Ecosystems are subject to natural and anthropogenic (i.e. human-induced) environmental changes. Professor Bruno Streit conducts research on the numerous and complex links between ecological change, evolutionary adaption and the consequences of environmental pollution. He and his team do their research by analysing land-living, freshwater, and marine organisms from various places around the world. Currently, these organisms range from water fleas, crabs and freshwater fish, to squirrels, monkeys and antelopes. When analysing the ecology of these creatures, these scientists not only study what is known about their biology, but also the extent to which their evolutionary history was dependent on geological processes and environmental change. For instance, a rise in water temperature may, in the short term, alter the dispersal zone of water-snails, but in the long-term, new genetic lineages may become dominant. Furthermore, genetic combination (hybridisation and introgression) can eventually result in new speciation. As part of their research, Streit and his group reconstruct climate change in their examination of water flea eggs, which – in spite of a period of up to 50 to 70 years of inactivity in sediment – can still be revived and used as a model organism in climate change experiments.
In addition to applying molecular biological methods, the team also uses behavioural systems when looking at communication networks in both fish and rabbit populations. Streit recognizes the importance of always keeping human impact on nature at the forefront of his research. "The objective of my work is to explore and protect biodiversity. I want to engender respect for species diversity, and genetic diversity found within species, as well as diversity in ecosystems." In 2004, with this objective in mind, he and his colleagues founded the "Bio-Frankfurt Network of Biodiversity" of which he is spokesman. This network currently brings together sixteen institutions involved in research, education, nature conservancy and development cooperation. Their objective is to increase both public interest and awareness, and to encourage steps towards ensuring a sustainable approach to the protection of species, as well as to raise funds for research. Streit wants to impart these concerns to his students and to provide them with the essential knowledge and methods they need.
Subsequent to completing his degree in Biology in Basel, Bruno Streit wrote his doctoral thesis on the ecology and energy flow of freshwater snail populations (Ancylus fluviatilis) in the Lake Constance area. As a postdoctoral researcher, he conducted research on environmental toxicology and received his Habilitation from the University of Basel in 1979. After serving as an acting professor with a research focus on soil ecology, he was given a two-year research scholarship to work at the Department of Biological Sciences at Stanford University, California, U.S.A. Streit was appointed professor at Goethe University Frankfurt in 1985 and from 2005 served three years as Founding Director of the Institute of Ecology, Evolution und Diversity. Since 2008, Streit has been a cooperating member in the Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre (BiKF) of the Senckenberg Nature Research Society and of the Goethe University Frankfurt.
Prof. Dr. Bruno Streit
Institute of Ecology, Evolution und Diversity
Max-von-Laue-Str. 13 (Biologicum, Flügel C)
60438 Frankfurt am Main
Telephone: +49 (0)69 798 42160