(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).
A synthesis of biological invasion hypotheses associated with the introduction–naturalisation–invasion continuum
Empirical studies show divergent impacts of alien populations on ecosystems which hinders the creation of a unified theory. The authors propose a synthesis that categorizes hypotheses along a timeline of invasion considering population, community and ecosystem levels. For any given case study, this framework provides a guide to choose the appropriate concepts according to the stage of invasion.
Global Protected Areas as refuges for amphibians and reptiles under climate change
The authors investigated the effectiveness of Protected Areas (PAs) in conserving amphibians and reptiles under climate change. They found that PAs are effective in providing refuge to these species, but spatial conservation gaps still exist and many species may go extinct due to climate change.
Urban biotic homogenization: approaches and knowledge gaps
The authors mapped and analyzed the literature on the hypothesis of urban biotic homogenization. They identified 225 studies addressing the hypothesis. Half of them investigated homogenization across cities, the other half investigating homogenization within cities. There are strong research biases and thus knowledge gaps in the literature and about 55% of the studies supported the hypothesis.
Quantifying eco-evolutionary contributions to trait divergence in spatially structured systems
In both time and space, the observed differentiation in trait values among populations and communities can be the result of interactions between ecological and evolutionary processes. The authors extended methods to quantify ecological and evolutionary contributions to trait changes to account for empirical studies that document trait differentiation among populations structured in space.
The LOTUS initiative for open knowledge management in natural products research
Scientists integrated data about natural chemical compounds and the organisms they have been documented in, provided literature references and exposed the information both as a stand-alone database and via Wikidata.The database enables queries that relate natural chemical compounds to the taxa they have been found in and the literature documenting the evidence.