Since January 2014, I am a PhD candidate in the working group of Dr. Michael Kessler at the Institute of Systematic Botany, University of Zurich (Switzerland). My research focusses on the evolution and development of tropical plant communities and their diversity patterns. Therefore, we sample fern species/communities on three elevational gradients in tropical mountain rainforests in Ecuador, Uganda and Papua New Guinea and try to integrate this data into dated phylogenetic approaches. By doing so, we hope to understand causes for the variation of community patterns (richness and composition), and the impact of diversification rates. Additionally, we hope to get insights into the evolution of these community patterns along the elevational gradients.
In my undergraduate and master studies, I worked at the Nees Institute for Biodiversity of Plants, University of Bonn, where my research focussed mainly on the (molecular) evolution of cryptogam plants. My Bachelor thesis concentrated on the (molecular) evolution of pleurocarpy in mosses. During my Master of Plant Sciences, I started working in the ABA GAM project (Nees Institute Bonn and the museum for natural sciences in Stuttgart) and could participate in fieldtrips to Ecuador, where we sampled ferns and bryophytes along an elevational gradient to investigate the potential role of gametophytes as bioindicators. In my master thesis, I focused on the evolution, biogeography and taxonomy of the old tree fern family Dicksoniaceae.
2011 January/February – ABA GAM - Estación Científica San Francisco, Loja, Ecuador
2012 March – Ecuador (ABA GAM)
2014 March – Uganda
2014 July/August Papua New Guinea