SBiK-F Research Group
How has the amazing diversity of life on Earth evolved, and what shapes diversity patterns through time and in space? The first question is at the centre of macroevolution, a discipline of biology and palaeontology that investigates speciation, extinction, and the evolution of species’ traits over long timescales (usually millions of years). The second question lies at the intersection of macroevolution with macroecology and biogeography, which study the (paleo-) ecology and the geographic distributions of species, higher taxa, and their traits on large spatial scales. Our research uses integrative approaches to address both questions and focuses on terrestrial vertebrates, in particular mammals and birds.
To understand the variation of diversity in species, higher taxa, and their traits across time and space, we investigate a broad range of topics, bringing together large-scale biogeographical, macroecological and macroevolutionary patterns to infer underlying mechanisms. We compile and synthesize large databases of the fossil record as well as on living taxa, particularly data that are gathered from preserved specimen in museum collections, public data resources, and literature mining, and that encompass species’ traits, geographic and stratigraphic occurrences, and phylogenetic relationships among organisms. Our research integrates methods across various disciplines, such as statistical and modelling tools commonly applied in paleontology and biology as well as macroecology and macroevolution.
Diverse research goals
We are a diverse group of bio- and geoscientists and utilize interdisciplinary approaches to identify potential environmental drivers of biodiversity dynamics, such as climate change, mountain building, and increasing human impacts through the so-called Anthropocene. Our goal is to learn from the past by studying the evolutionary history underlying present-day diversity patterns in relation to their abiotic, biotic, and anthropogenic drivers, in order to improve projections of future biodiversity in a world increasingly dominated by humans.
For more information on our research and highlighted publications, see here. In the drop-down menus below, we provide a selection of links (also to our teaching activities at Goethe University Frankfurt), press releases, and our externally funded projects.
Our research contributes to the Senckenberg research fields Biodiversity and Climate and Biodiversity, Systematics and Evolution, in particular the research activities Geobiodiversity and Climate and Biogeography.