Klaus Fischer

Klaus Fischer
Universität Koblenz-Landau · Institute for Integrated Natural Sciences

Prof. Dr.

About

199
Publications
26,421
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5,097
Citations
Additional affiliations
October 2007 - present
University of Greifswald
Position
  • Prof. of Animal Ecology

Publications

Publications (199)
Article
Full-text available
Agricultural intensification and the concomitant landscape homogenization is leading to a worldwide decline in farmland biodiversity. Non-crop habitats in agroecosystems may counteract the loss of arthropods such as spiders and thus contribute to sustainable agriculture. However, the effectiveness of field margins and set-aside wildflower-sown patc...
Article
Genetic connectivity and diversity are key components of species' resilience to environmental change. However, the specific factors shaping species' resilience are poorly understood. We here aim to strengthen our understanding of resilience in two butterfly species, by identifying regions of high genetic diversity and barriers to dispersal. Europea...
Article
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Agricultural intensification has caused a simplification of agricultural landscapes, accompanied by increasing field sizes and a reduction of non-crop habitats. To mitigate negative impacts of intensification, it is necessary to understand to what extent different non-crop habitats contribute to the maintenance of biodiversity in agroecosystems. He...
Article
Agricultural intensification is an important driver of biodiversity decline. Regarding grassland ecosystems, traditionally managed hay meadows, as opposed to highly productive silage grassland, are often of high conservation value. Here, we compare spider assemblages among five grassland management regimes along an intensification gradient, ranging...
Article
Insect biodiversity is declining at the global scale, with agricultural intensification representing a major driver of this development. Traditionally managed grassland, such as hay meadows, can support high insect and plant diversity but is often converted into more productive cropland or silage grassland. We evaluated the effects of agricultural...
Article
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Within populations, phenotypic plasticity may allow adaptive phenotypic variation in response to selection generated by environmental heterogeneity. For instance, in multivoltine species, seasonal changes between and within generations may trigger morphological and physiological variation enhancing fitness under different environmental conditions....
Article
Currently, poleward range expansions are observed in many taxa, often in response to anthropogenic climate change. At the expanding front, populations likely face cooler and more variable temperature conditions, imposing thermal selection. This may result in changes in trait means or plasticity, the relative contribution of which is not well unders...
Article
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Biodiversity is currently declining at the global scale. Apart from species declines and lowered abundances, the loss of genetic diversity is equally concerning as it may undermine fitness and the potential to adapt to future environmental change. We compared genetic diversity of historical and recent Alpine populations of two butterfly species, Ly...
Article
Abstract Global environmental change exerts growing pressure on biodiversity. Anthropogenic climate and land use change are particularly important drivers of biodiversity loss. While their effects on biodiversity have been widely studied individually, interactions among them are poorly understood. Here, we investigate the effects of two common driv...
Article
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Anthropogenic climate change poses a substantial challenge to many organisms, to which they need to respond to avoid fitness reductions. Investigating responses to environmental change is particularly interesting in herbivores, as they are potentially affected by indirect effects mediated via variation in host-plant quality. We here use the herbivo...
Article
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Agricultural intensification poses a major threat to the conservation of biodiversity and associated ecosystem services. Since non-crop habitats are regarded as important refuges for farmland biodiversity, various greening measures have been proposed to halt biodiversity loss. However, the effectiveness of these measures for biodiversity conservati...
Article
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Aim: Species ranges are highly dynamic, shifting in space and time as a result of complex ecological and evolutionary processes. Disentangling the relative contribution of both processes is challenging but of primary importance for forecasting species distributions under climate change. Here, we use the spectacular range expansion (ca. 1000 km pole...
Article
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Understanding factors influencing patterns of genetic diversity and the population genetic structure of species is of particular importance in the current era of global climate change and habitat loss. These factors include the evolutionary history of a species as well as heterogeneity in the environment it occupies, which in turn can change across...
Article
Agricultural intensification is one of the most important drivers of biodiversity loss. To preserve taxonomic diversity in agricultural landscapes, there is an increasing need for refuge areas within agroecosystems, but best practices for providing such sites are debated. Here, we compared the taxonomic diversity and trait composition of spiders, b...
Article
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• There is widescale evidence for declines in insect biodiversity at a global scale. Agricultural intensification is considered to be one of the major causes of these declines. Traditionally managed habitat types, such as hay meadows, harbour a rich diversity of plants and animals but have been often transformed into crop fields or silage grassland...
Article
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Responses to extreme climatic events may differ between individuals of distinct morphs which differ in life-history strategies, resulting in climate change 'winners' and 'losers' within species. We examined the reproductive performance and carry-over effects on offspring of black- and red-headed Gouldian finches (Erythrura gouldiae) after exposure...
Article
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Site occupancy models, accounting for imperfect detection and the influence of anthropogenic and ecological covariates, can indicate the status of species populations. They may thus be useful for exploring the suitability of landscapes such as biological corridors, to ensure population dispersal and connectivity. Using occupancy probability models...
Article
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Genetic diversity is of crucial importance for population fitness and the potential of populations to adapt to environmental change. Population-level genetic diversity is expected to be reduced in specialists having small and isolated populations. We analysed genetic structure and diversity in (pre-)Alpine populations of four Copper butterfly speci...
Article
Keywords: Bicyclus anynana host plant quality offspring development oviposition preference plastic reproductive behaviour temperature increase Plastic behavioural adjustments represent a powerful mechanism for animals to respond to severe environmental changes. For instance, animals may use distinct resources, which could enhance their fitness, bec...
Article
Anthropogenic climate change is a substantial challenge to biodiversity conservation, exerting direct effects on plants and animals alike. Herbivores may be additionally affected by indirect effects, mediated through, for instance, climate change-induced alterations in host-plant quality. Thus, climate change may pronouncedly impact long-evolved pl...
Article
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1. Anthropogenic climate change is a substantial threat to global biodiversity. It may affect insect herbivores directly and indirectly. Indirect effects are, among others, mediated by climate‐change induced variation in host‐plant quality. Although being potentially important, little is known on the significance of such indirect effects and on int...
Article
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Dispersal is a key biological process serving several functions including connectivity among populations. Habitat fragmentation caused by natural or anthropogenic structures may hamper dispersal, thereby disrupting genetic connectivity. Investigating factors affecting dispersal and gene flow is important in the current era of anthropogenic global c...
Article
Acclimation conditions may affect the fighting ability of individuals involved in agonistic contests through their oxidative status. For instance, exposure to high temperatures might increase the metabolic rate of opponents and their production of damaging reactive oxygen species (ROS). Animals investing more strongly in antioxidant defences to min...
Article
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Extreme weather events such as heat waves are predicted to increase in the course of anthropogenic climate change. Widespread species are exposed to a variety of environmental conditions throughout their distribution range, often resulting in local adaptation. Consequently, populations from different regions may vary in their capacity to deal with...
Article
Extreme weather events such as heat waves are predicted to increase in the course of anthropogenic climate change. Widespread species are exposed to a variety of environmental conditions throughout their distribution range, often resulting in local adaptation. Consequently, populations from different regions may vary in their capacity to deal with...
Article
Assessing the genetic adaptive potential of populations and species is essential for better understanding evolutionary processes. However, the expression of genetic variation may depend on environmental conditions, which may speed up or slow down evolutionary responses. Thus, the same selection pressure may lead to different responses. Against this...
Article
Context. An effective management of human-wildlife conflict is key to successful conservation, especially in areas where large carnivores occur. This is particularly important when new conservation regimes such as biological corridors are to be operationalised, as is the case in Bhutan. Aims. The aim of the study was to determine livestock depredat...
Article
Understanding how organisms adapt to complex environments is of special interest in the current era of rapidly changing climatic conditions (Parmesan et al., 1999; Parmesan, 2006). Widespread species have to cope with a variety of environmental conditions within their distribution ranges. Accordingly, selective pressures show spatial variation, whi...
Article
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The dramatic loss of biodiversity in agricultural landscapes poses a substantial challenge to conservation. Losses are mainly caused by an all-pervasive intensification of agricultural management over recent decades, negatively affecting a wealth of taxa including insects. Against this background, we here set out to quantify the effects of grasslan...
Article
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Movements are involved in several routine processes and may scale up to important ecological processes such as dispersal. However, movement is affected by a wealth of factors including flight capacity and behavioural traits. Both frequently differ in the sexes, which may well affect movement. We here aim to disentangle the relative importance of se...
Article
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Background Phenotypic plasticity is a pervasive property of all organisms and considered to be of key importance for dealing with environmental variation. Plastic responses to temperature, which is one of the most important ecological factors, have received much attention over recent decades. A recurrent pattern of temperature-induced adaptive plas...
Article
Understanding how organisms adapt to complex environments lies at the very heart of evolutionary biology and ecology, and is of particular concern in the current era of anthropogenic global change. Variation in ecologically important traits associated with environmental gradients is considered to be strong evidence for adaptive responses. Here, we...
Article
The genus Lycaena is widely used for studying life history evolution, local adaptation, stress biology, and behavior. Furthermore, several species are currently declining and thus of conservation concern. In order to provide the molecular basis for population genetics and conservation biology, we report the development of 36 microsatellite markers...
Article
Understanding how organisms adapt to complex environments lies at the very heart of evolutionary biology and ecology, and is of particular concern in the current era of anthropogenic global change. Variation in ecologically important traits associated with environmental gradients is considered to be strong evidence for adaptive responses. Here, we...
Article
1. Individual movement behaviour governs several routine processes, and may scale up to important ecological processes, including dispersal. However, movement is affected by a wealth of factors, including abiotic conditions, flight performance, and behavioural traits. Although it has been historically assumed that insect flight is in the first plac...
Article
Anthropogenic climate change poses substantial challenges to biodiversity conservation. Effects of climate change on summer conditions and associated heat and desiccation stress have attracted much research interest, while the implications of changing winter conditions on hibernation have hitherto received fairly little attention. This is surprisin...
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We summarise our work on male mating behaviour in the tropical butterfly Bicyclus anynana, responding to the commentary provided by Nieberding and Holveck. We acknowledge that our laboratory studies are not free of shortcomings and potential caveats, though we attempted to address or highlight these within each paper. The concerns raised seem to st...
Article
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Dispersal, defined as any movements potentially leading to gene flow, is a major process driving a species’ capacity to cope with human‐induced environmental modifications. However, the dispersal process is multi‐causal, which currently hinders predictions regarding a species’ resilience to global change. We used a multifaceted approach to disentan...
Article
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Environmental factors exert strong effects on phenotypic expression. A particularly intriguing factor capable of inducing such plastic responses is the social environment experienced by a specific individual. Such social effects may alter the fitness of focal individuals if they affect the expression of reproductive traits and thus life-history str...
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Habitat loss and anthropogenic climate change are important threats to biodiversity conservation. Owing to the concomitantly deteriorating habitat quality, individuals are often forced to disperse to new habitats, rendering dispersal an ecologically important process. However, dispersal ability may differ within and among populations, and is furthe...
Article
Anthropogenic interference forces species to respond to changing environmental conditions. One possible response is dispersal and concomitant range shifts, allowing individuals to escape unfavourable conditions or to track the shifting climate niche. Range expansions depend on both dispersal capacity and the ability to establish populations beyond...
Article
Anthropogenic global change, including agricultural intensification and climate change, poses a substantial challenge to many herbivores due to a reduced availability of feeding resources. The concomitant food stress is expected to detrimentally affect performance, amongst others in dispersal‐related traits. Thus, while dispersal is of utmost impor...
Poster
Full-text available
Peatlands have undergone dramatic changes through anthropogenic activities in the last centuries, causing a substantial loss of fen-specific biodiversity. Therefore, restoration of already degraded stands is an important conservation issue. The effectiveness of fen restoration was evaluated through rewetting in the valley of the river Peene, NE Germ...
Article
Full-text available
Anthropogenic climate change poses substantial challenges to biodiversity conservation. Well-documented responses include phenological and range shifts, and declines in cold but increases in warm-adapted species. Thus, some species will suffer while others will benefit from ongoing change, although the biological features determining the prospects...
Article
Desiccation resistance, that is, the ability to reduce water loss, is an ecologically important trait relevant to all terrestrial organisms, which may constrain species distributions. Nevertheless, relatively few studies have investigated plastic capacities in desiccation resistance. We here investigate plastic responses in body mass change, used a...
Article
Trade-offs such as the ones between reproduction and longevity or present and future reproduction are believed to shape reproductive patterns. We here used zoo data to investigate trade-offs and life histories in four taxa of Asiatic (Equus hemionus ssp.) and African wild asses (Equus africanus ssp.). All taxa showed even in captivity peak birth ra...
Article
Peatlands have undergone dramatic changes through anthropogenic activities in the last centuries, causing a substantial loss of fen-specific biodiversity. Therefore, restoration of already degraded stands is an important conservation issue. The effectiveness of fen restoration was evaluated through rewetting in the valley of the river Peene, NE Ger...
Article
Full-text available
Increasing heat stress caused by anthropogenic climate change may pose a substantial challenge to biodiversity due to associated detrimental effects on survival and reproduction. Therefore, heat tolerance has recently received substantial attention, but its variation throughout ontogeny and effects carried over from one developmental stage to anoth...
Article
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In ripe fruit, energy mostly derives from sugar, while in over-ripe fruit, it also comes from ethanol. Such ripeness differences may alter the fitness benefits associated with frugivory if animals are unable to degrade ethanol when consuming over-ripe fruit. In the tropical butterfly Bicyclus anynana, we found that females consuming isocaloric solu...
Article
Ongoing climate change is a major threat to biodiversity. However, although many species clearly suffer from ongoing climate change, others benefit from it e.g., by showing range expansions. However, which specific features determine a species' vulnerability to climate change? Phenotypic plasticity, which has been described as the first line of def...
Article
Full-text available
Temperature and resource availability are key elements known to limit the occurrence and survival of arthropods in the wild. In the current era of climate change, critical thermal limits and the factors affecting these may be of particular importance. We therefore investigated the critical thermal maxima (CTmax) of adult Zygogramma bicolorata beetl...
Article
Light pollution, especially artificial light at night, has been repeatedly found to affect bird behaviour, resulting in an earlier start of morning activities. However, as thus far only a limited number of species has been investigated, the generality of the effects of light pollution on animal behaviour is difficult to assess. As such effects may...
Article
Heat tolerance is a trait of paramount ecological importance and may determine a species' ability to cope with ongoing climate change. Though critical thermal limits have consequently received substantial attention in recent years, their potential variation throughout ontogeny remained largely neglected. We investigate whether such neglect may bias...
Article
Full-text available
Ongoing climate change and especially the associated heat waves may pose a major challenge to biodiversity conservation. Although many ectotherms in temperate zones may benefit from current climate change, others will suffer. However, the specific biological features determining the response of a given species to climate change have remained largel...
Article
Resource-allocation trade-offs comprise fundamental constraints on life-history evolution. In particular, the trade-offs between reproduction and longevity and between present and future reproduction are believed to be important in shaping reproductive patterns. Unfortunately, exploring such trade-offs in natural populations is complicated and may...
Article
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The significance of dietary antioxidants may be limited by the ability of animals to exploit them. However, past studies have focused on the effects of dietary antioxidants after ‘antioxidant forced-feeding’, and have overlooked spontaneous antioxidant intake. Here, we found that reproducing female Bicyclus anynana butterflies had higher antioxidan...
Article
Full-text available
Because fens have undergone dramatic declines in recent decades, an important question is which management regimes and habitat parameters are most effective in preserving fen biodiversity. The aim of the present study was to assess the effects of five different management regimes (intensive grassland, moist meadows, summer harvested sites, winter h...
Article
Temperature is one of the most important ecological factors affecting species survival and distributions. Therefore, global climate change, involving increases in mean surface temperature and the occurrence of extreme weather events, may pose a substantial challenge to biodiversity. Whereas tropical ectotherms are believed to be very sensitive to c...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Intraspecific communication is of crucial importance throughout the animal kingdom and may involve a combination of visual, gustatory, olfactory and acoustic cues. Variation in male sex pheromone amount and composition may convey important information to female conspecifics, for instance on species identity or age. However, whether inc...
Article
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Exposure to high temperatures can disrupt the balance between the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and antioxidant defences. Animals may be able to correct such an imbalance physiologically by up-regulating endogenous antioxidant defences. They may also respond behaviourally by increasing the intake of dietary antioxidants (e.g. polyphen...
Article
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Oxidative stress has been proposed to mediate one the most important aspects of life-history evolution: the trade-off between reproduction and self-maintenance. However, empirical studies have cast doubt on the generality of this intriguing notion. Here, we hypothesize that reproduction alters oxidative status only when a trade-off between reproduc...