Roesel's bush cricket Metrioptera roeselii

Welcome to the Population Ecology Group

We are interested in eco-evolutionary processes and how they contribute to the evolution and maintance of biodiversity. Our special focus lies on local adapation and the role of species interactions. We approach this topic from different angles, including long-term experimental field work, controlled laboratory experiments, and genomic analyses.

Recent news

March: Reto is attending and presenting at the Speciation Genomics Meeting at the University of Cambridge. 

March: The curriculum for our Masters in Ecology, Evolution and Systematics has been officially approved. This now makes a very attractive study programm that is with the be checked out. A revised homepage will follow soon.

March: The IMPRS had its annual retreat with lots of interesting student talks, poster presentations and two exciting planaries. Very interesting was also a presentation on TReND, a grassroots intitative for promiting natural sciences research and teaching in Africa.

February: Group spring hike to see some early flowering plants, Eranthis hyemalis in particular. Wonderful sunny weather!

February: Follow the Jena Experiment on Twitter to keep up with the newest development in experimental biodiversity research.

January: Pablo has successfully defended his PhD thesis on Phenotypic plasticity and condition-dependent trait expression in sexual ornaments and body colour in the alpine grasshopper Gomphocerus sibiricus. Congratulations, Pablo!

Research Show content
Bug ©Holger Schielzeth

Our group covers three main lines of research, all united by the interest in understanding population-level biodiversity and its consequences for intra- und inter-species population dynamics. (i) trophic interactions and community dynamisc are the focus of Community Population Ecology line of research. (ii) Local adaptation, temporal population dynamics and behavioural ecology are the focus of Evolutionary Population Ecology line of resaerch. (iii) And the genomic architecture of genetic polymorphisms, speciation and hybridization are the focus of Molecular Population Ecology line of resarch. Furthermore, we are interested in (iv) ecological, evolutionary and startistical methods and therefore also cover the field that we call Population Ecology Methods.

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Projects Show content
Jena Experiment aerial photograph ©Jena-Experiment

Contemporary scientific work is often very collaborative. We are therefore involved in several large collaborative research project. This includes the long-running Jena Experiment that was established in 2002 and has been DFG-funded since then. More recently, we got engaged in a Collaborative Reserach Center (SFB-TRR 212) that is also funded by the DFG and studies the evolutionary ecology of individualized niches. Furthermore, we are participating in the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) in Halle-Jena-Leipzig, the Michael Stifel Center Jena (MSCJ) for Data-Driven & Simulation Science and the Interantional Max Planck Research School (IMPRS) run by Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena. Additionally, we are involved in more grass-roots projects such as the Nutrient Network (NutNet) and the team for the Statistical Quantification of Individual Differences (SQuID). And finally, there are always ongoing individually funded projects that are also important.

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Team Show content
Population Ecology Group 2016 ©Holger Schielzeth

We are a team of currently six postdoctal researchers, three PhD students, five technical assistants, and four gardeners. We will occasionally solicit applications for funded PhD student positions. Furthermore, if you are interested in joining the group with external funding or as part of your studies, you may contact us at

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Teaching Show content
Field and lab practicals ©Günter Köhler

We offer a variety of classes for the BSc level in Biology and the MSc level in Ecology, Evolution and Systematics. The topics range from introduction to faunistic field methods, evolutionary, community and conservation ecology, via population genetics to scientific writing and presentations. We also continously offer a selection of topics for Bachelor or Master projects. The list of ongoing and completed projects gives an impression about the range of topcis that we offer. Please to not hesitate to contact us if you are interested and movitated to work in the field of evolutiony, molecular or community ecology.

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Publications Show content

Schielzeth, H., Rios, A. & Burri, R. (2018). Success and failure in replication of genotype-phenotype associations: How does replication help in understanding the genetic basis of phenotypic variation in outbred populations? Molecular Ecology Resources doi: 10.1111/1755-0998.12780.

de Villemereuil, P., Morrisey, M., Nakagawa, S. & Schielzeth, H. (2018). Fixed effect variance and the estimation of repeatabilities and heritabilities: Issues and solutions. Journal of Evolutionary Biology doi: 10.1111/jeb.13232.

Köhler, G., Samietz, J. & Schielzeth, H. (2017). Morphological and colour morph clines along an altitudinal gradient in the meadow grasshopper Pseudochorthippus parallelus. PLoS One 12: e0189815. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0189815

Meyer, S.T., Ptacnik, R., Hillebrand, H., Bessler, H., Buchmann, N., Ebeling, A., Eisenhauer, N., Engels, C., Fischer, M., Halle, S., Klein, A.-M., Oelmann, Y., Roscher, C., Rottstock, T., Scherber, C., Scheu, S., Schmid, B., Schulze, E.-D., Temperton, V.M., Tscharntke, T., Voigt, W., Weigelt, A., Wilcke, W. & Weisser, W.W. (2017). Biodiversity–multifunctionality relationships depend on identity and number of measured functions. Nature Ecology & Evolution 2: 44-49. doi:10.1038/s41559-017-0391-4

Muenchow, J., Dieker, P., Kluge, J., Kessler, M. & von Wehrden, H. (2018). A review of ecological gradient research in the tropics: Identifying research gaps, future research directions, and conservation priorities. Biodiversity and Conservation 27: 273-285. doi:10.1007/s10531-017-1465-y

Ebeling, A., Hines, J., Hertzog, L.R., Lange, M., Meyer, S.T., Simons, N.K. & Weisser, W.W. (2017). Plant diversity effects on arthropods and arthropod-dependent ecosystem functions in a biodiversity experiment. Basic and Applied Ecology doi:10.1016/j.baae.2017.09.014

Ebeling, A., Rzanny, M., Lange, M., Eisenhauer, N., Hertzog, L.R., Meyer, S.T. & Weisser, W.W. (2017). Plant diversity induces shifts in the functional structure and diversity across trophic levels. Oikos doi:10.1111/oik.04210

Wagg, C., O'Brien, M.J., Vogel, A., Scherer-Lorenzen, M., Eisenhauer, N., Schmid, B. & Weigelt, A. (2017). Plant diversity maintains long-term ecosystem productivity under frequent drought by increasing short-term variation. Ecology 98: 2952-2961. doi:10.1002/ecy.2003

Burri, R. (2017). Dissecting differentiation landscapes: a linked selection’s perspective. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 30: 1501-1505. doi:10.1111/jeb.13108

Burri, R. (2017). Linked selection, demography and the evolution of correlated genomic landscapes in birds and beyond. Molecular Ecology 26: 3853-3856. doi:10.1111/mec.14167

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Institute of Ecology and Evolution

The Population Ecology Group is one of the four research groups in the Institute of Ecology and Evolution (est. 2018). The joint interest of the institute representing evolutionary processes and functional biodiversity analyses in teaching and research at the FSU. The other three groups in the institute are the Ecology Group (Prof. Halle), the Systematic Botany Group (Prof. Hellwig) and the Biodiversity of Plants Group (Prof. Römermann).

Field Excursion France
Systematic Botany
Prof. Frank Hellwig
Biodiversity of Plants
Prof. Christine Römermann
Leutra near Jena
Prof. Stefan Halle
Population Ecology Group
Dornburger Str. 159
07743 Jena
+49 3641 9-49410
+49 3641 9-49402
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