Systematics and Evolutionary Biology

Gesine Lange

Curriculum Vitae

2008University entrance diploma at the Johannes-Bugenhagen-Gymnasium of Franzburg
2008 – 2011

Bachelor student of Biological Sciences at the University of Rostock

Bachelor thesis at the Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research, Warnemünde “Erarbeitung eines digitalen Steckbriefes der Familie Talitridae (Amphipoda) bezogen auf die gesamte Ostsee”

2011 – 2013Master student of Marine Biology at the University of Rostock


Master thesis at the Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research, Warnemünde “Benthic communities in waters off Angola” (supervisor: Dr. M. L. Zettler; working group: Ecology of benthic organisms)

since July 2014PhD student at the Carl von Ossietzky University Oldenburg investigating functional diversity and biodiversity of macrozoobenthic communities in the back- barrier system of Spiekeroog (Wadden Sea, Southern North Sea)


Research interests – structure and functioning of benthic communities; ecology and systematics of marine invertebrates

My general focus concerns the biodiversity and functional diversity of marine macrozoobenthos. In this context, I am particularly interested in the community structure between or within habitats as well as in the systematics of marine invertebrates and the ecological requirements of these species.

Whereas my previous research concentrated on benthic sublittoral communities, I am currently investigating the faunal assemblages of an intertidal back-barrier system within the joint research project BEFmate (“Biodiversity – Ecosystem Functioning across marine and terrestrial ecosystems”) as part of my PhD studies. During this time, I will quantify the colonization of artificial islands that were constructed on tidal flats near the East Frisian Island of Spiekeroog (Germany, Southern North Sea) by continuously sampling these islands and determining the species richness, abundance, and biomass of the macrozoobenthos over the course of several years. These data will be compared against additional samples from the natural tidal flats, which serve as the natural reference for undisturbed conditions. Furthermore, data for species richness, abundance, and biomass of transect samples from the tidal flats to the upper salt marsh will complete the analyses of different macrozoobenthic communities within the complex Wadden Sea ecosystem. Salt marshes show a characteristic donation in their vegetation depending on shore height that, in turn, has an impact on the faunal soft-bottom communities together with other abiotic factors influencing biota of the Wadden Sea (e.g. inundation frequency, inundation duration, changes in salinity, and variation in temperature and sediment characteristics such mud content or total organic carbon content). Because different organisms are adapted to different environmental conditions, community composition is expected to vary between certain transect stations because of different species inventories as well as changes in the prevalent feeding types of the local community. Stable isotope analysis should reveal trophic relationships of Wadden Sea macrozoobenthos with regard to their food sources and trophic levels from marine to terrestrial realms.

Future challenges of my PhD project include experimental mesocosms as an extension to the field experiment (i.e., the artificial islands). Biotic interactions between different tidal flat species will also be investigated. Together, my project aims to assess biodiversity and its functional consequences in a combined ecological and evolutionary perspective.



Lange G., Darr A., Zettler M. L. (2014) Macrozoobenthic communities in waters off Angola. African Journal of Marine Science 36(3): 313–321.