I am a coworker with the working group Invertebrate Palaeontology and Palaeoclimatology
of the Institute for Geosciences, University of Tübingen
(see also Anita Roth-Nebelsick,
Martin Ebner and
- Mechanisms, failure and repair mechanisms of water transport in fossil and extant
vascular plants: Development of mathematical models, which describe the relevant processes.
- Description of the gas exchange between atmosphere and leaves of fossil and
extant plants with mathematical models. These models can be used to reconstruct
palaeoatmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations or palaeotemperatures from leafanatomic data.
- Development of mathematical models, describing persistence, stability and
diffusional behaviour of air bubbles which are attached to fur or plumage of animals with an
aquatic life style.
DFG-Reserach Project Analysis of drag-reducing air-water interfaces:
Identifying technical surfaces which are able to hold persistent air layers according to
immersed biological objects
(Cooperation with AG Barthlott, Nees Institute for Biodiversity of Plants,
University of Bonn, http://www.nees.uni-bonn.de)
consisting partially in the transfer of results from fundamental research (see above).
- Bionics (Biomimetics): Development of textiles which are able to pipe fluids in an
energetic self-sufficient way. (Partially in collaboration with the
Institut für Textil- und Verfahrenstechnik at Denkendorf (near Stuttgart) and
- Application of research results from plant physiology to engineering.
General research interests
Application of methods from Physics and Mathematics to problems in Palaeontology and Biology.
Geology, Palaeontology and Biology have evolved away from their descriptive roots and develop towards quantitative methods as
a means of describing the concepts and processes they do explore. There are mainly two reasons for the increasing use of
methods from Physics and Mathematics:
- First, quantitative treatments do necessarily make use of the underlying processes from Physics, Chemistry or Physical
- Second, during the centuries, Theoretical and Mathematical Physics have accumulated a rich variety of mathematical models
which are well suited for phenomenological modelling purposes.
Most Geologists, Palaeontologists and Biologists accept this line of reasoning immediately. Their majority, however, views
mathematical models merely as a vehicle to quantify intuitively formed hypotheses and feels not very comfortable with the
Physicists firm belief in the predictive power of their theories, a belief which has formed during centuries, especially
after the success of Newtons theory of gravitation. Since then, physical theories have often profited from critical review of
apparent mathematical artefacts which gave rise to fruitful (and sometimes surprising) insights into quite unexpected
connections between theory and reality.