My first impression of nature in our human-dominated world was that nature will always be stronger than our artefacts. This idea came when I saw a little dandelion breaking up the asphalt of the street in front of our house as a child. Though I lived in a city (Lübeck, Northern Germany), there were green places around me and it was an adventure to smell the flowers and to observe animals hiding in the ruderal shrubs. But after a while I realized that meadows I used to pass by and green corners I used to play in became replaced by more and more buildings— and I switched to the opinion that nature might be stronger than human beings, but it won’t recreate as fast as people can destroy it.
Therefore, and after an orientation period I decided to dedicate my work to our environment— and studied environmental sciences with focus on biology, chemistry and nature conservation. I started to work on animals and their habitats: After some practical training on primate research in the rainforest of Ecuador and on seahore birds at the Baltic coast, I graduated with a thesis about Green Lizards in the Middle East. After working as research assistant on habitat of beetles in Romania, I conducted my own little research project on niche partitioning of recently discovered gecko species in Vietnam with the support of Cologne Zoo.
Though all of these projects were interesting, I missed the framework of a larger research group which would exchange scientific insights on environmental problems through several diciplines—as the protection of our natural world requires much more than biological science.
I am convinced that we can achieve a better world if we give more respect to nature, if we implement our insights into action and if we communicate well within our world’s human society. For a holistic kind of sustainable development, we need to follow an interdisciplinary approach and we need to be able to understand more than our own scientific language.
Therefore I am more than happy to be one of Joern’s PhD students in his interdisciplinary project on sustainable development in Southern Transylvania. I consider myself fortunate to write my thesis on butterflies and plants in the wonderful Transylvanian landscapes and I am looking forward to the common activities of our research group.