African savannas are enchanting ecosystems. Once you have witnessed their iconic acacia trees, the diversity of herbivores, the hive of bird activity and numerous other critters out there, you will always feel the urge to again observe the diverse wildlife and experience the African vibe. I am privileged to work in these ecosystems, to study their complexity and do my very best to help conserving them.
I have always been interested in how species interact and altogether have structured ecosystems to what we observe today. I have mainly studied African savanna ecosystem with a strong focus on how organisms affect and change their environment including other organisms. Later on, this has been extended by investigating how people and wildlife interact (both positive and negative) and how we can increase ecosystem robustness whereas the pressure on savanna ecosystems is strongly increasing due to human population growth and climate change.
In 2016 I finished my PhD on the role of ecological autocatalysis on the organization of African savanna ecosystems under supervision of Han Olff and Matty Berg. The major part of my field work was done in Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park, South Africa. Since then, I am employed as a postdoc position within the AfricanBioServices project, aiming to quantify how regional gradients in rainfall and soil fertility drive variation in ecosystem organization and how this is affected by human population growth and associated land use change. I am particularly interested in the consequences for the stability of ecosystems both in and outside protected areas and the spatial interactions between landscape zones in the Greater Serengeti-Mara Ecosystem.
I spend 1.5 years at the Pringle Lab and Tarnita Lab at Princeton University where I continued my work in the Greater Serengeti-Mara Ecosystem. My research in the Pringle lab is focused on the niche partitioning among large herbivores and termites and how this is expected to change in the future. My research in the Tarnita lab specifically deals with spatial vegetation patterns and their consequences for the robustness of ecosystems, and the potential role of termites and large herbivores in creating them.
Since 2019, I am an Assistant Professor at the CML and teach on both BSc. and MSc. programmes including Conservation Biology, Ecology II and Governance of Biodiversity and Ecosystems.