As a scientist, I usually get excited when ecological questions involve more than two species.
Currently, I am a lecturer* in Carsten Dormann’s group at the University of Freiburg, Germany. Besides teaching courses in Environmental Sciences and Forestry programs, I am studying species interactions, insect biodiversity and network dynamics, also in close collaboration with Alexandra Klein’s group. I am building a small team embedded in the larger working group.
From 2013 to 2015, I was a a postdoctoral fellow in Kevin McCann’s group at the University of Guelph, Canada, working on food web dynamics (supported by the German Research Foundation DFG). In early 2013, I worked as a short-term postdoc at the University of California, Davis, CA, USA, in Neal M. Williams’ group.
I earned a Dr. rer. nat. (PhD) in Biodiversity and Ecology at Georg-August-University Göttingen, Germany, in Teja Tscharntke’s Agroecology group (supported by a fellowship of the German Environmental Foundation DBU).
Before, I obtained a Diplom (MSc) in Biology at the University of Würzburg, Germany, and my Diploma thesis was supervised by Nico Blüthgen and Karl Eduard Linsenmair.
(* well, it’s actually “Akadamischer Rat auf Zeit”, you may also call it Postdoc or Assistant Professor or Research Associate or …)
I try to answer questions such as: how do ecosystems respond to environmental change? how is this response related to biodiversity? My research constantly tries to combine general ideas and overarching concepts with what we know about the organisms the concepts are about. This could be described as mechanistic biodiversity and interaction web ecology.
I think that a key to achieve this goal is to understand and quantify ecological niches in a community context: specialization, redundancy and complementary are often driving biodiversity-functioning relationships. Ecological niches are often highly dynamic, and it is a central objective of my research to understand these dynamics and their functional consequences. Biotic niches of many species can be nicely summarized in interaction networks. In my research, I am particularly focusing on insects (e.g. bees, flies, wasps) just because they are the most diverse of all organism groups and fascinating if you look at them closer than ‘uh, a bug’.