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Postal address

Research interests

Wiegand lab



Thorsten Wiegand (PhD Marburg University) is a Senior Scientist at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research in Leipzig, and lecturer at the Escuela para Graduados

Faculdad de Agronomia -  Universidad de Buenos  Aires.

Dr. Wiegand also serves as subject editor of Ecography and Oikos, and in the editorial board of Landscape Ecology.




Dr. habil. Thorsten Wiegand
Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ
Department of Ecological Modelling
Permoserstr. 15
04318 Leipzig

Tel.  +49 341 235 1714 
Fax: +49 341 235 1473 
e-mail: thorsten.wiegand@ufz.de



Postal address

Research interests

Wiegand lab



Research interests

Over the last 20 years or so, we are witnessing a conceptual revolution in the field of population biology and ecological modeling, which was stimulated by the rapid development of advanced new scientific tools such and individual-based, spatially explicit population models, and Geographic Information Systems (GIS). There is much work to be done in developing our understanding of the new "spatial ecology", and my research program is driven by an interest in this topic. My primary research goals are (1) to broaden the theory of population and community to encompass an explicit consideration of spatially distributed processes, and (2) to develop methods to adapt simulation models optimally for ecological applications. To approach these goals I use several complementary approaches

My study systems include plant communities such as tropical forests in Sri Lanka and Panama, treeline dynamics in Europe, semiarid shrubland and grasslands in South Africa, the Patagonian steppe in Argentina as well as endangered animal species such as brown bears (Ursus arctos), Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus), European lynx (Lynx lynx), and tiger (Panthera tigris).

Currently most of my time is absorbed by the ERC advanced grant project SPATIODIVERSITY that aims to understand the relative importance of processes and factors that govern the composition and dynamics of species-rich communities. Surprisingly, although most processes which are thought to contribute to species coexistence have a strong spatial component, the rich source of information on spatial patterns has only rarely been used for this purpose. We adopt a spatially explicit perspective and proceed in three steps:

  1. we quantify the highly complex spatial structures found in forests using recent techniques of spatial pattern analysis,

  2. we build a range of individual-based spatially-explicit simulation models ranging from “pure” neutral models to detailed process-based models of tropical forest, and

  3. we confront these simulation models with the set of patterns identified in (1) to identify the most parsimonious models that account simultaneously for all (spatial) patterns.


Postal address

Research interests

Wiegand lab



The Wiegand Lab



     Other funding

     Former members



Postal address

Research interests

Wiegand lab




  My handbook on spatial
  point pattern analysis
  in ecology has just been

  Access here the new
  version of the Programita


  ERC Advanced
  Investigator Grant

  One of the prestigious ERC
  Advances Investigator
  grants has been awarded to
  my project "Towards a
  Unified Spatial Theory of
  Biodiversity" which I am
  conducting together with
  Andreas Huth and
  international collaborators.  


  Tropical forests  


  Watch my interview at
  You Tube


Recent publications


 just posted:


Shen, Wiegand, and He
 Quantifying spatial

 phylogenetic structures of

& fully mapped plant

 communities. Methods in

 Ecology and Evolution


Wiegand, He, and Hubbell

 2013  A systematic

 comparison of summary

 characteristics for quantifying

 point patterns in ecology



Sutherland et al.  2013

 Identification of 100
 fundamental ecological
 questions. Journal of Ecology


Jeltsch et al.  2013

 How can we bring together
 empiricists and modellers
 in functional biodiversity
 research? Basic and Applied


 Wiegand et al.  2012

 Testing the independent
 species arrangement
 assertion made by theories
 of stochastic geometry of
 biodiversity. Proceedings B


 Cipriotti et al.  2012

 Understanding the long term

 spatial dynamics of semiarid

 grass shrub steppes through

 inverse parameter selection

 for simulation models. Oikos


 Martínez et al. 2012

 Dispersal limitation and

 spatial scale affect model

 based projections of Pinus

 uncinata response to climate

 change in the Pyrenees.

 Global Change Biology


  Hartig ,et al. 2011

  Statistical inference for

  stochastic simulations

  models - theory and

  application. Ecology Letters











    Modified: 31.01.2014 Resp.: Thorsten Wiegand     webmaster