Groups - Our Research

Focus Biodiversity und Evolution

Plant Biodiversity and Evolution (Dirk Albach)

Why do we need diversity? We work on questions related to intraspecific variation and speciation, especially hybridization and polyploidy, as well as the influence of mating system.


Biodiversity and Evolution of animals (Gabriele Gerlach)

Many marine larval organisms migrate over long distances. We investigate mechanisms of orientation and analyze the effects of migration on population structure and physiological adaptations to different habitats.


Functional Ecology of Plants (Gerhard Zotz)

The Functional Ecology Lab puts particular emphasis on the following areas of research

  • Scale-dependent analysis of plant function - from the organ to the stand
  • Impact of global change on plants


Marine Biodiversity (Pedro Martínez Arbizu)

The Marine Biodiversity Lab investigates the diversity of marine life from the open ocean to the sea floor.


Ecological Genomics (Arne Nolte)

In the field of Ecological Genomics we study the distribution and natural history of organisms in the light of ecological conditions. Analyses in natural habitats are combined with modern methods of genome sequencing and gene expression analysis to identify genetic traits that make species successful in nature.


Systematics and Evolutionary Biology (Olaf Bininda-Emonds)

The major theme of our research is the incorporation of a phylogenetic perspective to help understand a wide variety of biological phenomena. At present, we are applying this theme to the following main areas using a diverse variety of modern methods:

  • Aquatic organisms
  • Evolutionary morphology 
  • Metazoan phylogeny
  • Supertrees and phyloinformatics
  • Public understanding of science 


Behavioural Genomics (Miriam Liedvogel)

Young migratory birds fly amazing distances on their migratory journeys and reach their wintering areas they have never been before - without the guidance of their parents, but with amazing accuracy! How do they do this?

To most efficiently address this question, we combine high throughput sequencing techniques with state-of-the-art tracking technology, carefully designed behavioural experiments and solid knowledge of a well characterised study species


Focus Landscape Ecology

Applied Geography and Environmental Planning (Ingo Mose)

Main focus of our research group is on a holistic understanding of spatial development processes, including relevant actors and their interests as well as appropriate instruments suitable to steer processes in the sense of sustainable spatial development. This does comprise both documentation and analysis but equally professional supervision of such processes, e.g. in the course of planning procedures. Our disciplinary emphasis is on nature conservation, leisure and tourism, and renewable energies, furthermore on the use of geographical information systems (GIS).


Aquatic Ecology and nature Conservation (Ellen Kiel)

Our research is focused on two thematic fields:  The aquatic research puts a special emphasis on the ecology of invertebrate communities, living in running waters, ditches and temporary systems. In the field of vector ecology, we study mosquitoes, biting midges and blackflies. In both thematic fields we analyze the effects ecological parameter have on the distribution and population dynamics of these invertebrates, and how these species respond to environmental changes.


Hydrogeology/Catchment Hydrology (Gudrun Massmann)

Our research aims at an holistic understanding of the coupled hydraulic, hydrochemical and ecohydrological processes in the aquatic environment. Major research topics include surface water-groundwater interaction, coastal hydrogeology, behaviour of organic trace pollutants in soil and groundwater as well as water and solute transport in landscapes.


Vegetation Ecology and Conversation (Thorsten Balke)

We study vegetated landscapes and provide new process understanding to improve habitat restoration, nature conservation and the design of Nature-based Solutions for climate change adaptation and mitigation. We are passionate about, but not limited to, coastal habitats, particularly salt marshes, mangroves and dun.


Migration ecology (Heiko Schmaljohann)

Migration ecology focuses on the scientific study of animal migration. Important research questions concern the genetic basis of the migratory syndrome, what specific skills animals require for migration, how proximte and ultimate mechanisms alter the spatial and temporal distribution and abundance of migrating animals within the annual cycle, the interactions between animals and their biotic and abiotic environment, and how migrating animals influence energy and material cycles within and between ecosystems.


Focus Neuroscience

Neurosensory (Henrik Mouritsen)

Our highly multidisciplinary working group try to understand how animals such as migratory birds and insects can find their way over thousands of kilometers. For instance, how does the magnetic sense of migratory birds, which seems to involve a quantum biological process in the birds’ eyes, work.


Sensory Biology of Animals (Michael Winklhofer)

We are interested in magnetic orientation of salmon and other fish. Our focus is on the identification of the underlying neurosensory structures and mechanisms of magnetoreception.


Focus Didactics of Biology

Didactics of Biology (Corinna Hößle)

The research of the AG didactics of biology is focussed on

  • modelling ethical judgements
  • analyzing learning and teaching about assessment
  • learning and teaching in school laboratories. Further research is focussed on evaluation and practicising the concept of education for sustainability 
  • leadership of three learning and teaching laboratories in science education


(Changed: 22 Jan 2024)  | 
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