Why is the site called insularecology.com?
– 1.) Most of my work has been focused on ecology and evolution in discrete island-like habitats and I will continue to use ponds, pools and mountains as model systems in the future. With roots in island biogeography and metapopulation ecology, metacommunity theory is also strongly linked to processes that are relevant for fragmented environments with clear patches and well defined local assemblages of species. Nonetheless, it is clear that much of the earth’s habitats are not insular. While biologists have always had the tendency to put organisms in pigeonholes such as species or communities, the community concept has recently been questioned based on excellent arguments (and so has the species concept). In continuous landscapes it makes more sense to speak of species ranges that overlap at specific points than of discrete communities (Ricklefs, 2008). Exploring different aspects of this new view on communities is part of the PhD of Falko Buschke.
2.) And also just because islands are great!
What is a metacommunity?
– A metacommunity is a set of communities of potentially interacting species that are connected by dispersal. Although the term was coined earlier, it was Mathew Leibold who formally layed out the foundations of this new field in ecology in 2004 (Leibold et al., 2004). I believe it is an immensely powerful paradigm which allows for the integration of processes across spatial and temporal scales.
Are there opportunities to join the group?
– Definitely! I have a preference for projects with a strong focus on dispersal and spatial population or community dynamics but I am open to other suggestions. If you are passionate about a certain topic and it is to some extent compatible with my past / ongoing / future planned research, then we may well be able to make a plan and write a project. I am not a big fan of ‘prefab’ PhD’s. Instead, I like to make sure there are enough degrees of freedom for a student to experiment, learn and develop his/her own ideas.