Faculty of Biology - Evolutionary Biology
 
 
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Bielefeld University > Faculty of Biology > Evolutionary Biology
  

Welcome to the Department of Evolutionary Biology

Our research interests encompass a wide and diverse array of overlapping topics and approaches, but a unifying theme running through the department is the study of behavioural traits important in pre- and post-copulatory sexual selection. We study the evolution of these often sex-specific traits with a combination of theoretical and experimental approaches. For the empirical studies we conduct field and lab experiments, using insects, birds and flatworms as model species. Advanced statistical methods and analyses of literature data complement our research program, which strives to detect and test general concepts in behavioural ecology and evolutionary biology.

Sperm competition

Sperm competition

Sperm competition is an extremely potent selective pressure, shaping the evolution of male reproductive morphology, physiology and behaviour across a diverse range of taxa in which females mate with multiple males. Research in our department seeks to understand the evolutionary consequences of sperm competition from both a theoretical and empirical perspective. Theoretical efforts focus on predicting how males should respond to variation in female quality and sperm competition level by altering investment in relevant sperm traits. Our empirical work seeks to test these evolutionary predictions, and understand the specific adaptations to sperm competition that have arisen in the variety of model systems that we study. [Read more...]

Evolutionary genetics

Evolutionary genetics

We study the evolutionary dynamics of quantitative traits within populations as well as between recently diverged populations of the same species. We focus on sexually selected ornaments and behaviours that are involved in sexual selection. We employ pedigree analysis for quantitative genetic projects as well as molecular genetic tools to for quantifying genetic variation. Our current studies are both lab- and field-based and include work on insects and birds. [Read more...]

Anthropogenic environmental change

Anthropogene Umweltveränderungen

Anthropogenic changes of the environment represent a major challenge for organisms in natural populations across virtually all taxa and ecosystems. We are interested in whether organisms are able to cope with such changes and in the fundamental biological mechanisms underlying their response: How do phenotypic plasticity, adaptive microevolution or epigenetic effects combine and interact to enable populations to deal with human-induced changes of their natural habitats? [Read more...]

Phenotypic plasticity

Phenotypic plasticity

A single genotype can, in different environments, produce different phenotypes. In variable environments, such plasticity can be adaptive, giving individuals the ability to adjust to environmental changes. Because animals differ in the degree of phenotypic plasticity, we study the causes for between-individual variation - in particular in traits with high fitness consequences like reproduction and survival. In this respect, we focus on the effect of environmental cues during ontogeny on adult behavioural traits in a variety of species, as well as environmentally induced morphological changes which have an impact on reproductive success. [Read more...]

Biostatistics

Biostatistics

Statistics may seem like an unavoidable burden to many empiricists. Statistics, however, not only represents an indispensable tool for understanding biological processes, we actually think that it is great fun, to fine-tune experimental design and tailor statistical analysis to support researchers in drawing robust inference from their experimentation. We follow novel developments in different fields of science in order to identify and adopt novel statistical approaches to the study of ecology and evolution. Furthermore, we organize a peer discussion forum in the form of a weekly Stats Club. [Read more...]

News:
  • Congratulations to our colleague (and former PhD student in the department) Dr. Nils Cordes on the publication of his new book Schreiben im Biologiestudium.
  • Steve has joined the Editorial Board of BMC Evolutionary Biology.
  • We are pleased to be welcoming Marlène Goubault to our group soon. Marlène will be visiting as an ERASMUS guest lecturer hosted by Tim. [More details].
  • Group members are organising two symposia at the forthcoming 8th European Conference on Behavioural Biology (ECBB 2016) in Vienna from July 12th to the 15th, 2016.[More details].
  • Upcoming seminars

    Recent publications

    • Eweleit L, Reinhold K, Sauer J (2015).Speciation Progress: A Case Study on the Bushcricket Poecilimon veluchianus. PLoS ONE | DOI
    • Evans, S.R., Schielzeth, H., Forstmeier, W., Sheldon, B.C. & Husby, A. (2014). Non-autosomal genetic variation in carotenoid coloration. American Naturalist | DOI
    • Ramm, S.A. & Stockley, P. (2014) Sequential male mate choice under sperm competition risk. Behavioral Ecology | DOI
    • Engqvist, L., Cordes, N., Schwenniger, J., Bakhtina, S. & Schmoll, T. (2014) Female remating behaviour in a lekking moth. Ethology | DOI
    • Schielzeth, H. & Husby, A. (2014) Challenges and prospects in genome-wide QTL mapping of standing genetic variation in natural populations. Annals of the New York Accademy of Sciences | DOI
    • Ramm, S.A. & Schärer, L. (2014) The evolutionary ecology of testicular function: size isn’t everything. Biological Reviews. | DOI
    • Cordes, N., Engqvist, L., Schmoll, T. & Reinhold, K. (2014) Sexual signaling under predation: attractive moths take the greater risks. Behavioral Ecology | DOI
    • [More...]