Ecotoxicology & Environment
We try to uncover how environmental stressors, particularly chemical stressors toxicants, affect genetic and organismic diversity as well as functional parameters in communities and ecosystems. Subsequently Wwe aim to evaluate management options on a landscape scale for ecosystems thatto alleviate the resulting risks.
Founded in 2004, the group continues to thrive in a productive conducive climate to evaluate chemical and other stressors in an highly integrative manner of many disciplines. Contrary to many other approaches aiming to link the laboratory with the field, we have a strong view on the real situation in the field at the global, landscape or regional scale. Our research questions areis driven by current and potential future environmental problems with the ultimate goal to predict the effects of pollution as observed in reality. To be able to finally offer the most efficient and effective action to prevent or remediate any detrimenta to stakeholders and we then apply scientific approaches integrating several experimental scales to understand the underlying mechanisms of effects. and subsequently offer solutions to stakeholders.
In ecosystems that are already impacted by pollution our applied research approach produces information for the best course of action to restore ecosystem services and functions efficiently and effectively.
Within this framework there are five Research Teams working on area, but each with different main reasearch focus:
Team "Ecosystem resilience"
Team leader: Prof. Dr. Ralf Schulz
We aim to understand if and how ecosystems can handle environmental contaminants. (more Info)
- Global pesticide exposure assessment
- Meta-analysis of environmental data
- Contaminant removal processes in constructed wetlands and vegetated ditches
- Risk management strategies for agricultural chemicals
Team "Community Limnology"
Team leader: Dr. René Gergs
We focus on the ecology of freshwater systems and their surroundings with a special focus on food web and community structures. In this context we also assess population dynamics of species in dependence of anthropogenic caused alterations and potential policies for the implementation of the European Water Framework Directive. (more Info)
Team "Community Ecology and Ecotoxicology"
Team leader: Dr. Carsten Brühl
Our research is concerned with multiple stressors in agricultural landscapes and has a focus on the effects of pesticides on terrestrial biodiversity and communities. We study the interactions between species on different spatial and temporal scales and try to understand patterns such as variation in species richness, productivity and food web structure and processes of community assembly. Additionally to known stressors such as habitat destruction or disease we consider pesticides effects to explain observed patterns and especially food web disruption gets our attention. (more Info)
Team "Functional Aquatic Ecotoxicology"
Team leader: Dr. Mirco Bundschuh
Assess and understand structural and functional implications of anthro-pogenic and environmental stressors as well as remediation technologies on individuals, populations, communities, and ecosystems. (more Info)
Team "Conservation Genetics"
Team leader: Dr. Kathrin Theissinger
Our team applies genetics as a tool to enable a better understanding and managing of natural populations, particularly with regard to biodiversity conservation, effective population sizes and invasive species management. We also address research questions concerning evolutionary ecotoxicology, i.e. the influence of pesticides in agriculture landscapes on the natural population structure. Moreover, we are investigating the influence of past and future climate change on the genetic diversity distribution of endangered species. A specific focus lies on Wildlife Forensics, i.e. the analysis of non-invasive DNA samples such as hair, feathers, faeces or buccal swabs. (more Info)