PD Dr. Karin Frank

Prof. Dr. Karin Frank

Department Head
Department Ecological Modelling (OESA)
Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ

Permoserstr. 15
04318 Leipzig
Bld. 1.0, Room 206

Phone: (0341) 235 1279
Fax (0341) 235 1473
Email: karin.frank@ufz.de

Curriculum Vitae


1988         Diploma in Mathematics, University of Leipzig
1992         Promotion (Dr. rer. nat.), Mathematical Physics, University of Leipzig
1992-       Scientist at the Department of Ecological Modelling (OESA) at the UFZ
2004-2007 Co-Head of a Junior Research Group “Ecological Economics”,
               funded by the Volkswagen Foundation
2006         Habilitation (Dr. habil.), Applied System Sciences, University of Osnabrück
2010-       W2 Professorship in “Ecological Modelling”,
               Joint appointment of University of Osnabrück and UFZ
2011         Helmholtz Management Academy;
               Certificate of Malik Management Systems St. Gallen

Recent responsibilities at the UFZ

2010-        Head of Department of Ecological Modelling (OESA)
2014-        Spokesperson of the POF III Integrated Project “Land use aspects of
                transforming the energy system” (EnergyLandUse) of the
                Helmholtz Program “Terrestrial Environments”
2014-        Spokesperson of the Board of the UFZ Graduate School HIGRADE

Research interests

The focus of my research is on modelling the structure, dynamics, functions and stability properties of ecological, eco-hydrological and social-ecological systems under the influence of global change (esp. climate, land use and institutional change). I am particularly interested (i) in providing insights into complex environmental problems related to grand challenges of the society, their functioning and induced chances and risks, (ii) in identifying (management and policy) options for their sustainable solution, and (iii) in developing respective model-based tools for decision-support. Topics are e.g.

  • Survival and spread of species and species communities under habitat loss, fragmentation and environmental fluctuations, with implications for biodiversity conservation;
  • Performance of regulating ecosystem services under multiple stressors (climatic, chemical and biological stressors), with implications for contaminant degradation, eutrophication control or the biological pump;
  • Sustainability of natural resource use in drylands; influence of uncertainty (rainfall variability, drought, eco-hydrological feedbacks); key factors of resilience; chances and risks of novel technologies and institutions; with implications for climate adaptation and poverty alleviation 
  • Land use aspects of transforming the energy system; influence of markets, policies and socio-environmental context on allocation decisions and their impacts; concepts for conflict mitigation; with implications for the spatial design of sustainable renewable energy systems.

I have methodological expertise in spatial, stochastic, equation- and rule-based approaches of ecological modelling, agent-based social-ecological modelling, the integration of organismic and matter flux aspects, and the combination of theories, modelling and experiments / case studies. Synthesizing conceptual and methodological reflections are integral part of my work.

Graduate education

Modelling and integration gain increasing importance in solution-oriented environmental research. Therefore, the next generation of decision-makers in all environmental fields has to be provided with these skills as early as possible. I follow a comprehensive structured approach and facilitate (undergraduate and graduate) teaching, supervision and (UFZ-wide, national and international) capacity building in ecological and social-ecological modelling using our scientific networks.

Memberships in scientific panels

2010-     Member of the Selection Panel of the PhD Fellowship Program of the DBU
2012-     Founding member of the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research
             (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig
2012-     Member of the External Advisory Board of the U.S. National Socio-Environmental
             Synthesis Centre (SESYNC), Annapolis, MD



Einführung in die Modellierung ökologischer Systeme

3.-13. März 2015

Mehr Information :

Junior Research Group

„Global food security policies and their social-ecological side effects in regions prone to global change”