(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).
The authors used unusual Citizen Science data from several decades to show that the American mink has decimated the native eider duck in the Brokey archipelago by about 60 %. In another Icelandic landscape, the return of the native Arctic fox had no discernible impact on the eider population - presumably due to the common evolutionary history in which the eiders have developed defence strategies.
The authors have identified the most important risk species among aquatic pets for Germany and developed a three-step risk assessment method that can serve as a screening tool and as a basis for legislation to restrict future releases of unwanted animals. This is essential, as the study also shows that 97 per cent of the freshwater species sold in Germany are not native.
Patterns and drivers of climatic niche dynamics during biological invasions of island-endemic amphibians, reptiles, and birds
Looking at insular amphibians, reptiles and birds across the world, the authors investigated mismatches between native and non-native climatic niches and how these mismatches can be explained. The results show that climatic mismatches are common for non-native birds and reptiles, but rare for amphibians, and that several factors are significantly related to these mismatches.
Until now, the toxicity assessment of microplastics in the environment relied on the model organism Daphnia magna for evaluating potential hazards to aquatic invertebrates. However, other Daphnia species are primarily found in Northern Hemisphere lakes, most notably Daphnia longispina. The current study reveals that Daphnia longispina can be more sensitive to microplastics than Daphnia magna.
This study identified 62 research hypotheses used in urban ecology and mapped them in a conceptual network. It is the first such network, which also clusters urban ecology hypotheses into four distinct themes: (i) Urban species traits & evolution, (ii) Urban biotic communities, (iii) Urban habitats and (iv) Urban ecosystems.