- Wie vertragen sich Artenvielfalt und menschliche Besiedlung? : Städtische Biotope und gefährdete Arten im Rhein-Main-Gebiet (2008)
- Ohne das Eingreifen des Menschen wäre Mitteleuropa fast ein reines Waldgebiet. Noch heute beheimaten die Wälder eine große Vielfalt an Pflanzen und Tieren, die für diese Region spezifisch sind. Regionale Besonderheiten gehen aber verloren, je mehr Menschen in die Ökosysteme eingreifen: So unterscheiden sich die Pflanzenarten auf der North Charles Street in Baltimore nur wenig von denjenigen der Mainzer Landstraße in Frankfurt. Gleichzeitig verdrängen zugewanderte und eingeschleppte Arten heimische Tiere und Pflanzen. Allerdings gibt es auch im Frankfurter Stadtgebiet echte Horte der Biodiversität.
- A Bayesian framework to estimate diversification rates and their variation through time and space (2011)
- Background: Patterns of species diversity are the result of speciation and extinction processes, and molecular phylogenetic data can provide valuable information to derive their variability through time and across clades. Bayesian Markov chain Monte Carlo methods offer a promising framework to incorporate phylogenetic uncertainty when estimating rates of diversification. Results: We introduce a new approach to estimate diversification rates in a Bayesian framework over a distribution of trees under various constant and variable rate birth-death and pure-birth models, and test it on simulated phylogenies. Furthermore, speciation and extinction rates and their posterior credibility intervals can be estimated while accounting for non-random taxon sampling. The framework is particularly suitable for hypothesis testing using Bayes factors, as we demonstrate analyzing dated phylogenies of Chondrostoma (Cyprinids) and Lupinus (Fabaceae). In addition, we develop a model that extends the rate estimation to a meta-analysis framework in which different data sets are combined in a single analysis to detect general temporal and spatial trends in diversification. Conclusions: Our approach provides a flexible framework for the estimation of diversification parameters and hypothesis testing while simultaneously accounting for uncertainties in the divergence times and incomplete taxon sampling.
- Twenty Years of Cooperation between Botanists of the Goethe-University Frankfurt (Germany) and of West African Universities (2009)
- The year 1989 represents the starting point of the cooperation between botanists of the Goethe-University in Frankfurt (Germany) and of the University of Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso). Some years later, the University of Abomey-Calavi (Benin) joined the cooperation. This paper gives an overview on joint projects, resulting publications and theses, and on other achievements of this fruitful cooperation, which meanwhile also comprises partners of Ivory Coast, Niger and Senegal.
- Restoration of Bare Incrusted Soils in the Sahel Region of Burkina Faso (2010)
- Bare incrusted soils are a degradation stage often encountered in the Sahel zone. Our study documents the success of restoration (= regreening) experiments using deep ploughing in an experimental site south of Gorom-Gorom in the Oudalan province of Burkina Faso. We used phytosociological relevés and maximum likelihood classifications of digital photography to analyze changes in vegetation. Plant cover in treated plots was found to be about 20 times higher than in control plots, mean species richness more than twice as high. Therefore, this promising restoration method should be tested also in other Sahelian regions. Our approach to combine phytosociological relevés and maximum likelihood classifications of digital photography proved to be very useful.
- Epilobium brachycarpum: a fast-spreading neophyte in Germany (2013)
- Only a small proportion of introduced plant species become invasive and may eventually create eco-logical or economic problems. In many species it is still not clear which traits cause biological inva-sions. As a case study we focussed on the fast-spreading Epilobium brachycarpum in Central Europe to investigate the potential of this species to become a transformer or agricultural weed. We (1) docu-mented the spread of the species in Central Europe, (2) modelled its range and (3) seed dispersal, (4) described its phytosociological alignment, (5) analysed the traits of invaded vegetation types, (6) de-scribed seed production, population densities and life cycle, (7) did competition and germination tests, and (8) drafted a risk assessment. Relevant traits and characteristics of E. brachycarpum are (i) for-mation of dense stands under ruderal conditions, (ii) high seed production, (iii) effective seed dispersal, (iv) high competitiveness on bare soils against other ruderal plants, and (v) ecological niche shift com-pared to its native range. We expect E. brachycarpum to settle in the Mediterranean, sub-Mediterranean and many parts of temperate Europe within the next decades in habitats strongly altered by human activities, especially open stands of the alliance Sisymbrion. We predict that E. brachycarpum will become a noxious weed in vineyards, and that it will also colonise vegetation of the alliances Bidention and Carici-Epilobion.
- Biodiversity Islands in the Savanna – Analysis of the Phytodiversity on Termite Mounds in Northern Benin (2012)
- Termite mounds represent abundant microhabitats of high biodiversity in tropical savanna ecosystems and are an important source of landscape heterogeneity in Sub–Saharan West Africa. Floristic composition as well as density, structure and zonation of plant cover on the mounds were investigated in northern Benin and compared to the adjacent savanna vegetation. A total of 57 abandoned and densely vegetated termite mounds of comparable size and similarly affected by erosion located in different types of savannas inside and outside of the W National Park and in cotton fields were studied. This study revealed that termitaria are special habitats differing in density, composition and structure from surrounding savannas. The plant cover of termite mounds showed a distinctive zonation. Succulents, geophytes, and lianas were much more abundant on mounds, the family Capparaceae was found exclusively on mounds. The floristic composition and vegetation on termitaria proved to be rather homogeneous; although those mounds located in cotton fields differed by higher abundance of Poaceae and lower species richness.
- Plant diversity, functional traits and soil conditions of grass savannas on lateritic crusts (bowé) in south eastern Burkina Faso (2012)
- Grass savannas on lateritic crusts are characteristic landscape elements of the Sudanian savannas. In the W National Park and its surroundings in SE-Burkina Faso, plant diversity of savannas on and adjacent to bowé was assessed by a survey of 19 bowal areas with relevés along transects in each of these. The vegetation structure and species composition of the herb and shrub strata, soil depth, particle size and the concentration of Na+, K+, Mg2+, Ca2+, H+, C and N were recorded on each bowal and its surroundings. Our results show that soils on lateritic crusts are rather shallow and acidic compared to the surrounding savanna woodlands. Nutrient availability is hence comparatively low. The observed flora comprises 130 species mainly belonging to the families Combretaceae, Cyperaceae, Leguminosae and Poaceae with a predominance of therophytes and a comparatively high share of C4 species. In the pastures surrounding the National Park a higher species richness was found than inside the Park due to the occurrence of pioneers, ruderal and unpalatable plants. Savannas on lateritic crusts exhibit due to their extreme edaphic and hydrological conditions a specific flora distinct from their surroundings.
- Plant species associated with different levels of species richness and of vegetation cover as indicators of desertification in Burkina Faso (West Africa) (2014)
- Desertification is a major problem in Sudano-sahelian West Africa, including the loss of biodiversity and vegetation cover. The loss of related ecosystem services is having a severe impact on human wellbeing. To facilitate assessments of these aspects of desertification, we decided to find plant species suitable as indicators. Based on a large database of vegetation plot data for Burkina Faso, we identified species associated with high or low levels of species richness and vegetation cover by calculating average values of these measures from vegetation plots on which they occur. To account for the differences between the dry Sahel and the more humid Sudan, we separated the plots of our study area in three vegetation zones (Sahel, North Sudan, South Sudan). Furthermore, herbs and woody plants were analysed separately, as they were usually represented in different plot sizes in the primary data. For each combination of species richness or vegetation cover, vegetation zone and growth form we identified ten species indicating low and another ten species indicating high values and assigned indicator values based on the average values of these species in the relevés.
- Anthropochore Aster-Arten (Asteraceae) in Frankfurt am Main (2009)
- Die Vorkommen der anthropochoren Aster-Arten im Stadtgebiet von Frankfurt am Main (Symphyotrichum lanceolatum, S. novae-angliae, S. novi-belgii, S. parviflorum, S. salignum) wurden kartiert und historische Dokumente zur Rekonstruktion der Einwanderung ausgewertet. Aktuell konnten 39 Fundorte im Stadtgebiet dokumentiert werden, am häufigsten ist S. lanceolatum. 40 Merkmale wurden untersucht und vermessen, um ihre taxonomische Relevanz zu beurteilen. Als hilfreich zur Unterscheidung der Arten erwiesen sich vor allem verschiedene Merkmale der Hüllblätter. Mit Ausnahme von S. novae-angliae sind die Arten aber morphologisch kaum zu unterscheiden und durch viele Übergänge verbunden. Vergleichsweise gut voneinander abgrenzbar sind die beiden Aggregate von S. novi-belgii (S. salignum, S. novi-belgii) und S. lanceo-latum (S. lanceolatum, S. parviflorum).