Gaelle Bocksberger

Gaelle Bocksberger

Ph.D. student 


My main research interest concerns the evolution of natural systems, with a special focus on plants. I am mostly interested in investigating patterns of plant evolution, speciation events and what processes led to the present plant diversity. In this context I apply tools from systematic, biogeography and niche modelling.  My master thesis aimed at unravelling the phylogenetics and biogeographical relationship of Trimorphopetalum species, an endemic subgenus of Madagascan Impatiens (Balsaminaceae).

My PhD research, as part of the Bik-F project A2, focuses on the evolution of selected African savanna grasses, more specifically their distribution, phylogenetic relationship, timing of diversification, and their niche evolution. Given the importance of grasses in the savanna ecosystem, as a carbon sink, and livelihood product, it is crucial to understand their distribution, identify the underlying climatic factors and predict how their ranges might be altered by climate change. Moreover, the evolution of the savanna ecosystem is considered to be closely linked to that of grasses. My research, in collaboration with Tim Schikora, concentrates on studying the hypothesis of co-evolution between grasses and herbivores in the light of the Miocene savannas expansion.


Phone: 069 970751613