21 Oct 2008
Professor and PI of Plant Geography Group (http://www.phylodiversity.net/fslik/)
My research is focused on tree species diversity and distribution patterns in relation to environmental variables in lowland rain forests of Borneo and Southeast Asia. This includes investigating the amount of forest structural damage caused by drought, fire and logging and their effects on tree species diversity and composition, but also species-habitat associations in old growth forests.
I have build up a large database of plant morphological traits, which in combination with a GIS environmental and tree species inventory database can be used to study floristic, diversity and plant functional traits in relation to the environment. I am also interested in theoretical and statistical problems with current diversity and ordination methods. These treat species as independent sample units and ignore that these species are connected via their evolutionary histories thus potentially overlooking many interesting additional diversity and floristic patterns. Last, but not least, I am also very interested in new species identification techniques, such as DNA-barcoding and next-gen sequencing, because after hundreds of years of traditional morphological systematic work it is still frustratingly difficult to identify tropical trees. At Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Gardens I hope to expand my studies to include the whole of Southeast Asia, up to the most northern limits of naturally occurring Dipterocarp forests.