The research focus of the theoretical ecology group is on food web dynamics in aquatic systems and its dependency on environmental conditions. Study systems range from little pond systems to lakes, from local communities to meta-communities and meta-ecosystems. The aim of the ecological modelling group is to advance theoretical concepts in aquatic ecology for a better understanding of biological processes.
Key questions are:
- How will expected changes in nutrient availability, temperature and (artificial) light, due to climate change and anthropogenic forcing, influence food web dynamics and community structure?
- What energy pathways dominate under which environmental conditions and how does this influence ecosystem functioning like lake productivity and ecosystem services like water quality and provisioning of food?
- How does spatial distribution and connection to other aquatic systems influence biodiversity and ecosystem functioning?
Currently the theoretical ecology group is involved in several projects ranging from adaptive trait dynamics in microbial systems (BactiTrait and FungiTrait - DFG SPP Dynatrait) to biodiversity patterns on a landscape scale (BIBS – WP2 aquatic-terrestrial coupling), as well as on connectivity and synchronisation of lake ecosystems in space and time (CONNECT).