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Department of Biogeography

Prof. Dr. Carl Beierkuhnlein

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Treasure Islands


From 03/2019 to 12/2019

Principal Investigator: Anna Walentowitz

We live in a world that is facing tremendous global change. Human activity has altered all ecosystems around the world. Part of this change has been the displacement of species leading to completely novel species compositions. The impact of neobiota is still not fully understood in many parts of the world. Especially in hotspot areas of endemism like the UNESCO world heritage site Galapagos an assessment of the change caused by invasive species is imperative.

The Galapagos Islands host many unique animals like Galapagos giant tortoises, Darwin´s finches and marine iguanas. The island vegetation was shaped by the same underlying evolutionary drivers and comprises numerous fascinating plants. The endemic Scalesia sp. are highly affected by massive habitat destruction due to agricultural activities and the spread of invasive species. Therefore, we assess the impact of the invaders on those threatened daisy-trees. On a larger scale, we investigate biogeographic patterns of non-native species within the Galapagos archipelago.



The Galapagos Islands, an UNESCO World Heritage Site, are a hotspot of plant endemism. During the last decades, the island´s flora was affected by severe changes in species composition due to the introduction of numerous neophytes. We assess the impact of invasive plant species on native ecosystems. Furthermore, we are interested in biogeographic patterns of those invaders in the Galapagos archipelago.



Manfred-Hermsen-Stiftung (http://www.m-h-s.org/stiftung/front_content.php)

Gertrud- und Hellmut Barthel Stiftung (https://www.barthel-stiftung.de/)

Umweltstiftung Greenpeace (https://umweltstiftung-greenpeace.de/)

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