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Faculty for Biology, Chemistry, and Earth Sciences

Animal Ecology I: Prof. Dr. Christian Laforsch, Prof. Dr. Heike Feldhaar

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Robert SiglDipl.-Biol.

Robert Sigl

Doctoral student

Phone: +49-921-55-2648
Fax: +49-921-55-2784
Room: NW I, 5.0 01 39
e-Mail: robert.sigl(at)uni-bayreuth.de

Project description:

My research focuses on the ecology and morphology of the crown-of-thorns starfish Acanthaster planci. Mass outbreaks of this corallivore are amongst the most significant threats to coral reefs in modern times. Besides intensive efforts during the last 50 years the exploration of the reasons for the emergence of outbreaks are still subject of numerous studies. In my current project we investigate migration behavior and morphological plasticity in adult A. planci. We suppose that new outbreaks may be evoked by migrating adult starfish, forming aggregations in distant reefs. We apply state of the art magnetic resonance imaging and 3D-modelling to look at morphological plasticity in A. planci. Field and laboratory studies are conducted to investigate movement patterns and speed and factors that influence the direction of movements. Learning about the spatial outreach potential of outbreak populations and single individuals we hope to be able to improve management strategies on the crown-of-thorns starfish.




Sigl, R.; Schupp, P.; Imhof, H.; Laforsch, C.; 2010 “Acanthaster planci - Plasticity in morphology and behavior?” 4. Evolution, Ecology and Systematics (EES)-Conference, Munich


Fadel, R. F.; Sigl, R.; Laforsch, C.; 2011 „Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and subsequent 3D reconstruction as a new method for volume analysis in Acanthaster planci (Asteroidea, Echinodermata)“ 5.Evolution, Ecology and Systematics (EES)-Conference, Munich


Laforsch, C.; Imhof, H.; Sigl, R.; Heß, M.; Wanninger,A.; Settles, M.; 2011 “Applications of computed 3D-modeling in organismal biology” in 3D-models in engeneering, Intech


Sigl, R.; Imhof, H.; Schupp, P.; Caballes, C.F.; Laforsch C.; 2011 “A non-invasive method to analyze Acanthaster planci using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and subsequent 3D-reconstruction” 104. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Zoologischen Gesellschaft (DZG), Saarbrücken


Sigl, R.; Imhof, H.; Settles, M.; Laforsch, C.; 2012 “A novel non-invasive and in vivo method to calculate organ indices in large Asteroids using 3D models based on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)” 2012 ASLO aquatic sciences meeting, Otsu, Japan


Fadel, F.; Sigl, R.; Settles, M.; Laforsch, C.; 2012 “Using 3D reconstructions based on magnetic resonance imaging to measure growth in the crown-of-thorns starfish (Acanthaster planci, Asteroidea, Echinodermata) 2012 ASLO aquatic sciences meeting, Otsu, Japan


Sigl, R.; DeMotte, A.; Laforsch, C.; 2012 “Plastic responses to food limitation in Acanthaster planci observed by in vivo magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and subsequent 3D modeling” 105. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Zoologischen Gesellschaft (DZG), Konstanz


Sigl, R.; Imhof, H.; Settles, M.; Laforsch,C.; 2013 “A novel, non-invasive and in vivo approach to determine morphometric data in starfish“ J exp mar biol ecol  449


Sigl, R.; Settles, M.; Laforsch, C.; 2014 “Does plasticity help Acanthaster planci outbreaks to spread?” 2014 ASLO ocean sciences meeting, Honolulu, USA




Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD)

Sealife Center Munich

Air France

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