Karl Eduard Linsenmair

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Karl Eduard Linsenmair (born February 8, 1940 in Munich ) is a German biologist and professor emeritus. His fields of work are general ecology, ethoecology, ecophysiology, sociobiology and orientation physiology, with a focus on tropical ecology .


Linsenmair studied zoology, botany, chemistry, anthropology and psychology in Heidelberg, Freiburg and Frankfurt. He was born in 1966 with the dissertation Construction and Signal Function of the Sand Pyramid of the Riding Crab Ocypode saratan Forsk. (Decapoda Brachyura Ocypodidae) . From 1967 to 1970 he was a DFG research fellow at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main and from 1970/1971 he was a research assistant in the department of biology at the University of Regensburg . He completed his habilitation in 1971 and taught at the University of Regensburg from 1972 to 1976. In 1976 he took over the chair for animal ecology at the Zoological Institute of the University of Würzburg .

Linsenmair has made a decisive contribution to the establishment and promotion of the research areas of tropical ecology and biodiversity. He initiated and coordinated the DFG priority program “Mechanisms for the Conservation of Tropical Diversity” and the European Science Foundation program “Tropical Canopy Research”, which has since been expanded to a global level. As the only biologist in the “National Committee for Global Change Research”, he was significantly involved in the development of the concept for the BMBF program BIOLOG-BIOTA. In this context, he headed the BIOTA-West program, which wanted to use findings from basic ecological research for specific problem solutions on the African continent. He and his chair were responsible for the scientific and administrative coordination of 16 universities and scientific institutes in Germany, Burkina Faso, Benin and Ivory Coast.

Research in Africa

In the 1980s Linsenmair plans to build a permanent ecological research station in the savannah of the Ivory Coast. There, on a research trip in 1973, he was fascinated by the incredible diversity of the various frogs. The Comoé National Park has been a World Heritage Site since 1983. In 1989 the first huts made of bushes and leaves are built, eaten away by termites within a year and rebuilt. As early as 1991, Linsenmair received a grant from the Thyssen Foundation for its ecological research station. Due to bureaucratic hurdles from offices, authorities and ministries, it took nine years to collect all the signatures of the 20 agencies, and construction work on the research station did not begin until 1999.

In 2002, Linsenmair's team of researchers moved to the massive camp, which was well equipped for zoological, botanical and ecological research. That was unique in West Africa. Linsenmair made important contributions to biodiversity research in West Africa. In addition to the occurrence and behavior of individual animal species, he investigated global change, the spread of deserts and the loss of biodiversity. In September 2002 an international delegation visited the research station. Only a few weeks later the civil war begins in the Ivory Coast , which raged directly at Linsenmair's station. He and his European employees were flown out and could not return until ten years later. During this time Linsenmair headed the Biota West Africa project from Benin and Burkina Faso; that conducted biodiversity research and built up an international network.

In 2010 Karl Eduard Linsenmair and Robert Foro opened the new information center on biodiversity in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, after almost two years of planning and construction, in which the collected knowledge is now to be made available to the general public. The civil war has officially been over since 2007, and it wasn't until 2011 that the government was more or less stable and was able to contain the unrest that flared up. In 2012 Linsenmair returned to the savannah after the civil war and found only ruins of his research station. He rebuilt everything with his colleagues. Today there are 14 guest houses with air conditioning and running water at a great distance from the main building. The centerpiece is a long research building with a library, offices and laboratories. The station has been connected to the internet since 2014 and research operations are starting up again. Several students and doctoral candidates are doing research on various projects here and have already published the first scientific publications.

Memberships and honors

Karl Eduard Linsenmair became President of the Society for Tropical Ecology (gtö) in 1990, has been an elected member of the German Academy of Natural Scientists Leopoldina since 1997 and of the Academia Europaea since 1998 . He is also president of the Society for Tropical Ecology (gtö). He is chairman of the scientific advisory board and member of the board of trustees of the ZMT ( Center for Tropical Marine Ecology ) in Bremen as well as a member of the scientific advisory board and the foundation board of WWF Germany . He is also a member of various advisory boards and committees ("Global Change Research", Senckenberg Research Institute, Natural History Museum Berlin, zoology board of the DFG for the subject "Ecology and Ecosystem Research").

In 1996 Linsenmair received the Körber Prize for European Science. In 2014 Linsenmair was awarded the Gold Medal of Merit by the University of Würzburg for his services to research.

Fonts (selection)

  • Construction and signaling function of the sand pyramid of the riding crab Ocypode saratan Forsk. (Decapoda Brachyura Ocypodidae). In: Zeitschrift für Tierpsychologie. Volume 24, No. 4, 1967, pp. 403-456, doi: 10.1111 / j.1439-0310.1967.tb01238.x

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d e f Gold Medals of Merit from the University of Würzburg ( Memento of the original from April 27, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , PM Biozentrum Uni Würzburg 2014, accessed on April 13, 2015 @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.biozentrum.uni-wuerzburg.de
  2. a b c d e Fritz Habekuss: The Patron and His Paradise , Zeit article from March 28, 2015
  3. ^ Gunnar Bartsch: An Information Center for Biological Diversity , article from March 26, 2010, accessed on April 13, 2015