Currently at iDiv

Prof Erik Hom

Host: Nicole van Dam (iDiv, FSU) / Molecular Interaction Ecology

Of Sloths and Franken-Lichens: Elucidating the Biodiversity, Chemical Ecology, and Physiology of Algal Polycultures
The sabbatical research will consist of 2 parts aimed at elucidating: (1) the biodiversity and chemical ecology of the algae-containing sloth fur microbiome, and (2) the chemical ecology and physiological responses of symbiotic partners in synthetic fungal-algal symbioses or “franken-lichens.” With iDiv collaborators will be determined the chemical cues produced by algal polycultures derived from sloth fur that may shape sloth-arthropod interactions, and explored the theories to explain the unusually rich biodiversity associated with the sloth fur ecosystem. Also the capacity for franken-lichens to cryptically or cooperatively synthesize compounds as a holobiont will be investigated. The goal is to develop a more complete understanding of the mechanisms driving sloth ecology and microbiome diversity, as well as the early evolution, ecology, and phylogenetic breadth of plant-microbe symbioses.

Future sabbatical fellows

Prof Michael Kaspari

Hosts: Ulrich Brose (FSU, iDiv) / Theory in Biodiversity Science, Stan Harpole (UFZ, iDiv, MLU) / Physiological Diversity, Nico Eisenhauer (UL, iDiv) / Experimental Interaction Ecology

Exploring the abiotic theatre and the ecological play: how biogeochemistry temperature, and precipitation shape terrestrial food webs
The abiotic “theatre” - biogeochemistry, water, and temperature - acts as a template generating the diversity of Earth’s food webs. The sabbatical will focus on three projects: 1) a synthesis of ionomic diversity of terrestrial food webs, 2) exploring and modelling the interactions of temperature, water, and biogeochemistry towards new insights on the dynamics of food webs on a changing planet; and 3) leading a Micronutrients reading group, toward exploring the less understood biological corners of the periodic table.

Prof Cynthia Chang

Host: Stan Harpole (UFZ, iDiv, MLU) / Physiological Diversity

Placing ecological succession in applied global change and restoration context
The goal of this project is to place succession theory in context with applied ecology research, critical in this time of rapid global change. A synthesis study will be explicitly comparing community change patterns between long-term natural succession studies to restoration and global change experiments. First, a database of long-term natural succession studies will be built and this research will be synthesized to understand community change patterns across disturbance types and severity. Explicitly these community responses will be compared to those found in restoration and global change studies.


Past sabbatical fellows

Name, Affiliation

Research project



Prof Malin Pinski (Rutgers University)

Community response to changing temperatures  across marine, freshwater, and terrestrial realms


download (PDF)

Prof Lenore Fahrig (Carleton University)

Dissecting SLOSS: Why are there more species in several small than few large patches?


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Prof Stephanie Bohlman (University of Florida)

Linking biodiversity and demography through remote sensing of trait tradeoffs



Prof Christopher Klausmeier (Michigan State University)

Synthesizing Trait-Based Ecological Theory



Prof Elena Litchman (Michigan State University)

Trait-based community patterns in microbes


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Prof Douglas Chesters (Chinese Academy of Sciences)Phylogenetic integration of insect community data2019download (PDF)
Prof George Perry (University of Auckland)Reconstructing movement and emergent ecological functions for extinct animals2019 

Prof Jeremy Lichstein (University of Florida)

Plant functional diversity and forest ecosystem stability: insights from dynamic vegetation models



Prof Patti Vitt (Chicago Botanic Garden)Phylogenetic Endemism, Functional Trait Diversity and Conservation Status in the Orchidaceae: a Global Synthesis2018 
Fernando T. Maestre (Universidad Rey Juan Carlos)Climate change impacts on dryland soil biodiversity and associated ecosystem functions from local to global scales2018 
Priyanga Amarasekare (University of California Los Angeles)A framework for biodiversity maintenance: scaling up from modules to communities2018 
Prof Angélica González (Rutgers University)Understanding the interactive effects of temperature and nutrients on ecological processes: a meta-analysis2018download (PDF)
Prof Rodolfo Dirzo (Stanford University)Research on plant-herbivore interactions under climate change and collaborations on biodiversity science2017 
Prof Robert Dunn (NC State University)The Global Biogeography of Microbes and Mutualists Associated with Humans2017 
Prof Benjamin Gilbert (University of Toronto)Project 1 – Neutrality, Demographic stochasticity and ecological drift
Project 2 – Local interactions, Regional constraints, and multiple stable states
2017download (PDF)
Prof David Currie (University of Ottawa)A continental theory of biogeography: predicting geographic variation in species richness and range size2016download (PDF)


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