Research for the Environment

Guy Pe'er

Guy Pe'er, PhD

Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ
Department of Conservation Biology

Contact address:
Permoserstr. 15
04318 Leipzig

Tel: +49-341-2351643
Fax: +49-341-2351470

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Research interests

=> Developing tools for nature conservation in light of land-use changes and climate changes, and ensuring their implementation on-the-ground

=> Identifying factors that determine population dynamics and biodiversity patterns in fragmented, heterogeneous and human-dominated landscapes

=> Linking different ecological levels: animal behavior, the dynamics of populations and metapopulations, community structures and biodiversity patterns in fragmented landscapes

=> Animal-landscape interactions: how the decisions taken by animals in response to landscape cues affect movement patterns, functional connectivity, and the sensitivity of species to habitat loss and fragmentation

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Research Approach

In my research, I try to link different ecological levels: animal behaviour, population (and metapopulation) dynamics, community structures and biodiversity patterns. I continuously combine simulation models with field experiments, to obtain a better understanding of nature but first and foremost for deriving practical tools for conservation. While butterflies serve as a major focal group in my empirical work, my models address a variety of taxa including mammalian predators (e.g. Lynx), plants, and currently birds.

My work involves both theoretic and applied research, as well as monitoring and active participation in science-policy interfaces in an attempt to disseminate scientific knowledge into policy and management.

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Ongoing and completed research projects


This EU FP7 Integrated project aims to integrate monitoring data from terrestrial, marine, and freshwater ecosystems as well as remote sensing data. My involvement concentrates primarily on Work-Package 4 (led by the UFZ team), which focuses on analyses of trends in species distributions and abundances; attempting to project changes based on alternative scenarios; optimize monitoring efforts; and assess uncertainties along these processes. I am also engage in the development of tools for analyses and upscaling.

The project puts together both the data and experts from eight different Butterfly Monitoring Schemes across Europe, USA and Israel. It is based on a series of workshop taking place in CESAB, France. We aim improve the methods for analyses, and, with these, address a range of questions about the patterns and processes affecting butterflies populations from local to global.

    SCALES (
This EU FP7 Integrated project aims to assess how different man-made pressures on natural environments (habitat loss, fragmentation, climate change, land-use changes etc.) affect biodiversity across scales (from genetic to ecosystem level). Concommitantly, the project seeks to identify the means to match the scales of policies and management with the scales of ecosystem processes.

Personal contributions to the projects involve Main topics within the project: assessing connectivity across spatial scales; reviewing Population Viability analyses (PVAs) and the Minimum Area Requirement (MAR) of species; contributing to the development of RangeShifter, an individual-based model to predict range-shift dynamics of species in response to land-use-and climate-changes

- methodologies for upscaling and downscaling

Since April 2009:
The monitoring scheme for butterflies in Israel: Leading the program together with Racheli Schwartz-Tzachor and Dubi Benyamini, within the activities of the Israeli Lepidopterists' Society.

2007 - 2009:
Developing an individual-based model to analyse functional connectivity for birds of the Atlantic forest in Brazil, within the Mata Atlantica (BioCAPSP) project.

2006 - 2007:
The life history, ecology and conservation of the critically endangered butterfly Apharitis cilissa (Lycaenidae) in Israel

2005 - 2007:
A campaign for the legal protection and conservation of butterflies in Israel

2005 - 2006:
Linking behavior and biodiversity for butterflies in agricultural landscapes; a study across the climatic gradient in Israel

Participating in a study of biodiversity patterns along altitudinal gradients in Mt. Hermon (an M.Sc. study of Oded Levanoni in collaboration with Dr. Salit Kark)

2004 - 2005:
The ecology of the endangered butterfly Tomares nesimachus (Lycaenidae) in Israel

The relevance of metapopulation theory for plants with seed dormancy

Testing the potential impacts of the perceptual range of animals on a connectivity model, using the Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) in Germany as a case study

Participating in writing Israel's first national report on Climate Change under the UNFCCC, writing the chapters "Impact, Vulnerability and Adaptation" (in cooperation with Prof. Uriel Safriel)

Assessing the spatial and behavioral determinants of butterfly movement patterns in topographically complex landscapes (PhD study)

Effect of aquifer depletion on mortality of Acacia trees in the Arava valley, Israel – a computerized analysis of aerial photographs (B.Sc research project)

Agricultural lands in Europe: not all is ugly and bad. Photograph: Guy Pe'er, 2009. All rights reserved

Recent Publications

JAX, K. (Ed.)(2010): Ecosystem functioning Cambridge Univ. Press, Cambridge, 272 S.

Fisheries and Fish-eating Vertebrates as a Model Case
Series: Environmental Science and Engineering
Subseries: Environmental Science
Klenke, R.A.; Ring, I.; Kranz, A.; Jepsen, N.; Rauschmayer, F.; Henle, K. (Eds.)
2013, XIV, 347 p. 64 illus., 36 in color.

JAX. K. & A. SCHWARZ (2011): Competing terms. Chapter 11,. In: SCHWARZ, A. & K. JAX (eds.): Ecology Revisited: Reflecting on Concepts, Advancing Science. Dordrecht, Springer: 155-159.

SCHWARZ, A. & K. JAX (eds.): Ecology Revisited: Reflecting on Concepts, Advancing Science. Dordrecht, Springer: 444 p.

BIODIVERSITY AND CONSERVATION Volume 20, Number 5, 1057-1072, DOI: 10.1007/s10531-011-0015-2

Effects of species turnover on reserve site selection in a fragmented landscape - Birgit Felinks, Renata Pardini, Marianna Dixo, Klaus Follner, Jean P. Metzger und Klaus Henle

BRECKLING, B., PE'ER, G. & Y.G. MATSINOS (2011). Cellular Automata in Ecological Modelling. In: JOPP, F., REUTER, H., BRECKLING, B. (Eds.): Modelling Complex Ecological Dynamics.  Springer: 105-117.

BRECKLING, B., PE'ER, G. & Y.G. MATSINOS (2011). Cellular Automata in Ecological Modelling. In: JOPP, F., REUTER, H., BRECKLING, B. (Eds.): Modelling Complex Ecological Dynamics. Springer: 105-117.

Science-Policy Interface: Beyond Assessments - Mike Hulme, Martin Mahony, Silke Beck, Christoph Görg, Bernd Hansjürgens, Jennifer Hauck, Carsten Nesshöver, Axel Paulsch, Marie Vandewalle, Heidi Wittmer, Stefan Böschen, Peter Bridgewater, Mariteuw Chimère Diaw, Pierre Fabre, Aurelia Figueroa, Kong Luen Heong, Horst Korn, Rik Leemans, Eva Lövbrand, Mohd Norowi Hamid, Chad Monfreda, Roger Pielke, Jr., Josef Settele, Marten Winter, Alice B. M. Vadrot, Sybille van den Hove and Jeroen P. van der Sluijs, Science 5 August 2011: 697-698.