Institute of Evolution and Ecology (EvE)

The Hilgendorf Lecture

The lecture is named after Franz M. Hilgendorf (1834-1904), a palaeontologist from Tübingen who, in 1863, constructed the first empirical phylogenetic tree of fossil organisms using snail shells. He thus provided the first fossil proof of gradual evolution and speciation as proposed by Darwin’s theory of evolution.

In memento of this work, the Hilgendorf Lecture series promotes evolutionary thinking across disciplines. Internationally renowned scientists present their latest work or show where evolutionary thinking can inform other research areas. The lecture is open to the public and addresses undergraduate and advanced students, postdocs and members of staff from various fields.

Hilgendorf lectures


Dr. Ingmar Werneburg



for hosts

 for speakers

WHEN?   Wed 1715 - 1900    

WHERE?  Lecture hall S320 • Hölderlinstraße 12 • Tübingen (GM).

Forthcoming talks (SoSe 2019)

Date Speaker and Abstract

08 May 2019

Host: Rita Triebskorn

Prof. Dr. Thomas Bosch (Kiel Marine Sciences, Germany)

On the origin and function of metaorganisms

It has been known from the inception of microbiology as a discipline in the 19th century that animals, including humans, bear many microorganisms. Until recently, however, these microorganisms were generally treated as either pathogens or as insignificant: the absence of microbes was equated with health. This classical understanding of microbes has been called into question with the recent emergence of low-cost, high-throughput gene sequencing techniques that have enabled the study of microbial communities without cultivation. Today we know that individuals are not solitary, homogenous entities but consist of complex communities of many species that likely evolved during a billion years of coexistence. Metaorganisms (hosts and their microbes) are multipartite entities that result from ecological, evolutionary and genetic processes. Interactions with the microbiome are near universal in extant animals and more ancient than the evolutionary origin of animals.
I propose that the health of animals, including humans, is fundamental
multi-organismal; and that any disturbance within the complex community of host and microbial cells has drastic consequences for the wellbeing of the individual member of this association. This newfound awareness of the dependency of phenotypes on other species and environmental conditions presents additional layers of complexity for the life sciences including medicine and evolutionary theory; and raises many questions that are currently being addressed by new research programs.

15 May 2019
Host: Annett Junginger

Prof. Dr. Michal Kucera (marum Research Faculty, Bremen)

Title t.b.a.

Abstract t.b.a.

10 July 2019

Host: Hervé Bocherens

Prof. Dr. Todd Ehlers (Geology and Geodynamics, Tübingen)

Title t.b.a.

Abstract t.b.a.


17 July 2019

Host: Oliver Bossdorf

Prof. Dr. Bernhard Schmid (Evol. Biology and Environmental Studies, Univ. Zürich, CH)

Title t.b.a.

Abstract t.b.a


  Preview Winter Semester 2019/2020

06 Dec 2019 (Friday)

Host: Katharina Foerster

Prof. Dr. Mike Bruford (Sustainable Places Research Institute, Cardiff, UK).

Title t.b.a.

Abstract t.b.a


Previous talks