Institute of Evolution and Ecology (EvE)

Twinning projects program

Thermal flows, thermodynamics, and ecophysiological consequences of high temperature in Mediterranean land snails

The project aims at elucidating the mechanisms responsible for the survival of terrestrial snails (Theba pisana, Xeropicta derbentina, Cernuella virgata) under hot conditions which are typical for Mediterranean environments. This interdisciplinary approach requires the combination of expertise in biology, physics, and engineering science. Using joint experiments, three PhD projects will focus on ecophysiological and biochemical aspects such as locomotion behaviour, stress protein induction and energy rate measurements on one hand, and thermodynamic calculations of thermal flows within and outside the snail´s body, model mesocosm studies within a wind channel, and computer simulations on the other hand. Further research will address possible differences in the survival strategies between brighter and darker individuals being abundant in the same field populations, and the limits of these survival strategies in view of future climate chance effects which will particularly affect the Mediterranean.

The PhD projects are conducted by Andreas Dieterich, Ulf Fischbach, and Markus Ludwig and supervised by Heinz-R. Köhler (speaker, Tübingen University), Ulrich Gärtner, Stefan Rösler (both Esslingen University of Applied Sciences), and David Wharam (Tübingen University).