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Chair Animal Ecology I (Prof. Dr. Christian Laforsch)

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Hecht schwimmt lauernd über grüne Unterwasservegetation

Multiple stressors in Biocoenosis

In biodiversity research, a fundamental understanding of the influence of multiple stressors on organisms and communities plays an essential role. These include biotic stressors such as predators and parasites, as well as anthropogenic factors.  ...more

Mikroplastik im Spülsaum


Microplastics are an intensively documented environmental problem with high public attention. Nevertheless, plastics are important and valuable materials. For the development of modern and sustainable plastics, intensive research on transport, behavior and environmental impact is necessary.  ...more

coral crab on soft coral

Coral reef ecology

In the interplay of climate change and further anthropogenic and biotic influences, the structure of the reef community will change dramatically. Individual aspects of coral reef ecology are investigated in field studies and at the seawater aquarium.  ...more


Model organism water flea

The most important model organism at the Chair of Animal Ecology I of Prof. Laforsch are water fleas. Their way of life and clonal reproduction make them ideal for the study of biotic and abiotic systems such as predator-prey systems.  ...more

hard coral acropora

Coral reef ecology

Im Zusammenspiel von Klimawandel und weiteren anthropogenen und biotischen Einflüssen wird sich die Struktur der Riffgemeinschaft dramatisch verändern. Einzelne Aspekte der Ökologie von Korallenriffen werden in Feldstudien und im Meerwasseraquarium untersucht.  ...more

Cylomorphose bei Daphnia

Phenotypic plasticity

These include Inducible Defenses. These allow for the best possible defense protection with different predators and minimization of the costs associated with the defense if the protection is not needed. Water fleas are ideal for this study because they are extremely plastic.  ...more

Chair Animal Ecololgy I (Prof. C. Laforsch)

The research focus of the group lies within the field of zoology and evolutionary ecology, in particular on the phenomenon of phenotypic plasticity and the adaptation of animals to changing biotic and abiotic environmental factors.
The spectrum of both marine and limnic model organisms ranges from protozoa to vertebrates, with a major focus on the model organism Daphnia (water flea). Another focus is on coral reef ecology and the influence of multiple stressors on communities, food webs, and ecosystem function.

In addition to biotic stressors, such as predators and parasites, anthropogenically induced stressors, such as so-called "micropollutants", are also studied. For example, the topic of environmental contamination with microplastics and the associated effects on organisms and ecosystems is one of our central research areas.

In the interdisciplinary studies of our group, current molecular biological methods, classical experimental approaches in laboratory and field studies, analytical methods and modern imaging microscopic techniques are used.

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