Ecological research has traditionally focused on pristine environments. In the Anthropocene, however, it has become increasingly important to understand ecological and evolutionary effects of human action.
Ecological novelty is an umbrella term for unprecedented, human-mediated changes at different ecological levels, from organisms and populations to communities, ecosystems and landscapes. These direct and indirect effects of human action lead, for instance, to novel organisms and novel communities which we investigate in our group. Examples for novel organisms include: invasive species (our main research focus), range-expanding species, genetically modified organisms, synthetic organisms, and emerging pathogens. Novel communities are species communities with no historical analogue, resulting from (i) the arrival of novel organisms (our focus) and/or (ii) abiotic human-driven changes.
The research methods we apply are largely theoretical (but also partly empirical) and focused on major hypotheses and research questions of the field. For example, we collect, structure and analyse data that are available for leading hypotheses, and we create conceptual maps of research fields by connecting related hypotheses. This is achieved with novel tools for research synthesis which we continue to develop with collaborators across the globe - tools that transform information into knowledge.