Our research focusses at the interface of Evolutionary Ecology and Functional Biodiversity research. We aim to understand the fundamental ecological, behavioral, chemical and genetic/genomic factors as well as population health related processes that drive adaptive evolution and ensure ecosystem functions. Details on current projects, target species, methods and technologies used to achieve our goals, as well as our team can be found here:


Prof. Dr. Simone SommerConservation Genomics and EcoHealth
Prof. Dr. Manfred AyasseChemical Ecology
Apl Prof. Dr. Marco Tschapka Tropical Ecology
Apl Prof. Dr. Gerhard MaierFreshwater Ecology


Recently published research (2014/2015):

Engel KC, Männer L, Ayasse M., Steiger S (2015) Acceptance threshold theory can explain the occurrence of homosexual behaviour. Biology Letters 11: 20140603

Allan E, Bossdorf O, Dormann CF, Pratia D, Gossner MM, Tscharntke T, Blüthgen N, Bellach M, Birkhofer K, Boch S, Böhm SM, Börschig C, Chatzinotas A, Christ S, Daniel R, Diekötter T, Fischer C, Friedl T, Glaser K, Hallmann C, Hodac L, Hölzel N, Jung K, Klein AM, Klaus VH, Kleinebecker T, Krauss J, Lange M, Morris EK, Müller J, Nacken H, Pašali E, Rillig MC, Rothenwöhrer C, Schall P, Christoph Scherberf, Schulze W, Sochera SA, Steckel J, Steffan-Dewenterh I, Türke M, Weiner CN, Werner M, Westphal C, Wolters V, Wubet T, Gockel S, Gorke M, Hemp A, Renner SC, Schöning I, Pfeiffer S, König-Ries B, Buscot F, Linsenmair KE, Schulze E-D, Weisser WW, Fischer M (2014) Interannual variation in land-use intensity enhances grassland multidiversity. PNAS 111:308–313

Ayasse M, Jarau S (2014) Chemical ecology of bumble bees. Annu Rev Entomol 59:299-319

Baldwin HJ, Vallo P, Gardner M, Drosten C, Tschapka M, Stow AJ (2014) Isolation and characterization of 11 novel microsatellite loci in a West African leaf-nosed bat, Hipposideros aff. ruber. BCM Research Notes 7:607

Brouat C, Tollenaere C, Estoup A, Loiseau A, Sommer S, Soanandrasana R, Rahalison L, Rajerison M, Piry S, Goodman S, Duplantier J-M (2014) Invasion genetics of a human commensal rodent: the black rat Rattus rattus in Madagascar. Molecular Ecology 23:4153-4167

Capodeanu-Nägler A, Rapkin J, Hunt J, Steiger S (2014) Self-recognition in crickets via on-line processing. Current Biology 24:R1118

Cottontail VM, Kalko EK, Cottontail I, Wellinghausen N, Tschapka M, Perkins S, Pinto C (2014) High local diversity of Trypanosoma in a common bat species, and implications for the biogeography and taxonomy of the T. cruzi Clade PloS one 9:e108603.7

Eckerle I, Ehlen L, Kallies R, Wollny R, Corman VM, Cottontail VM, Tschapka M, Oppong S, Drosten C, Müller MA (2014) Bat airway epithelial cells: A novel tool for the study of zoonotic viruses. PLOS One 9:e84679

Eckerle I, Ehlen L, Kallies R, Wollny R, Corman VM, Cottonteil VM, Tschapka M, Oppong S, Drosten C, Müller MA (2014) Bat airway epithelial cells: A novel tool for the study of zoonotic viruses. PLOS One 9:e84679

Engel KC, von Hoermann C, Eggert A-K, Müller JK, Steiger S (2014) When males stop having sex: adaptive insect mating tactics during parental care. Animal Behaviour 90:245-253

Feit B, Übernickel K, Tschapka M, Kalko EKV (2014) The potential function of individual signal frequency for masking avoidance in the greater bulldog bat Noctilio leporinus. Chiroptera Neotropical 19:71-79

Fernandez A, Fasel N, Knörnschild M, Richner H (2014) When bats are boxing: aggressive behaviour and communication in male Seba's short-tailed fruit bat. Animal Behaviour 98:149-156

Froeschke G, Sommer S (2014) Role of selection versus neutral processes determining genetic variation in a small mammal along a climatic gradient in southern Africa. Evolutionary Ecology 28:1169-1190

Greiner S, Nagy M, Mayer F, Knörnschild M, Hofer H, Voigt C (2014) Sex-biased senescence in a polygynous bat species. Ethology 120:197-205

Haberer W, Steiger S, Müller JK (2014) Dynamic changes in volatile emissions of breeding burying beetles. Physiological Entomology 39:153-164

Jung K, Molinari J, Kalko EKV (2014) Driving factors for the evolution of species-specific echolocation call design in New World free-tailed bats (Molossidae). PLOS ONE 9:e85279

Knörnschild M (2014) Vocal production learning in bats. Current Opinion in Neurobiology 28:80-85

Knörnschild M, Feifel M, Kalko EKV (2014) Male courtship displays and vocal communication in the polygynous bat Carollia perspicillata. Behaviour 151:781–798

Kubiczek K, Renner SC, Böhm SM, Kalko EKv, Wells K (2014) Movement and ranging patterns of the common chaffinch in heterogeneous forest landscapes PeerJ 2:e368

Lapinski W, Tschapka M (2014) Desiccation resistance reflects patterns of microhabitat choice in a Central-American assemblage of wandering spiders. J Exp Biol 217:2789-2795

Lapinski W, Tschapka M (2014) Desiccation resistance reflects patterns of microhabitat choice in a Central-American assemblage of wandering spiders. Journal of Experimental Biology 217:2789-2795

Menke S, Wasimuddin, Meier M, Melzheimer J, Mfune J, Heinrich S, Thalwitzer S, Wachter W, Sommer S (2014) Oligotyping reveals differences between gut microbiomes of free-ranging sympatric Namibian carnivores (Acinonyx jubatus, Canis mesomelas) on a bacterial species-like level. Front Microbiol 5:doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2014.00526

Milet-Pinheiro P, Navarro D, Aquino N, Ferreira L, Tavares R, Lima-Mendonça A, Vaníková L, Mendonça L, Nascimento R (2014) Identification of male-borne attractants in Anastrepha fraterculus (Diptera: Tephritidae). Chemoecology DOI 10.1007/s00049-014-0180-3

Mumm C, Knörnschild M (2014) The vocal repertoire of adult and neonate giant otters (Pteronura brasiliensis). PLoS ONE 9:e112562

Mumm CAS, Urrutia MC, Knörnschild M (2014) Vocal individuality in cohesion calls of giant otters, Pteronura brasiliensis. Animal Behaviour 88:243-252

Muster C, Meyer M, Sattler T (2014) Spatial arrangement overrules environmental factors to structure native and non-native assemblages of synanthropic harvestmen. PLOS ONE 9:e90474

Nagy M, Knörnschild M, Günther L, Mayer F (2014) Dispersal and social organization in the Neotropical Grey sac-winged bat Balantiopteryx plicata. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 68:891–901

Ripperger SP, Tschapka M, Kalko EKV, Rodríguez-Herrera B, Mayer F (2014) Resisting habitat fragmentation: high genetic connectivity among populations of the frugivorous bat Carollia castanea in an agricultural landscape. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 185:9–15

Schwensow N, Cooke B, Kovaliski J, Sinclair R, Peacock D, Fickel J, Sommer S (2014) Rabbit haemorrhagic disease: virus persistence and adaptation in Australia. Evolutionary Applications 7:1056–1067

Simon R, Knörnschild M, Tschapka M, Schneider A, Passauer N, Kalko EKV, von Helversen O (2014) Biosonar resolving power: echo-acoustic perception of surface structures in the submillimeter range. Frontiers in Physiology 5:doi:10.3389/fphys.2014.00064

Sommer S, Rakotondranary S, Ganzhorn J (2014 online first) Maintaining microendemic primate species along an environmental gradient – parasites as drivers for species differentiation. Ecology and Evolution DOI: 10.1002/ece3.1311

Steiger S, Stökl J (2014) The role of sexual selection in the evolution of chemical signals in insects. Insects 5:423-438

Voigt CC, Helbig-Bonitz M, Kramer-Schadt S, Kalko EKV (2014) The third dimension of bat migration: evidence for elevational movements of Miniopterus natalensis along the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro. Oecologia 174:751–764

Wells K, Feldhaar H, O'Hara RB (2014) Population fluctuations affect inference in ecological networks of multi-species interactions. Oikos 123:589–598

Wells K, Lakim MB, O'Hara RB (2014) Shifts from native to invasive small mammals across gradients from tropical forest to urban habitat in Borneo. Biodivers Conserv DOI:  10.1007/s10531-014-0723-5:

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Prof. Dr. Simone Sommer (Director)
University of Ulm
Institute of Evolutionary Ecology
and Conservation Genomics
Albert-Einstein Allee 11
D-89069 Ulm
Tel.: 0049-731-5022660
Tel.: 0049-731-5022661 (Secretary)
Fax: 0049-731-5022683
Simone.Sommer () uni-ulm.de
Sekretariat_Bio3 () uni-ulm.de