Department of Animal Ecology and Tropical Biology


Research groups at the Department of Animal Ecology and Tropical Biology and at the Ecological Field Station Fabrikschleichach address basic and applied ecological research questions at different spatial and temporal scales covering organizational levels from populations, communities and their biotic interactions up to ecosystems. We are interested in the ecological and evolutionary mechanism that contribute to species richness and ecosystem stability and in the consequences of multiple human impacts on ecosystems. We have expertise in the ecology and taxonomy of diverse species groups ranging from ants, bees, beetles and butterflies up to amphibians and reptiles both in temperate and tropical habitats. In our research we combine experimental, comparative, observational and analytical approaches and perform theoretical modeling. Our thematic foci are biodiversity research, biotic interactions and food webs, global change, agroecology, forest ecology, biosafety research, chemical ecology, evolutionary ecology and population genetics. These issues are addressed in several national and international research clusters such as the Research Unit FOR 1246 at Mt Kilimanjaro (Tanzania) and the Biodiversity Exploratories funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), the climate impact project FORKAST funded by the Bavarian ministry for Science and the EU-projects STEP, SCALES and AMIGA. Further individual projects receive funding from BMBF, DFG and several foundations. We are partner of the würzburg insect research group (WIR).

Research groups

Prof. Dr. Ingolf Steffan-Dewenter

Community Ecology
Biodiversity and Ecosystem
Conservation Biology
Tropical Biology
Biotic Interactions

Prof. Dr. Jörg Müller

Forest Ecology
Nature Conservation

Prof. Dr. Thomas Schmitt

Chemical Ecology
Evolutionary Ecology

Prof. Dr. Jochen Krauß

Spatial Ecology
Microbial Ecology

Prof. Dr. Andrea Holzschuh

Landscape Ecology

PD Dr. Thomas Hovestadt

Theoretical Biology
Evolutionary Ecology

PD Dr. Marcell Peters

Mountain ecology
Tropical ecology
Multi-taxa biodiversity

Dr. Alice Claßen

Pollination ecology
Mountain ecology
Climate change research

Dr. Sarah Redlich

Climate change ecology
Biodiversity and ecosystem functions
Participatory research

Dr. Erik Frank

Behavioural Ecology
Evolutionary Ecology
Chemical Ecology

former research member

Prof. Dr. Emily Poppenborg Martin

Landscape Ecology

Prof. Dr. Sara Leonhardt

(Nutritional) Chemical Ecology
Tropical Biology
Behavioral Ecology
Evolutionary Biology 

Prof. Dr. Peter Biedermann

Biology of species interactions

Prof. Dr. Benjamin Fuchs

Multi-trophic levels
Plant-insect interactions
Plant chemical defense
Fungal endophytes
Sustainable Pestcontrol

Prof. Dr. Alexander Keller

Molecular Ecology

Prof. Dr. Juliano Sarmento Cabral

Ecosystem Modeling
Biodiversity Modeling

PD Dr. Sebastian Seibold

Ecological mechanisms driving biodiversity patterns
Effects of land use on biodiversity in forests and grasslands

Dr. Simon Thorn

Forest Ecology
Biodiversity ecosystems

Dr. Emanuel Fronhofer

Dispersal and spatial dynamics
Eco-evolutionary feedback
Communities and foodwebs
Theory – Experimental evolution

Prof. Dr. Nico Blüthgen

Ecological Networks