Institut für Evolution und Ökologie
Welcome to the Institute of Evolution and Ecology!
Research and teaching in EvE focuses on how individuals, populations and communities interact and cope with environmental variability. We synergistically address a wide variety of perspectives and methodologies in evolutionary ecology, including plant and animal ecology, integrative botany and zoology, ecotoxicology, and conservation.
05 Jan 2018
Publication: Decision-making in plants under competition
Plants can respond to light competition in three strategies: vertical growth, promoting competitive dominance; shade tolerance, maximizing performance under shade; or lateral growth, offering avoidance of competition. Researchers at the Plant Ecology group tested the hypothesis that plants can choose between these responses, according to their abilities to competitively overcome their neighbors. Their results (Nature Communications) support this hypothesis and demonstrate decision-making abilities in plants.
> Univerity Press Release
19 Dec 2017
Publication: Theoretical clarification of biomimeticsBiomimetics is primarily a practical endeavour where biologists and engineers seek optimized technical products and processes. The theoretical and conceptual underpinnings of the knowledge transfer – with implications also for Biology – have thus far been poorly investigated. Within the SFB-TRR 141, Manfred Drack et al. (Bioinspiration & Biomimetics) now addressed this gap. A “technomorphic” approach is used to reveal the importance of an accurate understanding of functions and working principles.
14 Dec 2017
Publication: Retinal anatomy informs about fish vision and lifestyleEnvironment and lifestyle exert selective pressure on, and shape the evolution of, visual systems. Eye anatomy thus often reveals speciali-sations to ecological niches and light environments. Roland Fritsch et al. (Front. Neuroanatomy) analysed retinal anatomy of the benthic Mediterranean fish Tripterygion delaisi using retinal wholemounts and histology. The spatial distribution, patterns, and density of photo-receptors and retinal ganglion cells revealed a pronounced fovea and other adaptations to a micro-predatory and crypto-benthic lifestyle.
08 Dec 2017
Workshop: Conservation strategies for farmland birds40 researchers, ornithologists and representatives of local conservation authorities met at the University of Tübingen to initiate efficient agro-environmental schemes (AES) supporting the Corn Bunting, a highly endangered target species of farmland bird conservation. Scientific surveys to evaluated AES efficiency will be coordinated within the MAGer project hosted by the Animal Evolutionary Ecology group.
07 Dec 2017
Publication: evaluating the limits to neuronal miniaturization in insectsMost studies on the limits to miniaturization in insect brains rely on 2D-data, histological sections imaged by light microscopy, or electron micrographs of ultrathin sections imaged by transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Stefan Fischer et al. (Evolutionary Biology of Invertebrates) now tested (J.Comp.Neurol.) the validity of transferring 2D-information to the third dimension by using a 3D image stack from serial-section TEM (ssTEM) of the optic neuropiles of the miniature parasitic wasp Trichogramma brassicae and evaluated the limits to neuronal miniaturization in insects.
16 Nov 2017
Conference: Meeting StEvE 2017 a big success
More than 80 students and scientists attended this year's Meeting of Students in Evolution and Ecology (StEvE) in Tübingen, hosted by the Plant Evolutionary Ecology group. Please find a short summary and pictures on the StEvE pages.
14 Nov 2017
Publication: Ecomorphological niche evolution in Stenus beetles
Using Phylogenetic Generalized Least Squares (PGLS), researchers at the Evolutionary Biology of Invertebrates group studied the functional and ecological relevance of adhesive mouthpart morphology in 14 predatory Stenus rove beetles (Zool. J. Linn. Soc.). They revealed how interspecific differences in the surface area of adhesive pads (paraglossae) at the labial tips affect the adhesive forces during predatory attack and thus prey-capture success.
|13 Nov 2017|
Publication: Calibration of a popular biotestThe fish embryo toxicity test with the zebrafish is one of the most frequently applied ecotoxicological tests worldwide. In a recent study, Mona Schweizer (Animal Physiological Ecology) and colleagues have published data on the thermal sensitivity of one of the most sensitive endpoints of this test, the heart rate, which can be used for calibration purposes (Bull Environ Contamin Toxicol).
06 Nov 2017
Experiment: Set-up of large plant trait experiment finishedThe Plant Ecology has set-up a new experiment within the HEDGE2 project on plant traits responses to common grassland management practices at Heuberger Tor. In the last weeks 2880 pots were dug into the heavy soil and sown with 30 common grassland species. PhD student Ronja Ratzbor is eagerly awaiting germination of seeds.
19 Oct 2017
Exhibition: Baubionik in Stuttgart
On October 18, the special exhibition baubionik – biologie beflügelt architektur opened at the natural history museum Schloß Rosenstein in Stuttgart. It displays the results of the first DFG-funding phase for the Collaborative Research Council TRR 141 “Biological design and integrative structures”. The Evolutionary Biology of Invertebrates group (Oliver Betz) is partner in this project.
18 Oct 2017
EVE seminar: Updated program
We have updated the schedule for the EVE seminar series in the winter term 2017/18. The presentations are every Wednesday at 17ct in lecture hall N10. For exceptions and program details check the EVE seminar pages.
|10 Oct 2017|
Publication: Advanced wastewater treatment improves fish health
Conventional technology fails on effectively removing micropollutants from wastewater. In a seven years study, members of the Animal Physiological Ecology group for the first time showed the beneficial effects of activated carbon-based advanced wastewater treatment on the health status of fish abundant in the connected river (Sabrina Wilhelm et al., Aquat Toxicol, project SchussenAktivplus).
18 Sep 2017
Publication: Determinants of genetic structure in African mammals
As part of a larger collaborative effort, Henri Thomassen and former MSc student Katrin Hils investigated the roles of Pleistocene refugia, rivers, and the environment in the diversification of African duikers. The study (BMC Evol. Biol.) highlights the historical impact of Pleistocene fragmentation and the current influence of environmental variation on genetic structure in medium-sized mammals. It helps in informing conservation decisions that take into account the adaptive potential required for responding to current and future habitat change.
13 Sep 2017
Hilgendorf Lecture: Updated program
We have updated the schedule for the Hilgendorf Lecture series in winter 2017/18. Please check details on our four internationally reknown speakers and their talks spanning from paleoanthropology and human evolution to pitfalls when experimentally studying traces of sexual and natural selection.
11 Sep 2017
11 Sep 2017
Congratulations: Professorship offered to former coworker
PD Dr. Michael Heethoff, former research associate in the Department of Evolutionary Biology of Invertebrates, has now been offered the chair in Evolutionary Animal Ecology at the university of Bayreuth.
|25 Aug 2017|
Funding: Toxicity of per- and polyfluorinated chemicals
Heinz Köhler and Rita Triebskorn (Animal Physiological Ecology) obtained a new project from the state of Baden-Württemberg aiming at setting thresholds for the consumption of previously less considered per- and polyfluorinated chemicals. Background is the current case of contamination of farmland around Rastatt and Baden-Baden which is investigated by an interdisciplinary research consortium.
15 Aug 2017
Publication: (Ultra-)Morphology of the Madagascar hissing cockroach
Most insect orders have dedicated tarsal morphologies to enhance adhesion and friction on various substrates. In the new work, Christian Schmitt and Oliver Betz (Cell Tissue Res) used electron microscopy to reveal structural evidence for the function of the pliable attachment pads of a cockroach in producing, storing, and secreting an adhesion-mediating secretion and releasing it to the exterior.
11 Aug 2017
Publication: Trout juveniles are affected by diclofenac residues in water
Being on the EU Watch List for emerging water pollutants the widely used analgesic diclofenac is discussed to be included as a substance of priority in the EU Water Framework Directive. Complementing this debate, Simon Schwarz (Animal Physiological Ecology) and colleagues report survival and behaviour of brown trout juveniles to be particularly sensitive to diclofenac in the ppb range (Sci Total Environ).
09 Aug 2017
Publication: Determinants of spatial genetic variation in animals
In new work (Cons. Biol.), Henri Thomassen and collaborators compared the spatial patterns of genetic variation in several birds, reptiles, and mammals in Southern California, finding species-specific contributions of anthropogenic and natural barriers to gene flow. These findings can help conservation planning in determining key drivers of population deterioration.
09 Aug 2017
Award: Stiftung für Mensch & Umwelt rewards "Bunte Wiese"
The initiative "Bunte Wiese" has received a special prize for urban conservation within the program "Wir tun was für Bienen", awarded by the foundation "Stiftung für Mensch & Umwelt". The Bunte Wiese initiative was founded in 2010 to promote habitats for plants and insects in urban areas, now taking care of 40 dedicated "colourful meadows" in Tübingen.
30 Jul 2017
Publication: First German guideline for comprehensive water quality assessment by means of biological effects
On behalf of the German Ministry of Education and Research Rita Triebskorn (Animal Physiological Ecology) and four colleagues compiled the first guideline for toxicological and ecotoxicological assessment of drinking water, surface water and wastewater on the basis of biomarkers and biotests in Germany (RiSKWa status paper).
24 Jul 2017
Funding: New DFG project on endophytic fungi and invasive plants
New DFG-funded research of the Plant Evolutionary Ecology group studies interactions between endophytic fungi, Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica) and native plants. Sigisfredo Garnica, Madalin Parepa, Oliver Bossdorf and cooperation partner Frank Waller (Würzburg) combine field surveys with greenhouse experiments to understand the role of endophytes in knotweed invasions.
23 Jul 2017
Publicity: Exhibition "Bunte Wiese" opens 03 August
The initiative "Bunte Wiese” (colourful meadow) opens a public exhibition on August 3rd. Explore meadows with all senses, taking advantage of spectacular photographs, a fun quiz, interactive exhibits, or guidance of establishing your own colorful meadow. Bunte Wiese is a long-term project for increasing biodiversity in public green spaces in the city of Tübingen.
18 Jul 2017
Publication: Nanoparticles protect midges from acute pesticide action
Following recent findings on the toxicity-diminishing function of non-adsorbing Al2O3 nanoparticles (PLOS ONE) Carla Lorenz et al. also found strongly absorbing zeolite nanoparticles to protect particle-feeding Chironomid midge larvae from the acute action of the neonicotinoid insecticide thiacloprid (Peer J).
03 Jul 2017
Workshop: CASCADE kick-off meeting
Project partners gathered in Tübingen for a one-day Planning Meeting on 13 June 2017 to review project objectives, implementation and the role of the science-stakeholder process. CASCADE is a project within the BioTip call of the BMBF. It develops science-based strategies for identifying and managing potentially irreversible losses of ecosystem services in the Jordan River region.
03 Jul 2017
Welcome: Assistant Professor Korinna T. Allhoff
We like to welcome Korinna Allhoff, a new assistant professor in the Plant Ecology group of Katja Tielbörger. Korinna is an expert on modelling ecological networks. She has strong interest in (long-term) responses of ecological networks to changing environmental conditions, e.g. due to global warming or species invasions.
28 Jun 2017
Award: Bunte Wiese retains status as UN biodiversity project
The initiative "Bunte Wiese” (colourful meadow) has been re-awarded the status of UN-decade project on biodiversity. Bunte Wiese is a long-term project for increasing biodiversity in public green spaces in the city of Tübingen. It has been initiated and run by students together with staff from the Institute of Evolution and Ecology (details).
22 Jun 2017
Publication: Heating and cooling of terrestrial snails
The shell of helicoid snails often displays a wide range of colour polymorphisms which are discussed to differ in respect to thermal absorption of solar radiation and thus being subject to climate selection. In a joint project with Le Havre University, France, members of the Animal Physiological Ecology group, however, showed shell pigmentation to be of minor importance for heating and heat loss in a moderate climate (J Therm Biol).
02 Jun 2017
Funding: Conservation strategies for farmland birds
Nils Anthes (Animal Evolutionary Ecology) received new funding by the Stiftung Naturschutzfonds Baden-Württemberg. A 3,5 year project in applied species conservation will accompany intense attempts to support Corn Bunting populations. This representative farmland inhabitant is on the verge of local extirpation in the federal state.
15 May 2017
Funding: 3 EvE projects within DFG biodiversity exploratories
Katja Tielbörger (Plant Ecology), Oliver Bossdorf and Niek Scheepens (Plant Evolutionary Ecology) have received funding within the 5th call of the DFG biodiversity exploratory programme. The projects investigate the interactions between changes in land use, organism diversity and ecosystem functioning.
|10 May 2017|
Research: Manfred Drack editor of new Biomimetics journal
Manfred Drack has been elected Associate Editor of the new Journal of Biomimetics in Engineering. Congratulations!
05 May 2017
Funding: BMBF-BioTip funding to Plant Ecology group
Jan Ruppert and Katja Tielbörger are part of a recently funded project within the BioTip call of the BMBF. NamTip will investigate ecological tipping points in rangelands of Namibia. It is a cooperation of several German and Namibian research institutes coordinated by the Rangeland Ecology group at University of Cologne.
28 April 2017
Publication: Adaptive function of red fluorescence in fish
Many marine fish show striking red fluorescence, but whether these patterns are adaptive remains elusive. Ulrike Harant et al. (BMC Ecology) show that red fluorescent fish were more successful in catching copepods under red fluorescence-friendly ambient light spectra, suggesting that red fluorescent colours contribute to active photolocation in "red-deprived" marine environments.
Teaching: Botanik 2 - Flora und Vegetation SW--Deutschlands
This new advanced botany course (Kehl & Koltzenburg) will be offered for the first time in summer 2017. The course aims at deepening species knowledge and teaches standard vegetation classification methods. The course is open for MSc Geoecology and BSc Biology (3rd years).
Check details in Campus.
Evolution and Ecology seminar
Wednesdays 17ct-18:30, Lecture hall N10.