Vortragsreihe Ökologie und Umweltforschung SS 2012

Thursday 12:00-13:30 H 12, NW I

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Dr. Christoph Küffer
Institute of Integrative Biology, ETH Zürich (Homepage)
Thursday, 12.07.2012 :

Model Systems for Integrative Global Change Research: from Model Organisms to Global Comparative Studies

 

How to address threats by invasive alien species is at the moment vividly debated in the scientific and management literature. It becomes increasingly clear that an isolated focus on alien species as drivers of ecological change is too narrow in a time of manifold anthropogenic change. I argue in this talk that while knowledge produced by the research field may indeed have to be revised and complemented, the ways through which invasive species research has proceeded over the past decades can teach us much about how ecological global change research can be productive and effective for management. Invasion science has for some 50 years been a problem-oriented research field focused on a complex but specific societal problem: impacts of alien species. This problem-orientation had at least two important consequences: First, basic ecology, applied ecology, transdisciplinary deliberations, and management have for a long time been tightly interlinked. Second, and this will be the main topic of my talk, the comprehensiveness of research approaches is unique in ecology. Invasion science integrates the fields of population and evolutionary biology, community and ecosystem ecology, but also non-biological fields such as socioeconomics and human history.

I will in my talk review strengths and weaknesses of different research strategies employed in invasion science to enable such integrative research – model organism-centred research, place-based research, exploitation of natural experiments, global comparative studies – and discuss lessons learnt for ecological global change research.

 



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