Institut für Evolution und Ökologie

EVEREST: Evolution and Ecology Research School Tübingen

The graduate programme EVEREST offers doctoral students interdisciplinary education in evolution and ecology. It promotes the scientific independence of participating students, facilitates the acquisition of key qualifications for research and career planning, and enhances networking options within and beyond Tübingen. Supervision by individual Thesis Advisory Committees (TAC) and evaluation by an External Advisory Board guarantee the quality of training within EVEREST.


Defence: Julia Geue

18 Dec 2020 ► Julia Geue, EVEREST student in Comparative Zoology, has now successfully defended her PhD project. Julia has investigated Landscape Genomics as a tool in conservation prioritization. Her work generated several publications, including papers in Wiley's Ecology and Evolution.


Defence: Chris Baumann

24 Nov 2020 ► Chris Baumann, EVEREST student in Zooarcheology, has now successfully defended his PhD project. Chris has used stable isotope analyses and archeological tools to investigate the foraging ecology and interactions with humans of paleolithic red and arctic foxes in southwestern Germany. His work generated several publications, including papers in PLoS One, Archeol. and Anthropol. Sci., and Quaternary Science Reviews.


Conference: Meeting StEvE 2020 went online

24 Nov 2020 ► For the first time, the Tübingen Meeting of Students in Evolution and Ecology (Meeting StEvE) has now been held as an entirely web-based remote conference. More than 100 students and faculty from Tübingen and beyond joined an exciting opening lecture by Mark Moore. He illustrated how inferences from stone-flaking experiments on the cognitive abilities of early humans may suffer from biased assumptions. Participants then engaged in lively discussions with 15 EVEREST students, who gave stimulating oral or poster presentations about their current PhD projects. Prizes for the best poster went to Frank Reis (microbiome ecology), and for the best talks to Julia Geue (surrogacy in conservation prioritization), Franziska Koch (stability rules for species networks), and Sophie Habinger (paleoecology of pongin primates).

The PhD students in Early Prehistory and Quaternary Ecology have made this a highly professional event! Thanks to William Snyder, Eleonora Gargani, Li Li, Diana Marcazzan, Alba Motes Rodrigo, and Jordy Orellana Figueroa.

12 Years of Hilgendorf Lecture

14.10.2020 Stimulated by its 10th anniversary in 2018, Ingmar Werneburg has now compiled a brief overview of the goals and history of the Hilgendorf Lecture series. The text has been published in the newsletter of the German Society for Biological Systematics (GfBS)

Defence: Alba Motes Rodrigo

08 Jul 2020 ► Alba Motes Rodrigo, EVEREST student in the ERC Stonecult project (Early Prehistory and Quaternary Ecology group), has now successfully defended her PhD project. Alba investigated tool use in great apes using novel experimental approaches, to derive information about the evolution of early hominin technology and cognition. Her work resulted in several publications, including papers in PLoS One and Biology Letters.

Defence: Gillian Wong

17 Jun 2020 ► Gillian Wong, EVEREST student in zooarchaeology (Early Prehistory and Quaternary Ecology group), has now defended online her work on human paleoecology during the Magdalenian in the Swabian Jura of southwestern Germany. Her research has generated several publications, including a paper in Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology.

Publication: Phylogenetic history of Crocodile Newts

24 Apr 2020 ► Peter Pogoda et al. (J. Anat.) applied geometric morphometrics to cranial morphology in extant and extinct crocodile newts. They provide comprehensive morphological support for the molecular phylogeny of these newts. The study further shows that life history traits correlate with head shape and that fossil Chelotriton show similarities in shape with some extant taxa allowing conclusions on its ecology.

Publication: Unraveling habitat preferences of two bumble bee species

20 Apr 2020 ► New work by Julia Geue et al. (Ecol. Evol.) shows that vegetation drives the distributional patterns of two closley related bumble bees (Bombus terrestris and B. lucorum) in Eastern Europe. Species distribution models (SDM) based on presence‐only data suggest a large overlap in their respective distributions. However, relative abundance indicated that the two species replace each other across elevation gradients.

Defence: Bence Gáspár

11 Mar 2020 ► Bence Gáspár, EVEREST student in the plant evolutionary ecology group, has recently defended his PhD thesis on the "Evolutionary Consequences of Land Use - Epigenetic and Phenotypic Variation in Plantago lanceolata". His research has been conducted within the framework of the DFG-funded EpiDiv project. Congratulations!

Defence: Deike Lüdtke

11 Mar 2020 ► Deike Lüdtke, EVEREST student in the Comparative Zoology group, has recently defended her PhD project work entitled "Selection on Female Body Colouration through Male Mate Choice in Alpine Newts, Ichthyosaura alpestis". Substantial parts of her thesis have already been internationally published in Animal Behaviour, J. Herpetology, and Front. Ecol. EvolCongratulations!

Conference: Meeting StEvE 2019 a great success

15 Feb 2020 ► The Tübingen Meeting of Students in Evolution and Ecology (Meeting StEvE) 2019 has taken place on 06 Dec With approx. 90 participants, a highly diverse program of oral and poster presentations spanning the fully range of evolutionary research in Tübingen, a remarkable Hilgendorf lecture by Mike Bruford on attempts to conserve genomic diversity of wild populations, and an excellent networking evening event, this event has once more been a great success. Prizes for the best oral presentations went to Alba Motes Rodrigo and Anna Kirschbaum, for the best poster presentations to Franziska Willems and Heike Hinneberg.

Thank you to all the organising team from the Comparative Zoology group!

Publication: Reconstructed feeding niches of ancient canids

27 Jan 2020 ► During the Magdalenian, ca. 17,000 to 13,000 years ago, humans domesticated dogs in Germany and Switzerland. New research by Chris Baumann et al. (Quat. Sci. Rev.) uses a Bayesian framework on stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes to characterise the trophic behavior and feeding strategies of Magdalenian canids. The authors found clearly distinctive trophic niches of dogs, wolves and foxes, but also the first evidence that foxes lived commensal to humans during this time period.

Publication: New insights on alligatorid evolution

27 Jan 2020 ► A new study by Tobias Massone et al (PeerJ) of a new Eocene Alligatoroid (Orientalosuchus naduongensis) from Na Duong (Vietnam) revealed a monophyletic Late Cretaceous to Paleogene, East to Southeastern Asian alligatoroid group (Orientalosuchina). This indicates at least two separate dispersal events from North America to Asia: one during the Late Cretaceous by Orientalosuchina, and one by the ancestor of Alligator sinensis during the Paleogene or Neogene.

Defence: Abel Bosman

22 Nov 2019 ► Abel Bosman, EVEREST student in palaeoanthropology, has now defended his work on virtual reconstructions of cranial morphology in ancient humans. His researchhas been conducted within the framework of the DFG Center “Words Bones Genes Tools” and has generated papers in international journals. Congratulations!

PhD retreat: Report and pictures of the 2019 event

13 Nov 2019 ► Jun Hee Jung and Frank Reis provide a summary of this year's EVEREST PhD retreat into the Lone River valley with its famous excavation sites. Find details on the events webpage.

Defence: Anubhav Mohiley

29 Jul 2019 ► EVEREST PhD student Anubhav Mohiley (Plant Ecology group) has successfully defended his PhD project. Anu investigated how plants can adapt to soil contaminations with heavy metals, and ultimately even take advantage of their accumulation in plant tissue to benefit during interspecific competition. Congratulations!

Defence: Jessica Starke

25 Jul 2019 ► EVEREST PhD student Jessica Starke (Earth Systems Dynamics group) has now successfully defended her PhD project. Jessica used cosomogenic radionuclides to reconstruct and quantify surface processes such as denudation rates along climatic and topographic gradients in South America. Congratulations!

Publication: Osteological variation in salamanders

09 July 2019 ► Descriptions of both the within- and between-species variation in external morphology is key to modern systematics. However, the degree to which this variation is linked to internal features - such as bone morphology in vertebrates - is much less understand. PhD student Peter Pogoda and colleagues (Zool. Anz.) used µCT-scans to reveal that osteological characters strikingly differ in the degree of intraspecific variation in a basal salamandrid salamander.


08 July 2019 ► More than 30 PhD students and faculty participated in the recent EVEREST BBQ, this year hosted by the Plant Ecology group on their 'experimental gardens' at the Heuberger Torweg.
A warm thank you to Angela Gürtel and all her supporters for organizing this relaxed event, and Katja Tielbörger for hosting us!

Regulations: New Key Principles and Bylaws for EVEREST

26 June 2019 ► The PhD commission of the Science Faculty has now approved the new EVEREST regulations as manifested in our Key Principles to regulate the general structure of our graduate program. In parallel, the EVEREST steering committee has also updated our Bylaws, which specify "every-day business" in the program. Both documents are available on our EVEREST info pages.