Groups - Our Research
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.
Regulation of gene expression is fundamental for all eukaryotes. As sessile organisms, plants rely on fast and reliable control mechanisms that regulate gene expression especially under stress conditions. We aim to understand how these mechanisms control stress-dependent gene expression.
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
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.
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
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).
- nutrient dynamics and nutrient relaese from soils and nutrient loads of adjacent environments
- pedogenesis and pedoecology of soils of Northwest Germany
- impact of land use change on carbon dynamcs and sequestration of soils
- stability of biochar (HTC Chars) in soils and impact of HTC chars on soil properties
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.
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.
The Landscape Ecology Group concentrates on occurrence and survival of plant and animal species in patterned landscapes, with a focus on species and functional trait responses to environmental drivers and effects on ecosystem functions and services. Our research includes
- Realised niches of species
- Spatial ecology
- Dynamics and functional responses and effects of species and their traits
- Upscaling relationships between ecosystem processes and species responses from the patch scale - focus of most empirical studies - to the landscape scale - focus of planning and management issues.
Our working group is engaged in research fields that refer as well to basic ecology and biology as to the practice of nature conservation. Generally we work on the dynamics of populations, species and habitats in the present cultural landscapes and on the possibilities to conserve and to restore them. Actually the following research themes are focused:
- habitat connectivity of grassland
- biodiversity of bog and fen meadows
- restoration of bogs
- dispersal behaviour, population dynamics and ecological niches of some dragonfly species (Odonata)
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.
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