My main research interest centers on predator-prey interactions and the complex food webs that are formed by these interactions. My approach of investigating and analyzing the related ecological phenomena is based on the functional response model framework which implicitly relates the per-capita feeding rates of predators to the densities of their prey. This well-established and widely accepted model framework provides unique opportunities to link behavioral patterns in the foraging of individuals to population-level mechanisms and related dynamics. Moreover, functional responses are equally important to theoretical ecologists on the one side and to applied ecological subdisciplines like biological control or fisheries science on the other side with high potential to advance scientific progress by integrative and synthesizing research approaches like the B-Types project here at the IGB.
As an associated researcher with B-Types I want to investigate the causes and consequences of individual variation in feeding performance and how these scale up to the population level. This is particularly important as current models of predator-prey interactions that are solely based on population averages disregarding individual differences might lead to wrong concepts and interpretations of many natural phenomena related to these interactions . Moreover, I want to investigate individual differences in metabolism and how these relate to behavioral types and foraging. Ultimately, this information will be useful in evaluating and refining current models of the management and harvesting of natural fish stocks.