Common Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs)

News Archive of the Population Ecology Group

In our very active group  we have lots of things happening throught the year. This includes the regular routines at the field site of the Jena Experiment, various research projects, and various highlights, some of which are listed here.
Common Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs)
Image: Holger Schielzeth

Current year

October: The autumn retreat of the Jena Experiment Research Unit will bring us all up-to-date with freshest results on ecosystem functiong in one of the longest running experiemental biodiversity projects.

October: We are running a new practical in our Bachelor program using Netlogo as a teaching tool. A great opportunity to train observations, hypothesis building and learn about evolutionary concepts.

October: All-week virtual discussion meetings with the Squid group (statistical quantification of indivdiual differences). Not quite the same as an in-person meeting, but still highly productive.

October: Chongyi has finished our MEES master program and is now starting as a PhD student to work with Jochen Wolf and the Jena Experiment Research Unit on genetic diversity in ecosystem functioning research. Welcome, Emma!

September: The annual retreat of the NC3 Collaborative Research Center is this year happing on Heligoland. Great location and great to see the progress that has been made within the last 4 years on individualized niches.

September: We are contributing to the annual MINT-Festival of the FSU de that aims to promote interest in STEM subjects. Our contribution includes practical parts and introductory information on polination and was again booked by several elementary classes.

September: Group excursion to northern Italy in search of grasshoppers. Found 56 species within a few days, including some real highlights. 

September: Elina was awared a best-poster-prize at 50th GfÖ Annual Meeting for her topic-modelling analysis of the ecological niche. Congratulations, Elina!

Sebtember: Sabine has joined our group with her very own DFG funding. Sabine will work on adaptation in an invasive species of moths. Welcome, Sabine!

Sebtember: Suvratha has joined our group as a PhD student to work with Octavio on dosage compoentation and sex chromosome evolution in grasshoppers. Welcome, Suvratha!

August: The DFG has decided to fund a joint project with Ricardo Pereira on reticulared evolution (speciation with prevalent hybridization) in grasshoppers. Looking forward to more collabrations with LMU. Watch our for a PhD advert in the near future.

August: Elina's first paper is out in Animal Behaviour. The paper presents an meta-analysis on the suitability of the novel-object paradigm for a quantification of individuals differences.

July: The first SORTEE conference on open, reproducible and transparent science is held online and Elina has been one of the conference organizers. An important push to the field of ecology and evolution.

July: Abhijeet has left us to continue his work as a bioinformatician. Thanks, Abhijeet, for several fun years and productive collaboration.

June: The team of the NC3 Collaborative Research Center is defending the application for a second funding phase. Thanks everyone for their efforts, great team-work and hope for four more years of work on individualization in ecology and evolution.

May: Niloo got her application for an for an FSU Career Advancement Scholarship approved. Very well deserved, Niloo! And great that you can stay with us to continue your work on hybridization in birds.

May: Laura from the Technical University Munich (TUM) is visiting for a joint analysis of ecosystem functioning. We aim to use covariance decomposition to understand BEF relationshops. Great to see quantitative genetics tools applied to ecological data.

April: Gabe is presenting her newest results on the predictability of grasshopper escape behavior at the retreat of the IMPRS "Exploration of Ecological Interactions with Molecular and Chemical Techniques".

April: Elina is giving a talk on her work on individualized ecological niches at the ASAB Easter virtual meeting. You may watch her presentation on Youtube.

April: Big joint effort to prepare a repliapplication for the NC3 Collaborative Research Center finally finished. 500 pages on indivdiualized niches and hopefully ready for a continuation.

April: Gabe's first paper now accepted in Heredity showing simple genetic color morph inheritance in a grasshopper. Congratulations, Gabe!

March: Very inspiring discussion with Laura, from Technical University Munich, about covariance decompostion in ecosystem functions across space and time. Quantitative genetic methods applied to ecology!

March: Spring retreat of the Jena Experiment Research Unit. Exciting new results and a major logistic enterprise to plan the 2021 field season. 

February: Elina joint the organizing committee for the first conference of the Society for Open, Reliable, and Transparent Ecology and Evolutionary biology (SORTEE) to be held in summer 2021.

February: Anne joined the advisory board of the newly established Bug-Network. The bug network aims to study the impact of herbivores on plant communities and ecosystems. A promising approach to study this on a global scale.

February: Anasuya successfully defended her PhD thesis on the quantitative genetic architecture of grasshopper traits. Congratulations, Anasuya!

January: Cyrille Violle is giving a talk on niche specialization in plants as part of the NC3 seminar series.

January: Our R package partR2 is now available on CRAN. The packages offers flexible estimation of variance components using mixed-effects models.

January: Octavio is joinig our group as a group leader from Uppsala. Octavio is studying chromosome content evolution in grasshoppers. That's a good fit! Welcome, Octavio.

2020 Show content

December: The Population Ecology Groups is on twitter now. Follow us @PopEcolJena for the most recent news.

December: Bernhard and Hanno have produced an essence movie on the value of heterogenized experiments (as also covered in our Nature Reviews Neuroscience paper). Worthwhile watching!

November: Dave has left to continue his work on wheatear speciation and hybridization with Reto at the Swiss Ornithological Institute. All the best for the future, Dave, it was so nice to have you around.

November: Holger is giving a seminar at the University of Munester on variance decomposition methods for stuying animal behavior.

November: Elina will give a one-day Introduction to meta-analysis in natural and life sciences for PhD students on 23/11/2020.

November: Dave is leaving us to continue his project at Swiss Ornithological Institute in Sempach. It was great to have you here, Dave, and all the best for your future!

November: Holger is presenting our work on grasshopper color polymorphis as part of the EvE Seminar at the Univeristy of Tuebingen.

November: Gabe and Mahendra are presenting their work at the International Max Planck Research School (IMPRS).

November: A paper coauthored by Anne and published in Science Advances is featured by a university press release. The paper presents an analysis of plant diversity effects on food web struture de. Interesting!

November: Another digital lecture period under Covid conditions has just started. We hope that it works as well as the summer semester.

October: After having been engaged in biodiversity research for so many years, Anne has now become and iDiv member. Congratulations, Anne.

October: Our meta-analysis on risk taking behaviour de is out in Biological Reviews. Poor nutritional conditions makes animals more prone to take risks.

October: Two retreats in a row and the iDiv conference in parallel. The Research Unit FOR 5000 and the Collaborative Research Center SFB-TRR 212 had their meetings back-to-back.

September: Yuanyuan has started her work as a data curator for the Jena Experiment. She will work very closely with members of the current Research Unit FOR 5000. Welcome, Yuanyuan!

September: Holger is serving for this year's panel Natural and Engineering Sciences of the Swedish Research Council for grant evaluation.

August: A new paper on the ecological realism of biodiversity experiments for understanding the consequences of biodiversity loss was published in Nature in Ecology and Evolution and is featured in a press release de.

August: Reto is unfortunately leaving for the group. He has established the wheatear complex as a model for studying speciation and hybridization, work that is to be continued. We wish you all the best for the future, Reto!

July: Dave got awarded a AFR grant by the Fonds National de la Recherche Luxemburg (FNR). The grant will cover his PhD project. Great news and congratulations, Dave.

July: Our Collaborative Research Center is holding an online workshop on eco-evo meachnisms with an brilliant list of speakers. The workshop is covering the interface between biology and philosophy.

June: Elina got elected for the PhD representative council of Jena University. The council is advising the senate and recotorate on matters concerning PhD students. Congratulations, Elina!

June: Our paper on systematic heterogenization is out in Nature Reviews Neuroscience. Check out our ideas to increase reproducibility and generalizability by incorporating biological variation in experimental design.

May: Anasuya has handed in her PhD thesis on the quantitative genetic architecture of morphological, song and reproductive traits in grasshoppers. Well done, Anasuya!

April: Max started his PhD project on trophic interactions along a grassland biodiversity gradient. This is one of 11 subprojects, supervised by Anne, in new Research Unit of the Jena-Experiment. Welcome, Max!

April: The Corona crisis makes life hard also in the Jena-Experiment. This year's weeding campagin will therefore be done by fewer people. We try to do our best to maintain the field site in good condition.

March: The March issue of the Laborjournal reports on citation rankings in behavioural biology with substantial contributions from our group.

March: A neat video illustrates the results of a recent study on performance of plant monocultures  published in Oikos and coauthored by Anne.

February: And now Marko Bračić from NC3 Collaborative Research Center is visiting for some analysis of optimism in mice. Good to see how the collaborative nature of the center develops!

February: Abhijeet successfully defended his PhD thesis on the giant genomes of Acridid grasshoppers. Congratulations, Abhijeet!

February: Alex Mutwill from the NC3 Collaborative Research Center is visiting for a lab rotation and for an analysis of endocrinological patterns in guinea pig social niche conformance.

January: Mahendra has joint the groups as an IMPRS PhD students who works on the molecular basis of colour polymorphisms in grasshoppers. Welcome, Mahendra!

January: Dave is attending the 2020 Workshop on Genomics at Český Krumlov.

January: Clemens Küpper is visiting and will give in talk in our EES Colloquium.

2019 Show content

December: Our Xmax symposium features talks student talks, resumes of 2020, a best picture award and lots of entertainment.

December: Holger is off for a talk at the TU Dresden in the group of Klaus Reinhardt.

Novermber: Great bird genomic talks this week by Alexander Suh and Manuel Schweizer in our EES Colloquium.

November: Our workshop Reproducible and Transparent Science with Ulf Toelch and Wolfgang Forstmeier als instructors is taking place in Jena. We are looking forward to many new important insights on how to further improve the way we do our science. Thanks, Gabe, for the organization!

November: Holger is attending a workshop on Causes and Consequences of Inclusive Inheritance at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology in Plön. It is an impressive line-up of interesting speakers.

October: Niloo, Reto, and Dave are attending the 9th Bonn Humboldt Award Winners’ Forum. Niloo is holding a Humboldt postdoctoral fellowship and the meeting features projects from all across the disciplines.

Oktober: The final confirmation of DFG funding for a new Research Unit FOR 5000 is there. We are looking forward to more exciting biodiversity research on the Jena Experiment field site with 11 subprojects, two of which from our group. See framework proposal: Biotic interactions, community assembly, and ecoevolutionary dynamics as drivers of long-term biodiversity–ecosystem functioning relationships.

October: Gabe, Elina and Holger are attending the 2020 Retreat of the SFB TRR-212 on Individualized Niches: Niche Choice, Niche Conformance, Niche Construction (NC³).

September: Shinichi Nakagawa is giving a talk MARS on Life: the emerging field of synthesis biology as part of the Colloquium of the Faculty of Biological Sciences Jena de

September: Elina won the prize for the best poster presentation in the section Behaviour at the Annual Meeting of the German Zoological Society (DZG). Congratulations, Elina!

September: The 112th Annual Meeting of the German Zoological Society (DZG) is taking place in Jena with Reto, Elina, Abhijeet and Holger presenting their work.

September: The selection symposium for the next cohort of PhD students in the IMPRS "The Exploration of Ecological Interactions with Molecular and Chemical Techniques" is taking place with one of our project in the race.

September: Holger went for the grant evalutation panel meeting of the Swedish Research Council for this year's grant applications in the field of ecology and evolution.

August: We are off for a large Master student excursion to the Straight of Gibraltar. The exucsion is focused on bird migration and we hope for some good day with many migrating raptors. 

August: Niloo joined the group as a Humboldt postdoctoral fellow to with Reto on speciation, hybridization and parallel plumage evolution.

July: Darren is leaving for a postdoc in Australia. Thanks, Darren, for three years of work on feedweebs in grassland systems.

July: Holger is presenting his ideas on ecologcail niches at the workshop Philosophical perspectives on ecoloigcal niches organized by the SFB TRR-212.

July: Nicolas and Dave has joined the group to work with Reto on speciation and hybridization in wheatears. Welcome, Nick, welcome, Dave!

June: Abhiheet has submitted his PhD thesis on the The transcriptomic and genomic architecture of
Acrididae grasshoppers. Congratulations, Abhijeet!

June: Reto is an invited speaker at the SMBE satellite meeting on Identifying barriers to gene flow in the genome in Tjärnö, Sweden.

June: This week is the on-site evaluation of our application for a new DFG funded Research Unit for experimental biodiversity research at the Jena Experiment field site. The application was very well evaluated. Big thanks to speaker Nico Eisenhauer for all the efforts!

June: We just had our annual light trap session for nocturnal insects as part of our Faunistic methods seminar. We saw lots of interesting species.

June: Holger will present our work as part of the faculty colloquim on 20th June.

May: Elina and Holger went for the the 2019 Joint Symposium of MGSE, RTG 2220 EvoPAD and CRC-TRR 212 NC3.

May: Anja has left our group and Annette is taking over. Thank you, Anja, for all your help over the last few years! And welcome, Annette!

May: Holger is off for a seminar talk at the French research center in Ecology and Evolutionary Ecology in Montpellier.

May: Reto started his field season to complete the sampling of the pied/black-eared wheater complex covering the full range of the distribution, including all significant hybrid zones.

April: Holger joins the second iDiv synthesis workshop sTraitChange, organized by Viktoriia Radchuk, Marcel E. Visser, in Leipzig. The workshop promises exciting discussion on how environmental change shapes population dynamics and trait evolution.

April: The 2019 call for PhD applications within the IMPRS The Exploration of Ecological Interactions with Molecular and Chemical Techniques. We have proposed one in a pool of 12 projects. Please find more information and apply via the IMPRS website.

April: The next field season at the Jena Experiment field site has started with the first large weeding campaign in order to maintain the plant species diversity gradient for the 19th year in a row.

March: Holger joint this year's panel Natural and Engineering Sciences of the Swedish Research Council of grant evaluation.

March: Nilo received a Humboldt postdoctoral fellowship to work with Reto on speciation and hybridization in wheatears.

March: Holger is giving a one-week graduate student course on Variance decomposition using mixed models in R at Bielefeld University as part of the Collaborative Research Centre NC3.

March: Gabe, Elina and Holger are attending the annual IMPRS symposium of the International Max Planck Research School The Exploration of Ecological Interactions with Molecular and Chemical Techniques.

March: Bernhard Schmid and Yuxin Chen are visiting for a large-scale data analysis that they are conducting together with Anja on the effects of draught stress on plant communities.

February: Holger is attending a workshop on the role of context-dependencies in the reproducibility of scientific experiments organized by Bernhard Voelkl and Hanno Würbel.

January: Reto will be an invited speaker at the SMBE Satellite Meeting on Speciation Genomics that takes place in June at  at the Marine Biology Laboratory, Tjärnö, Sweden.

2018 Show content

November: The Laborjournal ranking in evolutionary biology reports good reception of our articles. The ranking includes citations form researchers residing in Austria, Switzerland and Germany (#16).

November: We have submitted the preregistration of a meta-analysis to the Open Science Framework (OSF). Preregistration is meant to improve reproducibility of research findings by increased transpareny already at all early stages of the analysis.

November: Holger is contributing to a yDiv training course on career planning for young scientists.

November: Laszlo Garamszegi is visiting for a mini writing and planning retreat.

November: Reto is giving seminar talks at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, Seewiesen, and at the LMU Munich.

October: Holger joins an iDiv synthesis workshop sTraitChange, organized by Viktoriia Radchuk, Marcel E. Visser, in Leipzig. The workshop promises exciting discussion on how environmental change shapes population dynamics and trait evolution.

October: Jutta Behr has started as our new secretary. Welcome!

October: First annual retreat of the NC3 Collabrative Research Center on individualized niches.

September: Gabe is attending the Berlin-Oxford summer school on Open, transparent, and reproducible research in the life sciences.

September: Anne is co-organizing the topcial session on trophic levels in biodiversity experiments at the 48th Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

September: Our group is contributing to MINT festival Jena de that aims to enthuse school kids for the natural sciences.

September: Elina and Martin have joint the CRC team on individualized niches. The will both focus on meta-analyses. Welcome, Elina and Martin!

August: Ana is leaving our group. Thanks a lot for all your contribution, Ana!

August: Reto and Abhijeet set off for the Second Joint Congress on Evolutionary Biology, Montpellier, where Reto is running the symposium S40 - Towards an integrated understanding of genomic and phenotypic divergence.

August: Reto has advertised his PhD postion (funded by the German Research Foundation) on the Genomics of Hybridization, Speciation, and Plumage Coloration. Please spread the word and apply if you are interested.

August: Max, Fabian and Holger left for field work studying colour-polymorphisms in grasshoppers.

July: Here is a new short video on our biodiversity research at Jena Experiment field site starring Anne and Nico.

July: July is the time for our practical courses in basic ecology as part of the BSc in Biology.

July: Reto received a large research grant from the German Research Foundation (DFG). The project will use cutting-edge population genomics to reravel the speciation and phenotype evolution in replicated hybrid zones of wheaters. Congratulations, Reto!

June: Gabe started her field work season on the evolutionary ecology of predictability in behaviour.

May: The Collaborative Rearch Center (funded by the German Research Foundation) on Niche Choice, Niche Conformance, Niche Construction (NC3) has had its kick-off meeting in Bielefeld. Things get started and we are facing significant new insights into the ecology and evolution of individualized niches.

May: Check out the Jena Experiment papers and their impact using the new Google Scholar profil of the Jena Experiment.

April: Anne is organizing a thematic session on Trophic levels in biodiversity experiments at this year's Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The call for contributions is out.

April: Gabe has started her PhD project on predictability of escape behaviour in grasshoppers as part of the new Collaborative Research Center on individualized niches. Welcome, Gabe!

March: Günter has presented on the change in grasshopper communities at the Jena Experiment field sites at the biannual meeting of the German Society for Orthopera (DGfO).

March: This year's call of the International Max Planck Research School (IMPRS) for PhD student applications is out and we have offered a project. Check it out.

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: Silke has left the group after an extended period of work as a gardener in the Jena Experiment. Thanks again for all your help, Silke!

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 large-scale 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!

2017 Show content

December: We have opened applications for two PhD postion. PhD position in Evolutionary Ecology of Predictability in Behavior and PhD position on a meta-analysic perspective on individualized niches. The deadline for applications is 14 January 2018.

November: The DFG decided to fund our Collaborative Rearch Center (Sonderforschungsbereich) on "Niche Choice, Niche Conformance, Niche Construction (NC3)" with two of the 19 projects located in Jena. Two PhD positions will soon be avertised.

November: The Research Unit of the Jena Experiment holds its regular retreat in Jena to discuss the newst results. At the same time, a recent publication gives a comprehensive overview of past 15 years of experimental biodiversity research at the Jena Experiment.

November: The symposia for the next 2nd Joint Congress on Evolutionary Biology in Montpellier 2018 have beeen announced with Reto organising a symposium Towards an integrated understanding of genomic and phenotypic divergence.

November: Luke Eberhart-Phillips is visiting for a presentation in the EES colloquium. He's presenting his exciting work on sex ratios and mating systems in shorebirds.

Oktober: 26 mins Arte documentary (in German and French) on the grassland biodiversity research from the Jen Experiment just came out.

Oktober: Course registration for the winter semester has started. Interested students, please check out our teaching classes.

Oktober: Sadly, Max has moved away. Thanks again for all your enthusism and contribution to the group, Max.

September: A short documentary on the Jena Experiment was shown ARD. Have a look.

September: September is the month for the group excursion. We've for a nice hike on a beautiful later summer day.

September: September is the month for the group excursion. We've for a nice hike on a beautiful later summer day.

September: We are now part of the new Insitute of Ecology and Evolution.

August: Holger has joined the Michael Stifel Center Jena, a network of scientist working on large-scale datasets..

August: The German Center for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) has advertised a junior resaerch group leader postion in Adaptation and Evolution.

July: Pablo has submitted his PhD thesis on phenotypic plasticity and condition-dependent trait expression in our favorite alpine grasshopper. Congratulations, Pablo!

June: Reto published a very interesting commentary on the interpretation of patterns of genomic differentiation in the new open access journal Evolution Letters.

June: Anne organized and attended the second sToichNutNet workshop. The workshop has focused on plant community stoichiometry and consequences for plant damage and is based on the worldwide NutNet project .

June: The first data collection for biomass at the Jena Experiment has just been finished, the first mowing is done too.

May: Meeting of the iDiv members from Jena. Very intersting to see the breadth and strength of the topics covered.

April: Holger joint the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) as a full member.

March: The first period of weeding has just started at the Jena Experiment.

February: Anja went to a workshop on community assembly that she co-organized. The workshop focuses on various global change drivers and analyses long term data from the Jena Experient and Cedar Creek biodiversity experiments.

February: An impressive video sequence presenting the Jena Experient has been released.

February: The symposium "15 Years of the Jena Experiment: The Past, the Pesent and the Future" took place from 7th to 8th february in the Volksbad in Jena.

January: Conservation biologist Prof. Richard Primack from Boston University visited the Institute and has also inspected the field site of the Jena Experiment.

January: Anne just returned from an sToichNutNet workshop that she has organized. The workshop has focused on plant community stoichiometry and consequences for plant damage and is based on the worldwide NutNet project .

January: Abhijeet Shah has moved from Bielefeld to Jena. Welcome, Abhijeet!

2016 Show content

December: Holger has joined the the International Max Planck Resarch School (IMPRS) for The Exploration of Ecological Interactions with Molecular and Chemical Techniques as a faculty member.

December: The new university magazine Lichtgedanken has featured the Jena Experiment as one of its cover stories (in German) in its first issue.

December: Sara Bellinvia has received an award from the Friedrich Wilhelm Helweg Foundation for her Masters thesis on predictability in behaviour. Congratulations!

December: Ana has started her work as a technical assistent in our group. Welcome, Ana!

November: The Jena Experiment had its annual retreat at the iDiv in Leipzig.

October: Arnaud Gaigher, a PhD student with Luca Fumagalli in Lausanne, has arrived for a one-week stay to do some molecular genetic analyses with Reto. Welcome, Arnaud!

October: Adrián Baños Villalba, a PhD student with Pim Edelaar in Sevilla, has arrived for a three-month stay to conduct some quantitative genetic analyses. Welcome, Adrián!

September: A completely revised and extended version of our R package rptR for the estimation of repeatabilities is now available on the Comprehensive R Archive Network (CRAN).

September: Our group went to western Thuringia (Eichsfeld) to conduct a tour by draisine. Very beautiful trip! .

August: Anne joins the editorial board of Ecology & Evolution. Congratulations, Anne!

August: A tree cricket (Oecanthus pellucens) near the institute seems to be the first documented record for the county Thuringia. [Image]

July: Shinichi Nakagawa is visiting from Sydney for finishing and developing some collaborative work.

July: The Jena Experiment will have its Open House Day on 19th July 2016. This will be a great opportunity to visit one of the longest-running experimental biodiversity projects worldwide.

July: Darren joined our group as a postdoc in the Jena Experiment. Welcome, Darren!

June: Our group went for an orchid hike in the surroundings of Jena. Great weather and beautiful plants!

June: Our R package squid: Statistical Quantification of Individual Differences got released on CRAN. The package allows simulation based tools of optimizing sampling designs and comes with tutorials for teaching and self-study of mixed effects models. Check it out!

June: Reto, Petra and Max join the group. Warm welcome!

May: Anasuya joins from Bielefeld to continue her PhD work on the genetic architecture of song and morphology in grasshoppers.

May: Holger starts as head of department.

April: Start of the summer semester and re-initiation of the department.

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