Evolution and Adaptation
Our understanding of evolution is largely restricted to processes at the species level, although evolution at higher biotic levels may actually be a more important driver of biodiversity. Global change exposes populations to unprecedented and swift selection pressures. It is necessary to quantify how communities adapt to these changing conditions in order to assess which selective forces may limit the conservation of biodiversity. A comprehensive approach must reach from the molecular level up to the community level. We need to know how genes negotiate with the transcriptome in establishing a phenotype, how phenotypes interact within a population, and how populations network to create communities. The genetically determined variation that is responsible for adaptation needs to be understood at all selection levels. The methodological tools will range from the analyses of gene cascades within an organism, via population genomic analyses, to metagenomic approaches at the community level. These approaches, however, need to be complemented by quantitative phenotypic analyses at the individual, species and community levels.
This professorship will be staffed soon.