley College of Natural Resources Travel Grant
Hopland BioBlitz Photography Competition: First Place
UC Berkeley Sponsored Projects for Undergraduate Research (Student-Initiated Project)
UC Berkeley Academic Opportunity Fund
Professional Affiliations
Society for Experimental Biology
European Society of Arachnology
Pacific Coast Entomological Society
UC Berkeley Entomology Club, President and Founder
Bay Area Ant Group
Organization for Tropical Studies
Entomology Students Organization
Institute of International Studies Junior Scholars Program
Research internships
June 2015 – May 2017 Dr. Rosemary Gillespie’s lab; research assistant and coordinator for Dimensions of Biodiversity project
June 2015 – December 2015 Dr. Kent Daane’s lab; research assistant for project on the biological control of Drosophila suzukii
Fieldwork Experience
January 2017 Two-week field course on the ecology and evolution of arachnids at La Selva Biological Research Station in Costa Rica
January 2016 - May 2017 Collected Habronattus formosus jumping spiders in Northern California for Dr. Damian Elias’ lab
August 2016 Collected Formica aserva slave-making ants at Blodgett Forest Research Station in Northern California for Dr. Neil Tsutsui’s lab
May 2016 – July 2016 Honors thesis fieldwork; collected and observed Orsonwelles, Ariamnes, and Argyrodes spiders on the Hawaiian islands of Kauai, Oahu, and Molokai
May 2016 – July 2016 Field assistant collecting Tetragnatha spiders and native parasitoid wasps on the Hawaiian Islands
April 2016 Hopland Bioblitz; collected, and photographed insects and spiders, helped teach community members about local biodiversity
January 2016 Collected whole arthropod community samples using non-attractive sampling methods for Dr. Rosemary Gillespie’s Dimensions of Biodiversity project
Teaching Experience
2017 Spider Biology: Undergraduate Student Instructor; helped students identify and preserve arachnids, planned and led collecting field trips
2016 General Entomology: Undergraduate Student Instructor; helped students identify and preserve insects, planned and led collecting field trips, held exam review sessions