Dynamic Trait Variability

Many ecological processes result from predator-prey interactions. Therefore, it is of considerable interest to investigate these interactions in order to gain a deeper understanding of ecosystem dynamics and functions.

Within this project, the effect of trait variability on the dynamics of a coupled, bi-trophic plankton – biofilm system will be investigated. The bacterial species Pseudomonas putida, which can form contrasting phenotypes, i.e. planktonic cells and biofilms will be used as prey model organism. As predators, we will use Paramecium tetraurelia as specialized plankton predator and Acanthamoeba castellani as specialized biofilm predator species.

In order to link the microbial population dynamics to ecosystem structure and functions, we will investigate how the trait variation in the predator guild (plankton and biofilm predators) will change the biomass allocation and the carbon flux efficiency within the microbial food web.

This project is a cooperation of the Inst. of Hydrobiology (TU Dresden), the Department of River Ecology (Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ) and the Dept. Ecology and Ecosystem Modelling (University of Potsdam), where I'm loosely involved in. Further information on this project can be found at the homepages of the DFG Priority Programme "DynaTrait" and the DFG online database GEPRIS.