There are two overarching aims of our research. Firstly, to understand the emergence and change of population diversity by evolutionary, ecological and anthropogenic drivers. Secondly, to provide scientific evidence and methodology for advancing the conservation of population, species and habitat diversity. We are particularly interested in improving the understanding of population diversification of African great apes. Great apes are a very interesting taxonomic group to study in this context. Their ecology and interaction with sympatric biodiversity provides added levels of complexity compared to many other species due to their large phenotypic plasticity. This also offers a fascinating anthropological perspective. We study great ape population diversity in a highly integrative way and across levels of biological organisation, including genetics, microbes and parasites, demography and social structure, environmental and sympatric species interactions, behaviour and culture.
In our conservation research, we strive for various goals: To advance the monitoring of mammalian and other wildlife species, to evaluate existing and develop improved survey and monitoring techniques, to model species distribution and population changes with special focus on the upscaling from local scale observations to larger scales, and to assess conservation scenarios and evaluate the effectiveness of conservation interventions and strategies by integrating ecological, social and economic perspectives. As part of our work, we also engage intensively in advising conservation bodies and the private sector. Here, the goal is to minimise impact to biodiversity and to improve conservation efforts, thereby contributing to the scientific foundation for the sustainable use of the world’s natural resources.
German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig