Prof. Dr. Henrik Krehenwinkel, Biogeography, Trier University
Detecting the imprints of global environmental change on biological communities is a major challenge for current ecological research. The analysis of the effects of environmental change requires standardized and replicated time series data, which is lacking for most ecosystems and taxa. This lack of community level time series data has become particularly evident with recent reports on global insect decline. Natural history collections are currently receiving attention for their potential to document environmental change, but they usually do not provide community level data.
Prof. Dr. Frederike Hanke, Universität Rostock
In the marine intertidal or swift-running waters, flow forces reach extreme magnitudes. Moreover, aquatic substrates are smooth to extremely rough and often covered with slippery biofilm. Benthic animals have evolutionary developed various attachment strategies to deal with these challenging conditions. Suction cups are one of these and allow strong, but reversible attachment. While manmade suction cups only stick to smooth surfaces, the Northern clingfish’s suction cup works perfectly on rough surfaces.
Joachim G. Frommen Conservation, Ecology, Evolution and Behaviour Research Group; Ecology and Environment Research Centre; Manchester Metropolitan University; England
Understanding the evolution of cooperative animal societies is one of the biggest challenges in behavioural biology. Some of the most derived social systems are shown by cooperative breeders, where helpful individuals forgo their own reproduction to the benefit of others. A common explanation is that helpers gain indirect fitness benefits by aiding relatives. However, such benefits cannot explain the occurrence of unrelated helpers.
Pimiento, Catalina Palaeontology Institute and Museum, University of Zurich, Switzerland,
The fossil record of the marine megafauna, the largest animals in the oceans, has revealed that in the Pliocene(~3Ma), habitat loss caused the extinction of one third of their genera, along with nearly one fifth of their functional diversity. Such a level of ecological loss contrasts with the almost negligible changes after the (mass) extinction of benthic invertebrates around the same time. Unlike the marine megafauna, small invertebrates can share similar ecological traits and thus be highly redundant and ecologically resilient in the face of extinction.