Department of Ecology / Ecosystem Modelling
University of Potsdam
Maulbeerallee 2, House 2
(Postal address: Am Neuen Palais 10)
Tel. + 49 331 977 1900
We study plankton communities and food webs in field studies, laboratory experiments, and modelling studies to contribute to ecological theory building and to the solution of urgent ecological problems such as the consequences of biodiversity loss.
The core areas of my research are:
Due to their high diversity, plankton communities can adapt their functional properties to fluctuating environmental conditions. This influences their biomass dynamics and the maintenance of their functional biodiversity. In addition, interesting feedback loops arise between the dynamics in the biomasses and the functional properties of the individual populations.
Plankton ecology contributes significantly to ecological theory building, because plankton communities are relatively easily manipulated in the laboratory, have short generation times and have a relatively clear spectrum of functional properties. This makes plankton communities an ideal experimental model system that can be used to study both general and specific ecological research questions.
We combine different process-oriented mathematical modelling approaches with the analysis of field data from Lake Constance and chemostat experiments. The latter are mainly carried out by our cooperation partners within the DFG (German Science Foundation) Priority Programme DynaTrait(SPP 1704), which I lead. If we consider variability in functional properties within populations and communities not as noise but as their inherent property, we can better understand the biodiversity and dynamics observed in natural and experimental systems.
I also have a broad interest in quantitative food webs and other processes that affect the dynamics of species-rich communities, relying on extensive field measurements and experiments.
In the research area Interplay between trait diversity and ecological dynamics using plankton communities as model systems, we currently work on five sub-projects within the DFG Priority Programme DynaTrait:
Gaedke, U., D. Ollinger, E. Bäuerle and D. Straile (1998) The impact of weather conditions on the seasonal plankton development. Arch. Hydrobiol. Spec. Issues: Advances in Limnology 53: 565-585. Pdf full-text
Gaedke, U. and T. Weisse (1998) Seasonal and interannual variability of picocyanobacteria in Lake Constance (1987-1996) Arch. Hydrobiol. Spec. Issues: Advances in Limnology 53: 143-158. Pdf full-text
Gaedke, U. and D. Straile (1998) Daphnids: Keystone species for the pelagic food web structure and energy flow - A body size related analysis linking seasonal changes on the population and ecosystem level. Arch. Hydrobiol. Spec. Issues: Advances in Limnology 53: 587-610. Pdf full-text
Gaedke, U. (1998 b) The response of the pelagic community of a large and deep lake (L. Constance) to reoligotrophication: Evidence for scale-dependent hierarchical patterns. Arch. Hydrobiol. Spec. Issues: Advances in Limnology 53: 317-333. Pdf full-text
Gaedke, U. (1998 a) Functional and taxonomical properties of the phytoplankton community: Interannual variability and response to re-oligotrophication. Arch. Hydrobiol. Spec. Issues: Advances in Limnology 53: 119-141. Pdf full-text
Häse, C., U. Gaedke, B. Beese, A. Seifried and M. Tilzer (1998) Phytoplankton response to reoligotrophication in large and deep Lake Constance: Photosynthetic activity and chlorophyll concentration. Arch. Hydrobiol. Spec. Issues: Advances in Limnology 53: 159-178. Pdf full-text
Ruiter, P. C. de, and U. Gaedke (2017) Emergent facilitation promotes biological diversity in pelagic food webs. Food Webs (in press).
Coutinho, R., T. Klauschies, and U. Gaedke (2016) Bimodal trait distributions with large variances question the reliability of trait-based aggregate models. Theoretical Ecology, 6: 4141-4159 DOI 10.1007/s12080-016-0297-9.
Klauschies, T., D. A. Vasseur, and U. Gaedke (2016) Trait adaptation promotes species coexistence in diverse predator and prey communities. Ecology and Evolution, 9: 389-408 DOI: 10.1002/ece3.2172.
Boit, A., N.D. Martinez, R. J. Williams, U. Gaedke (2012) Mechanistic theory and modeling of complex food web dynamics in Lake Constance. Ecol. Lett., 15:594-602
Massie, T. M., B. Blasius, G. Weithoff, U. Gaedke, and G. Fussmann (2010) Cycles, phase synchronization and entrainment in single-species phytoplankton populations. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. (PNAS) 107: 4236-4241
Tittel, J., V. Bissinger, B. Zippel, U. Gaedke, E. M. Bell, A. Lorke & N. Kamjunke (2003) Mixotrophs combine resource use to out-compete specialists: implications for aquatic food webs. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. (PNAS) 100: 12776-12781
Gaedke, U., S. Hochstädter, and D. Straile (2002) Interplay between energy limitation and nutritional deficiency: Empirical data and food web models. Ecological Monographs 72: 251-270
Hairston, N. G., Jr, W. Lampert, C. E. Cáceres, C. L. Holtmeier, L. J. Weider, U. Gaedke, J. M. Fischer, J. A. Fox & D. M. Post (1999) Lake ecosystems: Rapid evolution revealed by dormant eggs. Nature 401: 446
A full list of publications of all members of my working group and the members of the Priority Programme DynaTrait funded by the German Science Foundation (DFG) can be found here:
I'm happy to send single PDFs on email request.