Reassembly of species interaction networks

Resistance, resilience and functional recovery of a rainforest ecosystem

​DFG-funded Research Unit REASSEMBLY (FOR 5207)

REASSEMBLY aims at understanding network dynamics to uncover rules of network dis- and reassembly in a highly diverse tropical lowland rainforest ecosystem. We will study the dynamics of natural forest recovery from agriculture along a chronosequence and the contribution of re-assembled networks to the resilience of ecosystem processes against perturbation. We will compare the trajectories of predator–prey, plant–pollinator, and plant–seed disperser networks, as well as decomposition networks between mammals, dung beetles and seeds, and between dead wood, ants, termites, and beetles. Subprojects thus examine networks of all major ecosystem processes mediated by interspecific interactions: predation, pollination, primary and secondary seed dispersal, herbivory, decomposition, and tree seedling recruitment. Networks and ecosystem processes will be studied along a large-scale chronosequence of forest recovery (64 plots representing different stages of succession) and in a small-scale perturbation–recruitment experiment. Our Research Unit is funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG).

Our MISSION: Although REASSEMBLY is a basic scientific research unit, our aim is to ensure that the knowledge gained can be applied and contribute to optimizing the restoration of tropical forests. This research project, funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), will not only be conducted within a forest in Ecuador, but on an equal footing with the Ecuadorian scientific community in different institutions and with an Ecuadorian conservation organization (Fundación Jocotoco). Our goal is to strengthen ecological science and the next generation of scientists in both countries, as well as nature conservation efforts that meet the interests of local communities. To achieve these goals, transparent and accessible data and results are essential.

Latest Posts:

  • Velvet worms are fascinating
    You don’t often see velvet worms (Onychophora)! Arianna is currently sorting the arthropods from litter extractions of the Reassembly plots. We got excited to see the first velvet worm in this sample. Only few onychophorans are known from Ecuador so far. Fernando Villagomez immediately looked for some morphological details and made these great micropscopic pictures. …
  • Anna Rebello Landim – PhD Researcher SP4, Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Center Frankfurt (SBiK-F)
    Biodiversity conservation and restoration have always been my main interests in Ecology. Within these topics, I am passionate about mutualistic interactions and the ecological processes they result in, particularly seed dispersal. Initially, my focus was on the restoration of seed dispersal through human management. For instance, whether reintroductions (i.e. translocation of a locally extinct species …
  • Researchers and the Chocó Lab team share their work with a local school
    We are Arianna (chemist) and Karla (biologist) and we believe that fieldwork goes beyond the scientific aspect, as it necessarily involves social engagement with local communities as well. Within the past six months living in Canandé, we have learned from the people of Hoja Blanca and La Yuca (the villages close to the station) far …
  • Können Regenwälder regenerieren? Vortrag im Landesmuseum
    Das “Reassembly” Projekt im Regenwald Ecuadors wurde nun erstmal ausführlich einer interessierten Öffentlichkeit in einem Vortrag vorgestellt. Im Hessischen Landesmuseum berichtete Nico Blüthgen von den Hintergründen und der Entstehungsgeschichte des Forschungsprojekts — und von den ersten Ergebnissen. Das Thema stiess auf eine große Resonanz und wurde anschließend ausführlich diskutiert. Eingeladen vom Naturwissenschaftlichen Verein Darmstadt. (Pressemitteilung …
  • Ugo Diniz – PhD Researcher SP3,  Technische Universität München
    My research focuses on plant-pollinator interactions in the tropics, with an emphasis on syndrome theory, urban pollination, and interaction networks, with special attention to nectarivorous bats and, more recently, insects such as bees and moths. Most of my research has been conducted with chiropterophilous species in Brazil in the largely understudied seasonal savannas of the Cerrado or …