Research in Evolution and Ecology
We are organismal evolutionary ecologists keen to understand adaptations and ecological dynamics in complex and changing environments, including the role of human impact on species, communities and ecosystems, and implications for conservation.
As field biologists we apply observational and experimental studies in natural environments in Germany and abroad. These are supplemented by laboratory experiments, theoretical modelling, or morphological, physiological and molecular analyses. Our research is also relevant for stakeholders in conservation and beyond.
Core research topics and associated groups
Behavioural ecology: Fitness-consequences of behaviour in animals (Foerster, Triebskorn, Michiels) and plants (Gruntmann, Tielbörger).
Global change ecology: Individual, population, species and community responses to climate change (Allhoff, Tielbörger, Ruppert, Köhler), land use intensification (Tielbörger, Ruppert, Anthes), and species invasions (Bossdorf, Tielbörger, Gruntman).
Conservation ecology: Strategies in large-scale (Thomassen, Bucharova) and small-scale (Anthes, Betz) habitat, species and community conservation.
Ecophysiology and ecotoxicology: Organismic responses to environmental stress and toxins (Köhler, Triebskorn).
Evolutionary ecology: Ultimate and proximate mechanisms of adaptive evolution, including epigenetics (Bossdorf, Michiels, Thomassen, Köhler, Gruntman, Tielbörger).
Integrative morphology and bionics: Ecological and functional consequences of animal design and its transfer to engineering (Betz, Fischer).
Organismic interactions: Interactions within and among plants, fungi, or animals (Dietz, Gruntman, Tielbörger).
Theoretical ecology: Fundamental rules determining dynamics of populations, communities and ecological networks (Allhoff, Tielbörger).
Visual ecology: Adaptive value of sender-receiver systems with a focus on marine fish (Michiels, Bitton) and arthropods (Fischer).