La Palma Science School 2016

The La Palma Science School 2016 led by Prof. Anke Jentsch (Disturbance Ecology, University of Bayreuth, Germany) and Dr. Severin Irl (Biogeography, University of Bayreuth, Germany) and supported by several international guest researchers will focus on research topics revolving around the novel concept of disturbance-driven island ecology and will integrate different aspects of island biogeography, island ecology and, where applicable, also remote sensing. The aim of the Science School is for students to experience all aspects of scientific research, ranging from the elaboration of research questions and hypotheses through developing adequate sampling methods to be applied in the field (during the stay on La Palma) and an in-depth analysis of the collected data to the final presentation of the results in written and oral form. Student groups (generally composed of three students each) will go through all of these steps independently to acquire basic and advanced scientific skills (e.g. field methods, statistics and modeling, scientific writing).


More specifically the Science School will address the following disturbance-related topics:

  1. CloudValue: Atmosphere-biosphere interactions in different forest types and their effects on freshwater provisioning

  2. FireEngineering: The Canary Pine is an ecosystem engineer by altering the fire regime to which it is highly adapted but also might affect recovery dynamics and diversity.

  3. IslandTreeline: Drivers of treeline formation on La Palma (possible candidates: climate, empty niche, wind exposure, drought limitation)

  4. AltitudinalGradients: Trait variation across altitudinal gradients: changes in trait features for single species and in whole communities

  5. LaurelForestParadox: Laurel forest need stable conditions but are highly adapted to mechanical disturbances (clonal growth, seedling bank, etc.). How do regeneration, patch dynamics and disturbance resistance react to disturbances (rock fall, road construction, etc.), biotic legacy and historical contingency?

  6. LavaSuccession: Lava flows as natural laboratories for studies on primary succession because of being chronosequences where temporal processes of important ecological parameters can be studies (e.g. species richness, growth rate, functional traits, facilitation, resource / niche sharing)

  7. NovelBedrock: Novel approach to Study primary succession on recently exposed bedrock (roadsides, landslides, etc.) and assess how diversity, traits, species status (native, endemic, non-native) behave

Target group

Early career PhD students from the Ecopotential consortia that are interested in fundamental aspects of ecology and biogeography



Preparation phase: January to March

Research stay on La Palma: March 11th – 25th 2016

Analysis and Writing Phase: April to June

Presentation of final results: July (date to be announced)

Inquiries and further information

For further information or if you have specific questions, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Prof. Anke Jentsch, Disturbance Ecology, University of Bayreuth, Germany

Dr. Severin D.H. Irl, Biogeography, University of Bayreuth, Germany



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