Interactions and Evolution of Organisms

Evolutionary change at the molecular, cellular and morphological levels is based on an organism’s inherent capacity to generate hereditary (genetic and epigenetic) variations and on its interaction with its biotic and abiotic environment. This key research area, therefore, focuses on those aspects of evolutionary processes that influence the diversification and plasticity of organisms (e.g. interorganismal interactions between multicellular eukaryotes and microbes, the genetic and epigenetic basis for morphological and developmental complexity). The researchers study the question as to how cell and tissue types, as well as morphological, physiological and ecological traits, and interactions within and between organisms, develop and lead to innovation, transitions and radiation.

© Rashmit Kaur: Brain of a Drosophila (fruit fly)

© Harald Krenn: Prosoeca marinusi

© Andy Sombke: Scutigera

The methodological approaches adopted in this area include molecular and single-cell technologies, omics-based, morphological and biomathematical methods, along with 3D and 4D imaging technologies and field-based as well as labbased approaches. The integration of theoretical and experimental approaches at the system level allows for more comprehensive insights into evolution, as well as into the interactions between organisms and their complexity. Here, research covers a great variety of microbial, plant and animal systems to explore genetic functions, developmental and morphological signalling pathways, as well as organismal interactions at multiple stages, which represent the great taxonomical diversity on planet Earth.


Research Groups

Research Group / PIResearch TopicDepartment
Maria Filipa Baltazar de Lima de SousaArchaea Genome Evolution and EcologyFunctional and Evolutionary Ecology
Monika BrightChemosynthesis in Marine  Benthic EcosystemsFunctional and Evolutionary Ecology
Silvia BulgheresiEnvironmental cell biologyFunctional and Evolutionary Ecology
Konrad FiedlerAnimal Ecology and BiodiversityBotany and Biodiversity Research
Leonida FusaniAnimal Physiology and OrnithologyBehavioural & Cognitive Biology
Thomas HummelDevelopment and Function of the Sensory SystemNeurosciences and Developmental Biology
Harald KrennInsect Functional MorphologyEvolutionary Biology
Philipp MitteröckerTheoretical and Evolutionary BiologyEvolutionary Biology
Andrea MöllerScience EducationEvolutionary Biology
Ovidiu PaunPlant Ecological GenomicsBotany and Biodiversity Research
Mihaela PavlicevEvolvability and Reproductive BiologyEvolutionary Biology
Michael SchagerlFunctional Ecology of MicroalgaeFunctional and Evolutionary Ecology
Peter SchausbergerArthropod Behavioural EcologyBehavioural and Cognitive Biology
Christa SchleperArchaea Ecology and EvolutionFunctional and Evolutionary Ecology
Jürg SchönenbergerEvolution and Phylogenetics of AngiospermsBotany and Biodiversity Research
Oleg SimakovEvolution of Metazoan Genome ArchitectureNeurosciences and Developmental Biology
Gerhard SteinerMollusk SystematicsEvolutionary Biology
Ulrich TechnauMolecular Evolution and DevelopmentNeurosciences and Developmental Biology
Andreas WanningerInvertebrate Morphology, Development and EvolutionEvolutionary Biology
Stefanie WienkoopPlant-Microsymbiont InteractionFunctional and Evolutionary Ecology
Tim WollesenMorphological and Molecular Evolution of Spiralian Body PlansEvolutionary Biology
Qi ZhouEvolution of Sex ChromosomesNeurosciences and Developmental Biology
Manuel ZimmerNeural Network Dynamics and BehaviourNeurosciences and Developmental Biology