Ecosystem Modelling
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Main research topics and selected grants


1) Ecological and socio-economic
consequences of land-use change
2) Ecology of arid systems 3) Spatial forest ecology
land-use change Savanna spatial forest ecology
1) Ecological and socio-economic consequences of land-use change

Species richness is determined by evolutionary history, ecological processes, and land use. We are specifically interested in understanding how ecological processes at different spatial scales affect biodiversity and how this interacts with land use. A new line of this research topic will broaden the perspective by including the human dimension. We will investigate ecological and socio-economic trade-offs under different land-use scenarios.


Selected grants related to ecological and socio-economic consequences of land-use change
Harvesting in La Palma Analysis of variations of ecological processes in space funded by EU Marie Curie Host Fellowships for the Transfer of Knowledge (TOK), 2006-2010 Contact: Kerstin Wiegand
ausgeraeumt Towards a mechanistic understanding of biodiversity and its functional consequences - the biodiversity exploratory additional modeling component - BEAM . in cooperation with Thomas Hovestadt , Florian Jeltsch , Christian Wirth , and Markus Reichstein within Biodiversity Exploratories funded by German Science Foundation (DFG), 2008 - 2011 Contact: Jakob Gerstenlauer
eingeraeumt Modellbasierte Untersuchung der lokalen und regionalen Steuerung funktioneller Biodiversität und von Ökosystemfunktionen im Grünland auf Landschaftsebene funded by University of Jena (ProChance), 2008 - 2010 Contact: Jakob Gerstenlauer
RTG weißer Rand2 Scales of bacterial interactions on the leaf surface within Research Training Group 1644 Scaling problems in statistics funded by German Science Foundation DFG, since 2010 Contact: Daniel Esser
RainForestMarginSulawesi Integrated modelling of land-use changes at rainforest margins in Indonesia funded by German Science Foundation (DFG) – see ELUC , since 2011 Contact: Rodolphe Sabatier


2) Ecology of arid systems
Savannas are ecosystems where two contrasting life‐forms, trees and grasses, co‐dominate. Looking for the mechanisms maintaining tree‐grass co‐dominance, we have developed the hypothesis that tree‐grass coexistence can be explained by viewing savannas as patch‐dynamic systems composed of many patches in different states of transition between woody and grassy dominance (Wiegand et al. 2005). Now, we are following up on this hypothesis with simulation modeling and spatial statistics in order to test the patch dynamics hypothesis for different systems and to explore the consequences of patch dynamics for savanna management. Some related work has a focus on population dynamics of Acacia trees in the Negev desert of Israel.


Selected grants related to the ecology of arid systems
DrakensbergsPotshini Analyzing desertification processes in arid and semiarid rangelands in Southern Africa from plant to landscape scales in cooperation with Klaus Kellner and Thorsten Wiegand funded by German Ministry of Science (BMBF) and South African Science Foundation (NRF) , 2008 - 2011 Contact: Sebastian Hanss
Savanna Bush encroachment - from mechanistic models to mitigation strategies for communal and commercial ranchers along a xeric-mesic rainfall gradient in southern Africa with David Ward funded by German Ministry of Science (BMBF) and South African Science Foundation (NRF) , 2008 - 2011 Contact: Kerstin Wiegand
Acacia erioloba Collaborative ecological modelling and experimentation to uncover the causes of bush encroachment in African savannas with David Ward funded by Volkswagen foundation, program of partnership, 2003-2006 Contact: Kerstin Wiegand
Dronfield_Ranch_RS_OeM_GS6 Ecology of arid savannas based on the patch dynamics paradigm by means of simulation modelling funded by German Science Foundation (DFG) , 2002-2007 Contact: Katrin Meyer
3) Spatial forest ecology
With the goal to reconstruct and predict ecological processes in forests, we analyze small‐ and large‐scale forest structures of fully‐mapped forest stands. Our work includes comparison of chronosequences under homogeneous and heterogeneous environmental conditions, study of asymmetric tree growth by comparing the stem and crown pattern, the detailed assessment of competition from snap‐shot and long‐term data, and prediction of biodiversity on the forest floor from the pattern of tree crowns and gaps.


Selected grants related to spatial forest ecology
Age_class_forest_plot_OeM_GS10 The effects of land-use and structural heterogeneity on biodiversity: A new assessment method using cost-effective remote sensing and fine-scale pattern analysis - STRUCTURE within Biodiversity Exploratories funded by German Science Foundation DFG, 2008 - 2010 Contact: Stephan Getzin
LogoGRK1086 Modelling the role of complementarity, species identity, and neutrality for diversity maintenance in deciduous forests within Research Training Group 1086 The role of biodiversity for biogeochemical cycles and biotic interactions in temperate deciduous forests funded by German Science Foundation DFG, since 2011 Contact: Nina Heymann
RTG weißer Rand2 The role of heterogeneity in spatial plant population dynamics within Research Training Group 1644 Scaling problems in statistics funded by German Science Foundation DFG, since 2010 Contact: Clara van Waveren