I am a research fellow at the Institute of Ecology, Technische Universität Berlin. My main research interests are spatial and temporal patterns of biodiversity, the relationship between functional diversity, trait biology and ecosystem ecology as well as animal-habitat-relationships and biotic interactions. I am interested in how terrestrial ecosystems (particularly urban ecosystems, grasslands, heathlands, peatbogs and forests) are affected by global change processes, such as land-use change, biological invasions, and urbanisation. In this context, I am convinced that global change is not exclusively a threat but also can pose a new perspective for biological diversity. For example, in the light of urbanisation, cities can even enhance local and regional biodiversity because anthropogenic impact can create a variety of different – sometimes novel – habitats which can serve as habitat analogues for many species that are excluded from the natural (primary) habitat elsewhere. Thus, human-dominated ecosystems may offer a great opportunity for conservation by mitigating biodiversity loss. I therefore believe that conservation biology and biodiversity management have to incorporate urban ecosystems to invent, establish and maintain these new habitats to conserve species biodiversity (see the reconciliation ecology concept proposed by Rosenzweig 2003). Just like urbanisation, biological invasions represent a significant component of global change with a range of adverse effects on biodiversity in invaded ecosystems. On the other hand, many invasion scientists assume that invasive species may also be valuable new components in local ecosystems and species communities. Inspite of these conflicting priorities, I am keen to provide a mechanistic and fair-minded understanding of invasion effects that are not a priori biased towards negative consequences.
Please feel free to take a closer look at my research projects, publications and teaching activities.