Institute of Evolution and Ecology (EvE)

Institute of Evolution and Ecology (EvE)


EVE research groups

BSc Biology

EVE undergrad courses

MSc program

Evolution and Ecology

PhD program

EVEREST grad school

Welcome to EvE!

Research and teaching in EvE focus on how individuals, populations and communities interact and cope with environmental variability. We synergistically address a wide variety of perspectives and methodologies in evolutionary ecology, including plant and animal ecology, integrative botany and zoology, ecotoxicology, and conservation.

EvE News

State Competition "Baden-Württemberg blooms"

31.07.2020 ► The "Colourful Meadow" initiative is among the winners of the state competition Baden-Württemberg blooms in the category "Other actors".


Publication: Insect compound eyes inspired novel adjustable technical optics

24.07.2020 ► Together with researchers from the Vienna University of Technology, Manfred Drack (Evolutionary Biology of Invertebrates) developed a 3D printed prototype for a new optical device. Based on the advantages of compound eyes, an additional technical zooming feature was introduced that cannot be found in the biological system. Furthermore, an adjustable field of view per 'pixel' was implemented (Frontiers in Materials).

Publication: Structure and function of the mouthparts of blood-feeding bugs

24.06.2020 ► Tatjana Tull et al. from the ‘Evolutionary Biology of Invertebrates’ group investigated the joint-free movements of the mouthparts of bloodsucking kissing bugs (Triatominae) using high-speed videography, microscopical and CT-techniques (Arthropod Structure & Development). In addition to describing new structures, this work furthers the understanding of the feeding process of these epidemiologically important insects and might aid in the development of steerable instruments for micro-invasive surgery.

Publication: Environmental effects on plant mixed mating systems

20.06.2020 ► Ellie Gibson-Forty and colleagues now provide equivocal evidence for a change in balance between selfing and pollinator‐mediated reproduction in annual Brassicaceae growing along a rainfall gradient (Journal of Systematics and Evolution).

Publication: Density dependence in plant-plant interactions

21.05.2020 ► New researchs by R.Zhang and K. Tielbörger (Nature Communications) shows how density-dependence tips the change of plant–plant interactions under environmental stress. [Press Release]

Publication: Plant secondary compounds and belowground interactions

12.05.2020 ► New research by Sara Tomiolo (Plant Ecology group) and co-workers (Trends in Ecology & Evolution) investigated Plant Secondary Compounds in Soils and Their Role in Belowground Species Interactions.

In the NEWS: Tourism and coral reef health

11.05.2020 ► A news feed including an interview of Prof. Michiels (Animal Evol. Ecol. group) addresses how Red Sea coral reefs may be affected by tourism lock-downs as those imposed by the current Corona crisis (

Biodiversity: Recommendations for insect-friendly mowing

30.04.2020 ► Since the frequent mowing of private, public and agricultural grassland significantly contributes to the current insect decline, in a current press campaign, the initiative "Colourful meadow" recommends later and less frequent mowing (see also Attempto online).

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.

Publication: Elevational gradients in beetle diversity

15.03.2020 ► Biodiversity studies across elevational gradients have a long tradition in ecology. New work by Oliver Betz et al. (Evol. Ecol.) addressed species richness, heterogeneity, niche occupation, and community similarity across a 2500-m elevational gradient of a mountain range in Northern Thailand. The study discusses the influence of orography, colonization, environmental filtering, and ecological radiation on the formation of rove beetle assemblages.

Publication: Antidepressant action in fish

15.03.2020 ► Due to the increasing use of neuroactive pharmaceuticals, antidepressants are commonly found in surface waters. In a new study, Michael Ziegler et al. (Animal Physiological Ecology group) focused on behavioural effects of the antidepressant citalopram on brown trout and found – concordant with the desired effect in human patients – an anxiolytic effect in fishes experiencing stress situations (PeerJ).

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: Active sensing with light

22.01.2020 ► Small fish such as triplefins reflect sunlight sideways with their iris. Matteo Santon et al. now experimentally tested (Proc. B.) whether this mechanism can help to uncover cryptic predators. Treated triplefins approached well-camouflaged scorpionfish closer than controls. Visual models confirmed that detection distances are well within the naturally relevant range for these species. The study suggests active sensing to be widespread among small fishes. (J. Exp. Biol. Feature)

Publication: Book on biomimetics

17.01.2020 ► The lectures of the 60th Phylogenetic Symposium held in Tübingen in 2018 have now been published in a new biomimetics book together with several additional contributions of the field. The book especially focusses on how biomimetic research integrates with phylogenetics, functional morphology, and biomechanics.