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Leitung

Prof. Dr. Carsten F. Dormann

Telefon: +49 761 203-3749
Telefax: +49 761 203-3751
eMail: carsten.dormann@biom.uni-freiburg.de 

 

Sekretariat:

 

Frau Eva Meier

Telefon: +49 761 203-3749 
Telefax: +49 761 203-3751 
eMail: eva.meier@biom.uni-freiburg.de 

 

Anschrift:

 

Biometrie und Umweltsystemanalyse

Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg

Tennenbacher Straße 4 
79106 Freiburg i. Br.

 

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Dr. Gita Benadi

gita benadi

Dr. Gita Benadi

Department of Biometry and Environmental System Analysis

Tennenbacher Straße 4, 79106 Freiburg, Germany
Room 03.059

email: gita.benadi(at)biom.uni-freiburg.de
phone: +49 761 203-3745
fax: +49 761 203-3751

    Research interests

    Pollinators and seed dispersers provide important services to plants in exchange for food resources. Typically, multiple plant and animal species are connected in a network of such mutualistic interactions. In my research, I aim to understand which factors determine the structure of plant-animal mutualistic networks and how these interactions influence plant community dynamics. Answering these questions will enable us to better predict the consequences of loss of species and interactions through anthropogenic disturbances such as habitat destruction and climate change.

     

    Current project

    DFG project: Frequency dependence of pollination - from individual behaviour to community dynamics

    How species with similar resource requirements are able to coexist is one of the oldest and most central questions in ecology. Theoretical work has shown that a negative relationship between each species' relative abundance and its fitness (negative frequency dependence) is necessary for stable coexistence, while positive frequency dependence destabilizes coexistence and leads to a loss of diversity. In many plant species, fitness depends on pollination by animals, but how the pollination success of plant species varies with their frequency is not fully understood. Previous theoretical studies have suggested that pollination success should be positively frequency dependent under most conditions, but these predictions were based on simple models of pollinator foraging behaviour. Moreover, it is currently unclear how plant and pollinator traits and environmental conditions influence the strength and direction of frequency dependence of pollination.

    The aim of this research project is to investigate the effect of plant frequency on pollination success using a combination of individual-based modelling, a laboratory experiment and a field study. The individual-based approach allows me to model pollinator foraging behaviour in more detail than previous studies and account for limited information in individual decision-making. I then compare the model's predictions to empirical data from a laboratory experiment of bumblebees foraging on artificial flowers, which enables me to control all environmental factors that can influence the foraging decisions of pollinators. In a field study of an entire species-rich plant community in the Fynbos biome of South Africa, I test the model's predictions under more complex natural conditions with frequency variation at multiple spatial scales, and assess the effects of the structure of the plant-pollinator network on flower visitation and seed set in relation to frequency. Overall, this project will help us understand under which conditions pollination by animals promotes or impedes species coexistence in plant communities, and thereby contribute to preserving species-rich communities of flowering plants in a rapidly changing world.

     

    Curriculum Vitae

    since 2017 PostDoc, University of Freiburg
    2012-2017 Lecturer, University of Freiburg
    2009-2012 PhD student, University of Würzburg
    2008 Internship with Nature Conservation Foundation, Mysore, India
    2004-2007 Biology student, University of Würzburg
    2002-2004 Biology student, University of Marburg

     

    Selected publications

    See also Google Scholar and ResearchGate

    Benadi, G. & & Gegear, R. J. (2018). Adaptive foraging of pollinators can promote pollination of a rare plant species. American Naturalist, in press.

    Fornoff, F., Klein, A.-M., Hartig, F., Benadi, G., Venjakob, C., Schaefer, H. M. & Ebeling, A. (2017). Functional flower traits and their diversity drive pollinator visitation. Oikos, 126, 1020-1030.

    Schleuning, M., Fründ, J., Schweiger, O., Welk, E., Albrecht, J., Albrecht, M., Beil, M., Benadi, G., Blüthgen, N.,  Bruelheide, H., Böhning-Gaese, K., Dehling, M., Dormann, C.F., Exeler, N. Farwig, N., Harpke, A., Hickler, T., Kratochwil, A., Kuhlmann, M., Kühn, I., Michez, D., Mudri-Stojnic, S., Plein, M., Rasmont, P., Schwabe, A., Settele, J.,  Vujic, A., Weiner, C., Wiemers, M., Hof, C. (2016). Ecological networks are more sensitive to plant than to animal extinction under climate change. Nature Communications, 7, 13965.

    Benadi, G. (2015). Requirements for plant coexistence through pollination niche partitioning. Proc. R. Soc. B, 282 (1810), 20150117.

    Carvalheiro L, Biesmeijer J, Benadi G, Fruend J, Stang M et al. (2014). The potential for indirect effects between co-flowering plants via shared pollinators depends on resource abundance, accessibility and relatedness. Ecology Letters, 17, 1389-1399.

    Benadi, G., Hovestadt, T., Poethke, H.-J. & Blüthgen, N. (2014). Specialization and phenological synchrony of plant–pollinator interactions along an altitudinal gradient. Journal of Animal Ecology, 83, 639-650.

    Benadi, G., Blüthgen, N., Hovestadt, T. & Poethke, H.-J. (2013). When can plant-pollinator interactions promote plant diversity? American Naturalist, 182, 131-146.

    Benadi, G., Blüthgen, N., Hovestadt, T. & Poethke, H.-J. (2013). Contrasting specialization-stability relationships in plant-animal mutualistic systems. Ecological Modelling, 258, 65-73.

    Benadi, G., Blüthgen, N., Hovestadt, T. & Poethke, H.-J. (2012). Population dynamics of plant and pollinator communities: stability reconsidered. American Naturalist, 179, 157-168.

    Benadi, G., Fichtel, C. & Kappeler, P. (2008) Intergroup relations and home range use in Verreaux's sifaka (Propithecus verreauxi). American Journal of Primatology, 70, 956-965.

 

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