(Dept. 5) Evolutionary and Integrative Ecology
The Department of Evolutionary and Integrative Ecology, which is located in both Friedrichshagen and Dahlem, advances the eco-evolutionary understanding of freshwater organisms in the Anthropocene. Our research has two overarching themes:
- Evolutionary ecology and eco-evolutionary dynamics
- Synthesis across scales, disciplines and actors
Within these themes, we address different research topics, varying from the ecological and evolutionary consequences of global change (e.g. biological invasions, climate change, pollution) to species interactions and long-term dynamics. Urban systems are of particular relevance here, as they integrate multiple dimensions of global change. Berlin is also a perfect place to study urbanisation! Species interactions we are investigating include competition, parasitism and predation, and interactions between species and different human actors are of high relevance as well.
We collaborate with researchers within and beyond IGB, nationally and internationally. Particularly strong connections are with Freie Universität Berlin and KU Leuven, as group leaders in the department hold professorships at these universities. We are active in the Berlin-Brandenburg Institute of Advanced Biodiversity Research (BBIB) and play a leading role in the Berlin Center for Genomics in Biodiversity Research (BeGenDiv), both of which involve extensive collaboration with other Leibniz institutes and universities. International initiatives that we are strongly engaged in include the Alliance for Freshwater Life, Future Earth and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Host-Associated Bacterial Communities Vary Between Daphnia galeata Genotypes but Not by Host Genetic Distance
The authors studied the role of host genetics in host-associated microbiome community structure. Gut and body microbiome composition still varied between Daphnia host genotypes, even though these Daphnia were kept under identical lab conditions for five years. This highlights the importance of host genetic component in microbiome structure.
Antiparasitic potential of agrochemical fungicides on a non-target aquatic model (Daphnia× Metschnikowia host-parasite system)
The authors investigated antiparasitic potential of 3 agrochemical fungicides on a non-target aquatic model (Daphnia × parasitic yeast system). The results suggest that azole fungicides may disrupt host-parasite interactions in natural systems. There might be broader consequences of this parasite-clearance effect, especially in face of increasing evidence that parasites are ecologically important.
When the last individual dies, species not only disappear from our planet. They also disappear from our collective memory, from our cultures and discourses. Researchers have now studied the process.
Climate-induced forest dieback drives compositional changes in insect communities that are more pronounced for rare species
Insects declines are now recognised as a consequence of global change. The authors set out to determine the role of drought-induced forest decline in these changes. Using field samples in the Pyrenees and DNA-metabarcoding to determine the species that occur there, they found no loss of species richness in forests experiencing tree loss, but uncovered large differences in the insect communities.
Experimentally decomposing phytoplankton community change into ecological and evolutionary contributions
The authors experimentally quantified ecological and evolutionary contributions to total phytoplankton community change in response to elevated CO2 concentrations. They show a novel experimental approach to study ecological and evolutionary contributions to community features, and observed a decline in phytoplankton abundance to elevated CO2 that could be mainly explained by ecological changes.