Population Ecology

We investigate the demographic processes governing the dynamics and persistence of natural populations. Our aim is to contribute to ecological and evolutionary theory, and to provide scientific guidance for biodiversity conservation. A central theme in our research is to understand how natural populations respond to temporal and spatial heterogeneity in their environment. Such population responses can manifest themselves in several forms (such as demographic, phenotypic, phenological, behavioural), and we focus on ecological and evolutionary mechanisms underlying these responses to better understand population persistence in changing environments. To investigate these mechanisms, we integrate ecological and evolutionary theory, employ a rich bio-demography toolset, and analyse life-history data from several natural and experimental populations. Our research so far has included a wide range of organisms including marmots, meerkats, sheep, bears, giant tortoises, sparrows, ground squirrels, voles, bats, soil mites, and rotifers. More information on specific research topics can be found here http://www.popecol.org.

Head of group: Prof. Dr. Arpat Ozgul

Recent projects

  • Linking trait and population dynamics in changing environments
  • Early warning signals of population responses to environmental change
  • Individual strategies, group dynamics and population regulation in cooperative breeders
  • Resurrecting ecological and evolutionary responses to past environmental changes from lake sediments
  • Spatial ecology of large carnivores in human-dominated landscapes