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Department of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies

Aquatic Ecology and Biodiversity

Community Ecology

With our work we want to understand how species occur in space and time, how they interact, and how processes such as species invasions, dispersal or climate change affect natural communities.
Metapopulation, metacommunity and meta-ecosystems theory provide a conceptual framework for our research. We use both an experimental and a comparative approach, and integrate them with theoretical models. Depending on the question, we use a variety of study systems, ranging from protists (microcosm-experiments), to aquatic invertebrates (field studies with amphipods, planktonic crustaceans, and freshwater insects), and Lepidoptera. Currently, we are especially interested how dispersal in dendritic networks affects community diversity and ecosystem processes.

Head of group: Prof. Dr. Florian Altermatt

Community Ecology

Research themes

  • Dispersal, invasive species and biodiversity patterns in dendritic landscapes
  • Dispersal dynamics in metapopulations and meta-communities
  • Analyzing biodiversity patterns and identifying the driving processes behind them
  • Use of environmental DNA (eDNA) to monitor macroinvertebrates in rivers
  • Climate change and plant-insect interactions, with a focus on novel trophic interactions of Lepidoptera and their host plants