Faces of CURT

CURT was initiatied by and for early career researchers such as Master’s students, Doctoral researchers and PostDocs within the Berlin University Alliance (BUA), Germany and from the University of Melbourne, Australia. These are our members – the faces of CURT:

Amy Hahs

Senior lecturer in Urban Ecology and Urban Horticulture at the University of Melbourne (UniMelb).

Amy’s research uses a comparative approach to understand how environmental, cultural, social and technical factors influence urban areas over space and time, and how this affects the ecology of plants and animals in those landscapes. Her approach combines research and practice to understand how we can actively integrate this knowledge into the planning, design, construction and management of cities to help develop resilient and biodiverse ecological systems where people live and work.

Email: amy.hahs [at] unimelb.edu.au / Webpage

Tanja M. Straka

PostDoc researcher in urban ecology at the Technical University Berlin (TU).

Tanja completed her PhD in 2015 at ARCUE (Australian Research Centre for Urban Ecology), c/o University of Melbourne, where she got to know Amy. Now a PostDoc at the TU Berlin, Dept. Climatology and Plant Ecology interested in urban biodiversity and climate and incorporating human dimensions in urban ecology research. Tanja also has a background in zoology and has worked extensively with bats.

Email: tanja.straka [at] tu-berlin.de / Webpage / twitter: @TanjaStraka

Simon Sebastian Moesch

PhD candidate between the Humboldt (HU) and Free (FU) University of Berlin, also partnering with the Leibniz-institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW)

Simon’s research in urban wildlife is so multifacited that he is somehow a member of three different working groups in Berlin. He is interested in human perceptions and interactions with urban wildlife and how this affects management. He is obsessed with beavers and likes fantasy literature. Simon is also one of our #CURTinators and a self-proclaimed fries-fluencer in Berlin.

Email: simon.sebastian.moesch [at] gmail.com / Webpage / twitter: @SimonMoesch

Julia Schiller

PhD candidate with the Green Infrastructure Research Group (GIRG) at the University of Melbourne (UniMelb).

Julia is originally from Berlin, though she has managed to master the Melbourne accent after just a few years as a doctoral researcher in Australia. Her research is concerned with ecological connectivity in urban areas, focusing on urban bees and how they benefit from green roofs. Julia is our #CURTinator from down-under and can write up a winning grant proposal with two cats balanced on her shoulders.

Email: julia.schiller [at] student.unimelb.edu.au / Webpage / twitter: @JuliaSchiller10

Jonathan Jeschke

Professor at the Free University of Berlin (FU). and group leader at the Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB)

Jonathan is head of the diverse Ecological Novelty research group at the IGB and FU. Having worked for many years in the realm of ‘invasion ecology’, Jonathan is the person to ask concerning dynamics in species introductions in urban environments. Jonathan is particularly engaged in research on freshwater systems.

Email: jonathan.jeschke [at] fu-berlin.de / Webpage

Nick Williams

Professor for Urban Ecology and Urban Horticulture at the University of Melbourne (UniMelb).

Nick is an ecologist, working predominantly in urban areas because although they are the cause of many of the world’s environmental problems, cities offer humanity great hope for a sustainable future. He has >20 years of urban ecology and urban greening research experience and is recognized as an international expert in these fields. Nick seeks to understand urban biodiversity patterns and ecosystem processes and develop applied solutions to reduce negative impacts of urbanization. Current projects include work on green roofs, grassland restoration and biodiversity in streetscapes. Nick co-leads the (GIRG) at UniMelb and applies his knowledge as President of Friends of Merri Creek, a volunteer community which has lead significant restoration efforts on the Merri creek since the 1980’s.

Email: nsw [at] unimelb.edu.au / Webpage

Chente Ortiz

Research assistant at the Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB) and CURTinator in Berlin

Chente is a North American invasive from Florida and recently completed his Master’s at the Humboldt University of Berlin, where he studied fish biology and freshwater ecology. For the last few years Chente has worked part-time for Die Junge Akademie, as well as in and around the Leibniz-IGB with different working groups. Currently working on an evidence map project, concerning conditioning interventions in human-wildlife conflict. Chente is passionate about applied freshwater conservation. He also likes to play ultimate frisbee and wander around the Tempelhofer Field in the evenings.

Email: chenteortizis [at] gmail.com / Webpage / twitter: @chenteortizis

Evariste Rutebuka

PhD candidate with the Green Infrastructure Research Group (GIRG) at the University of Melbourne (UniMelb).

Evariste is a natural resources management specialist with a strong background in biodiversity conservation and environmental accounting. His PhD focuses on Urban Nature Indicators, with the objective to identify a set of urban biodiversity and ecosystem indicators that account for existing limitations and current/future needs of policymakers, whilst also providing robust information about the biodiversity and ecosystem services of cities around the world.

Prior to his PhD, Evariste contributed to the Ecosystem Accounting framework recently adopted by the UN for application in national statistics during its experimental phase in African countries. Evariste also worked with strong government partners such as the World Bank and others in the Policy arena, including the production of policy research papers in natural resource management.

Email: erutebuka [at] student.unimelb.edu.au / Webpage / twitter: @Erutebuka

Emu-Felicitas Ostermann-Miyashita

PhD candidate at ​​Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF) and Humboldt University of Berlin (HU)

Emu has started off her career as a citizen scientist in Japan and is still an active member of Safecast and CitizenScience.Asia. She is currently doing her PhD on three iconic returning species: wolf, European bison and moose in Germany at an Institute located east of Berlin. The main objective of her research is to realise a better coexistence of wildlife and humans by involving citizens in monitoring and management activities.

Email: Emu-Felicitas.Ostermann [at] zalf.de / Webpage

Nadja Pernat

Doctoral researcher in urban ecology and citizen science, presently working at the ​​Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF) and Free University of Berlin (FU)

After studying biology in Bochum, Nadja worked in science communication at the Max Planck Society and at the Science Museum in London, but then switched sides because science is just that tiny bit more exciting than communication (all in the eye of the beholder, of course). However, she has never completely left her subject, as her research focus is now on citizen science. She is particularly interested in how to tap into the hidden information within citizen science data collections on urban biodiversity and link the findings to socio-economic data. When she can’t be out stalking wildlife in Yellowstone National Park, she roams through Berlin and Brandenburg with binoculars looking for birds.

Email: Nadja.Pernat [at] zalf.de

Sonja Knapp

Scientist at Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ in Halle (Saale) and external lecturer at Technical University Berlin (TU)

Sonja’s main research foci are urban biodiversity and urban ecosystem services. Using indices of taxonomic, phylogenetic, and functional diversity, she identifies reasons for species decline and persistence in the face of urbanization. By linking diversity indices to ecosystem services, she investigates whether and how biodiversity interacts with ecosystem service-delivery. This way, trade-offs and synergies among two aims of urban planning – biodiversity conservation and ecosystem service delivery – can be identified.

Email: sonja.knapp [at] ufz.de / Webpage

Yuval Itescu

Humboldt Postdoc fellow in urban ecology at the Free University of Berlin (FU) and the Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB) in Prof. Jonathan Jeschke’s group.

Yuval’s current research focuses on understanding how anthropogenically-induced processes in general, and urbanization in particular, influence the biogeography, evolutionary-ecology and conservation of (mostly) terrestrial vertebrates at a large-scale (geographically and taxonomically). Before moving to Berlin he completed his PhD at Tel Aviv University in 2017, studying the biogeography and evolutionary ecology of insular reptiles.

Email: yuvitescu [at] gmail.com / Webpage / twitter: @YuvItescu

Florencia Yannelli

Researcher within the Ecological Novelty group at the Free University of Berlin (FU), also affiliated to the Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB)

In her current position she is dedicated to understanding how certain alien plants become invasive in cities. Florencia’s work focuses on the linkages between the aboveground plant and the belowground soil communities and how both components might work together enhancing alien invasive species performance. She is also interested in examining the role of legacy effects following invasions on the restoration of native vegetation and the theory-based design of communities resistant to invasive species during restoration. Florencia is also passionate about science communication and inspiring more women to become scientists, so since some years she is actively participating in Scicomm events and is part of the SoapboxScience Berlin organizing Team

Email: florenciayannelli [at] gmail.com / Webpage / twitter: @Floryannelli