We are motivated scientists with complementary skills leading a team dedicated to unravel the drivers behind ecological and evolutionary dynamics of wildlife, with the ultimate aim of contributing to biodiversity conservation under global change. We combine theory with applied ecology, field work with advanced data analysis and simulation modelling.

Lead: Dr. Stephanie Kramer-Schadt & Dr. Viktoriia Radchuk

Stephanie, Department and Team Lead, applied ecologist, population and disease dynamics at the landscape scale, passionate about wildlife per se, carnivores in particular, D6 and movement ecology, uses models as tools to communicate management issues.

Viktoriia, Team Lead, theoretical ecologist, interested in theory, synthesis, community dynamics and ecological modelling.

Coordination: Dr.Conny Landgraf, organizes us, behavioral ecologist, interested in sensory and acoustic cues of animals.

GIS-Lab: Moritz Wenzler, geodata analyst, responsible for the GIS lab, providing geodata and supporting coding.

Running Projects

Theory and Synthesis

Stability under global change and across levels of organization

To understand how populations and communities react to global change we study how their stability is affected by disturbances. To this end we model disturbances of different types and intensity and measure several stability metrics.

People involved: Guillaume Chero, Cedric Scherer, Carys Jones

How do animals respond to climate change?

We study how climate change affects phenological and morphological traits in animals worldwide. Further, we investigate what are the implications of such trait changes for population dynamics (sTraitChange workshop) and for individual fitness. See also: sDiv workshop sTraitChange. We are currently assembling the trait data base for analysing whether phenological or morphological traits of terrestrial… Read More

How does environmental variation affect stability of populations and communities?

Large changes in Earth’s climate are apparent, and there is some evidence that populations and communities respond to climate change. In order to tackle this issue, I study the effect of different levels of climatic variation on population and community dynamics, by using theoretical modelling. I also try to understand tipping points and early warning… Read More

Key Publications

Radchuk V, De Laender F, Sarmento Cabral J, Boulangeat I, Crawford M, Bohn F, De Raedt J, Scherer C, Svenning JC, Thonicke K, Schurr FM, Grimm V, Kramer‐Schadt S (2019) The dimensionality of stability depends on disturbance type. Ecology Letters. DOI: 10.1111/ele.13226

Radchuk V, T Reed, C Teplitsky, M van de Pol, A Charmantier, C Hassall, (…), P Tryjanowski, J Merilä, B Sheldon, A Pape Møller, E Matthysen, F Janzen, FS Dobson, ME Visser, SR Beissinger, A Courtiol and S Kramer-Schadt (2019). Adaptive responses of animals to climate change are not universal and are likely insufficient. Nature Communications 10: 3109. DOI 10.1038/s41467-019-10924-4

Wildlife disease dynamics: Linking host and pathogen traits

Pathogens are an integral part of biodiversity, influencing population dynamics of their hosts and playing an important functional role in shaping community structure. Here, our aim is to understand the effect that species as ‘mobile pathogen links’ with their different movement types and life-history strategies have on disease distribution, spread, persistence and evolution. See also: BioMove Graduate School.

People involved: Cedric Scherer, Tobias Kürschner

Infections on the move:

Movement plays a major role in shaping population densities and contact rates among individuals, two factors that are particularly relevant for disease outbreaks. Although any differences in movement behaviour due to individual characteristics of the host and heterogeneity in landscape structure are likely to have considerable consequences for disease dynamics, these mechanisms are neglected in… Read More

Pathogen evolution in dynamic landscapes

Diseases can have a profound impact on populations of wild animals, however, very little is known about how a dynamically (random or seasonal) changing landscape influences the interactions between host species and pathogen. I am using individual-based modelling to investigate different host-pathogen coexistence patterns under the effect of (1) dynamic resource landscapes, (2) the role… Read More

Key Publications

Kramer-Schadt S, Fernandez N, Eisinger D, Grimm V, Thulke HH (2009). Individual variation in infectiousness explains long-term disease persistence in wildlife populations. OIKOS 118: 199-208

Kürschner T, Scherer C, Radchuk V, Blaum N, Kramer-Schadt S. (2021) Movement can mediate temporal mismatches between resource availability and biological events in host-pathogen interactions. Ecology and Evolution, accepted

Marescot L & Benhaiem S, Gimenez O, Hofer H, Lebreton JD, Olarte-Castillo X A, Kramer-Schadt S & Marion L. East (2018). Social status mediates the fitness costs of infection with canine distemper virus in a social carnivore. Functional Ecology. DOI: 10.1111/1365-2435.13059

Scherer C, Radchuk V, Franz M, Thulke HH, Lange M, Grimm V, Kramer‐Schadt S (2020) Moving infections: individual movement decisions drive disease persistence in spatially structured landscapes. OIKOS. DOI 10.1111/oik.07002

Scherer C, Radchuk V, Staubach C, Müller S, Blaum N, Thulke HH, Kramer‐Schadt S (2019) Seasonal host life‐history processes fuel disease dynamics at different spatial scales. Journal of Animal Ecology. DOI 10.1111/1365-2656.13070

Applied Ecology

Urban wildlife ecology: How do animals respond to novel environments?

Urbanisation poses risks and opportunities for wildlife. We investigate how species cope with these everyday challenges by analysing the spatial factors and species interactions that underlie their distributions along a rural to urban gradient and by making inference on their behavioral plasticity. See also: BIBS Rural-urban coupling, WT Impact

People involved: Dr. Aimara Planillo, Dr. Julie Louvrier, Carolin Scholz, Sophia Kimmig, Simon Moesch

Bridging data of different spatial scales and resolution in community distribution models

Understanding species distributions is fundamental for wildlife management and landscape planning. Species distributions are largely driven by their habitat associations and their response to environmental or anthropogenic factors. In addition, species distributions and the structure of ecological communities are also driven by species interactions such as predation or competition. Using data that were collected in… Read More

Disentangling the effects of species interactions and human disturbance on community composition in urban areas

Urban areas present new challenges to wildlife communities. Special conditions created by human disturbance and novel stressors, such as noise or light, affect both species response to urban environment and species interactions. In order to better understand species and communities’ response to urban environment and to predict (multi)species distributions, I work with hierarchical multi-response models… Read More

Ecology of red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) in anthropogenic landscapes

We live in a time in which our environment is subject to constant anthropogenic change. This change has direct and indirect effects on wildlife. However, certain species like the red fox (Vulpes vulpes) have adapted to these human dominated habitats very well. But what is the secret of success? With this project I am trying… Read More

Wild Mammals in Urbanities: Investigating Human Perceptions of Urban Wildlife

Simon Moesch Understanding human perceptions towards urban wildlife is essential for the development of management instruments. While some species such as wild boar (Sus scrofa) or red fox (Vulpes vulpes) are associated with damage, fear and disease, humans also seek contact with nature and feed animals like squirrels (Sciurus vulgaris) and hedgehogs (Erinaceidae). In my… Read More

Key Publications

Gras P, Knuth S, Börner K, Marescot L, Benhaiem S, Aue A, Wittstatt U, Kleinschmit B, Kramer-Schadt S (2018). Landscape structure affects risk of canine distemper in urban wildlife. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 6:136. DOI: 10.3389/fevo.2018.00136

Planillo A, Kramer-Schadt S, Buchholz S, Gras P, von der Lippe M, Radchuk V. Arthropod abundance modulates bird community responses to urbanization (2020). DIV DISTRIB. DOI: 10.1111/ddi.13169.

Planillo A, Fiechter L, Sturm U, Heucke-Voigt S, Kramer-Schadt S (2021) Citizen science data for urban planning: Comparing different sampling schemes for modelling urban bird distribution. LAND URB PLAN. accepted

Stillfried M, Gras P, Börner K, Göritz F, Painer J, Röllig K, Wenzler M, Hofer H,  Ortmann S, Kramer-Schadt S (2017). Secrets of Success in a Landscape of Fear: Urban Wild Boar Adjust Risk Perception and Tolerate Disturbance. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 5(157). doi: 10.3389/fevo.2017.00157

Wildlife distributions, population dynamics and conservation

Wildlife faces big challenges persisting in human-dominated landscapes. We model their population dynamics, viability and connectivity using individual-based models on a spatially-explicit basis, with the aim of supporting wildlife management and conservation.

People involved: Joe Premier, Moritz Wenzler, Ana Patricia Calderon Quinonez, Julie Louvrier, Aimara Planillo

Jaguar connectivity in Central America

For large carnivores in fragmented landscapes such as the jaguar, connectivity is a conservation priority to secure population viability and genetic diversity. Management of jaguar populations requires an understanding on how the species’ movement is influenced by individual traits and the structure and configuration of their landscape. Therefore, I aim at developing a spatially explicit… Read More

Modelling genetic processes to support the conservation management of Eurasian lynx

The genetic viability of the reintroduced populations of large carnivores such as Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) has been called into question due to the weak genetic exchange. I am developing an existing population model to include individual genetics for testing conservation management scenarios in order to reveal the potential for enhancing the genetic viability of… Read More

Key Publications

Heurich M, J Schultze-Naumburg, N Piacenza, N Magg, J Červený, T Engleder, M Herdtfelder, M Sladova, S Kramer-Schadt (2018) Illegal hunting as a major driver of the source-sink dynamics of a reintroduced lynx population in Central Europe. Biological Conservation 224: 355-365. DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2018.05.011

Premier J, Fickel J, Heurich M, Kramer-Schadt S (2020) The boon and bane of boldness: movement syndrome as saviour and sink for population genetic diversity. Movement Ecology 8 (16). doi: 10.1186/s40462-020-00204-y.

Radchuk V, Ims RA, Andreassen HP (2016) From individuals to population cycles: the role of extrinsic and intrinsic factors in rodent populations. Ecology 97(3) : 720-732.

Struebig, M., Wilting, A., Gaveau, D.L.A., Meijaard, E., Smith, R., The Borneo Mammal Distribution Consortium, Fischer, M., Metcalfe, K., Kramer-Schadt, S. (2015). Targeted conservation safeguards a biodiversity hotspot from climate and land-cover change. Current Biology. 25(3):372–378. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2014.11.067