Reassembly of species interaction networks

Reassembly of species interaction networks

Resistance, resilience and functional recovery of a rainforest ecosystem

​DFG-funded Research Unit REASSEMBLY (FOR 5207) will start in November 2021 (see News)

REASSEMBLY aims at understanding network dynamics to uncover rules of network dis- and reassembly in a highly diverse tropical lowland rainforest ecosystem. We will study the dynamics of natural forest recovery from agriculture along a chronosequence and the contribution of re-assembled networks to the resilience of ecosystem processes against perturbation. We will compare the trajectories of predator–prey, plant–pollinator, and plant–seed disperser networks, as well as decomposition networks between mammals, dung beetles and seeds, and between dead wood, ants, termites, and beetles. Subprojects thus examine networks of all major ecosystem processes mediated by interspecific interactions: predation, pollination, primary and secondary seed dispersal, herbivory, decomposition, and tree seedling recruitment. Networks and ecosystem processes will be studied along a large-scale chronosequence of forest recovery (62 plots representing different stages of succession) and in a small-scale perturbation–recruitment experiment.

Our MISSION: Although REASSEMBLY is a basic scientific research unit, our aim is to ensure that the knowledge gained can be applied and contribute to optimizing the restoration of tropical forests. This research project, funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG), will not only be conducted within a forest in Ecuador, but on an equal footing with the Ecuadorian scientific community in different institutions and with an Ecuadorian conservation organization (Fundación Jocotoco). Our goal is to strengthen ecological science and the next generation of scientists in both countries, as well as nature conservation efforts that meet the interests of local communities. To achieve these goals, transparent and accessible data and results are essential.

Latest Posts:

  • “Drehbuch für den Wiederaufbau” [FAZ]
    Atikel in der Frankfurter Allgemeinen Zeitung am 21. Juli 2021 von Hildegard Kaulen. Können komplexe Ökosysteme sich wieder regenerieren? Forscher schreiben am Drehbuch für den Wiederaufbau der von Menschenhand zerstörten Natur. Nur für FAZ-Abonnenten lesbar: LINK.
  • Article in hoch3: from toxic frogs to recovering rainforests
    A very enjoyable article about our research unit just appeared in TU Darmstadt’s hoch3 journal, written by journalist Hildegard Kaulen. Also in German language here. And our most poisonous frog made it on the title page.
  • New ant species described in 3D
    A spectacular new ant species has been discovered by Phil Hoenle – in the rainforest just behind the research station. The paper in ZooKeys describes this new species, Odonotomachus davidsoni – and accompanies the formal description for the first time with 3D images, making Museum specimen accessible to the public. The species’ name was subject …
  • Very unusual Strumigenys ant
    Phil Hoenle discovered a new Strumigenys species in the study site. Within the large global ant genus Strumigenys, this species is a morphologically outlier with its long trap-jaw mandibles and smooth surface sculpturing. The species description in ZooKeys caught a lot of attention by the media: it was not only named after a popular artist …
  • REASSEMBLY Homepage
    The REASSEMBLY research group has now a homepage! We can’t wait to start field work and will keep you posted here…