Stefan Pinkert

Research Affiliate
Area of Interest: 
Biogeography, Entomology, Evolutionary Biology, Functional Ecology, Freshwater Ecology, Macroecology, Spatial Analysis and Modelling

My research focuses on understanding the ecological and evolutionary processes that underpin the remarkable diversity of insects from a functional and phylogenetic perspective. I use state-of-the-art approaches to quantify morphological traits of species, compile and harmonize taxonomic data and model species distributions – data that in concert allows to tackle some of the most pressing issues in ecology and to rigorously test long-standing evolutionary hypotheses. My research is centered on assessing different facets of the insect diversity and investigating ecogeographical patterns of trait variation in insects. Given the limited availability of essential biodiversity data on insect species, an integral part of my work is the development of approaches for mobilizing species information from literature and for automatically quantifying morphological traits using image analysis and artificial intelligence-based object recognition. 

I integrate distributional, functional, and phylogenetic data on insect species to:

  • investigate the environmental drivers of the phylogenetic diversity of insect assemblages.

  • investigate geographical variation in body size and melanization of insect species across environmental gradients

  • study the importance of morphological traits as determinants of the distribution and abundance of insects. 

  • study the evolution of melanization (color darkness) and the role of color-based thermoregulation for the diversification of insects

  • identify priority regions for the protection of the biodiversity of Lepidoptera and Odonata. 

Lab Specialty Group: 
Taxon Experts
Conservation Analytics
Species Spatial Modeling
Selected Publications: 

Pinkert S., Friess N., Zeuss D., Gossner M.M., Brandl R. & Brunzel S. (2020). Mobility costs and energy uptake mediate the effects of morphological traits on species’ distribution and abundance. Ecology 101: e03121. DOI: 10.1002/ecy.3121

Pinkert S., Dijkstra K.-D.B., Zeuss D., Reudenbach C., Brandl R. & Hof C. (2018). Evolutionary processes, dispersal limitation and climatic history shape current diversity patterns of European dragonflies. Ecography 41: 795–804. DOI: 10.1111/ecog.03137

Pinkert S. and Zeuss D. (2018). Thermal biology: Melanin-based energy harvesting across the tree of life. Current Biology 28: 884–887. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2018.07.026

Dormann, C., Borowski M., Dehling M.D., Hartig F., Lischke H., Moretti M., Pagel J., Pinkert S., Schleuning M., Schmidt S.S., Sheppard C., Steinbauer M.J., Zeuss D. & Kraan C. (2018). Biotic interactions in species distribution modelling: Eleven questions to guide interpretation and avoid false conclusions. Global Ecology and Biogeography 27: 1004–1016. DOI: 10.1111/geb.12759

Pinkert S., Brandl R. & Zeuss D. (2017). Colour lightness of dragonfly assemblages across North America and Europe“. Ecography 40: 1110–1117. DOI: 10.1111/ecog.02578

Major Taxa: 
Lepidoptera and Odonata
Major Study Region: 
Global, specialized on the Afrotropics
Where You're From: 
Nature photography, Gardening, Brewing