Cross-cutting themes : 
- Niche evolution
- Multiple Stressors
- Biotic Interactions

Focus ecosystems:
- Savannas
- Shelf ecosystems
- Thermophilic Temperate Forests

Cross-cutting theme Niche Evolution

To understand the mechanisms that generate and maintain species diversity through time and across geographic regions, it is necessary to study the evolutionary dynamics of species' ecological niches. This cross-cutting theme aims at establishing a unified research framework within BiK-F, and facilitate the integration and synthesis of niche evolution research. We combine evolutionary ecology, genomics, molecular systematics, and paleo¬climatology and -ecology to integrate research on the impact of environmental changes on the evolution of species' ecological niches across different spatial and temporal scales.

cct niche evolutionThe figure illustrates the relationships between the evolutionary history of species, their traits and underlying functional genes, as well as interactions with changing environ¬mental conditions, highlighting the central role of the ecological niche. Variation in (paleo-)environmental conditions (a) across space and time are known to have an impact on the genetic makeup of organisms (b), and drive adaptation and/or the evolution of novel traits (c). In combination with dispersal and biotic interactions among and within species these processes shape the abundance and spatial distribution of species, ultimately resulting in speciation and extinction events (d), increasing or decreasing the net diversification rates of clades (e).

 
Selected projects: 
A1.8 | SPECIES DIVERSIFICATION AND CLIMATE CHANGE IN THE CENOZOIC
C1.2 | GENOMIC ADAPTATION IN PATHOGENIC OOMYCETES
D1 | CROSS-TAXON GENOMIC BASIS OF CLIMATE-RELEVANT FITNESS TRAITS
D2.4 | BIODIVERSITY AND EVOLUTION OF ARCTIC VERTEBRATES

Activities:
- Internal workshop 'Niche Evolution': 22. & 23.05.2012 (Workshop documents and additional information will be available soon"
- Niche Evolution Mailinglist: Updates & discussions (join here) [internal only]

Output:
Nemec, S., Heß, M., Nowak, C. & M. Pfenninger (2012): Experimental evidence for niche segregation in a species pair of non-biting midges. - Hydrobiologia 691: 203-212.
Schnitzler, J., Graham, C.H., Dormann, D.F., Schiffers, K. & Linder, H.P. (2012): Relating niche evolution to species diversification and environmental heterogeneity. Journal of Biogeography. 39(12):2201-2211.

For more information about the cross-cutting theme niche evolution, please contact Jan Schnitzler (jan.schnitzler@senckenberg.de) or Annette Klussmann-Kolb (klussmann-kolb@bio.uni-frankfurt.de).