Department of Biology

Evolution & Ecology

At the Institute of Evolution & Ecology we study the diversity and functioning of plants and animals, interactions between species, and their adaptation to changing environments. We work at different levels of biological organisation, from individuals to populations and communities, and we use a broad range of methods, from field studies and experiments to morphological and molecular work in the lab. Our institute strongly contributes to undergraduate teaching in biology and geoecology, and we run a MSc programme in Evolution & Ecology as well as the graduate school EVEREST.

Our institute currently consists of six groups. The Evolutionary Biology of Invertebrates group (Oliver Betz) investigates the functional and ecological morphology of invertebrates in an evolutionary context. The Plant Evolutionary Ecology group (Oliver Bossdorf) studies intraspecific variation of plants, their adaptation to changing environments, and the ecology of invasive species. The Comparative Zoology group (Katharina Foerster) works on the genetic diversity of populations as well as the expression and function of individual behaviour in vertebrates. The focus of the Animal Physiological Ecology group (Heinz Köhler) is on stress responses and ecotoxicology of fish and invertebrates. The Animal Evolutionary Ecology group (Nico Michiels) studies visual ecology and organismic interactions in marine fish, as well as the conservation ecology of birds. The Plant Ecology group (Katja Tielbörger) investigates biotic interactions of plants as well as the responses of plants and plant communities to climate change and land use change.

Institute of Evolution and Ecology