Arachnids belong to the most species- and form-rich groups on earth, which we study in our department in many ways. We investigate processes of species formation and distribution, as well as their population genetics and ecology. We are also interested in macro-processes of arachnid evolution, which we investigate, for example, using molecular-biogeographical analyses and work in the field of palaeontology. We use a diverse repertoire of molecular, morphological and ecological methods to understand these processes. Depending on the project, we combine the palaeontological, phylogenetic and systematic findings with geographical and ecological analyses to understand the ecodynamic processes underlying the observed patterns as deeply as possible. The smallest level of our work is taxonomy: the discovery and scientific documentation of often new species.
Currently, we are researching various groups of arachnids and leading projects on both tropical and native spiders as well as lesser known groups such as the pseudoscorpions, dwarf flagellate scorpions, scorpions and flagellate spiders. Some of these projects have a strong applied connection in the field of conservation, especially in the tropical biomes of the world.
Dr Danilo Harms is the group leader and works mainly with the so-called small groups of arachnids, such as the pseudoscorpions. Nadine Dupérré is the collection manager and works mainly with spiders, of which she has already described over 500 species.