Award for outstanding young researcher

Sarah Redlich is investigating how climate change affects biodiversity in ecosys
Sarah Redlich is investigating how climate change affects biodiversity in ecosystems and how these effects can be minimised. (Image: Sarah Redlich / Uni Würzburg)
The Biocenter of the University of Würzburg awards the Marcella Boveri Prize 2023 to ecologist Sarah Redlich, a researcher in Professor Ingolf Steffan-Dewenter’s Chair of Zoology III.

Every two years, the Biocenter of the University of Würzburg (JMU) honors excellent female scientists between postdoctoral and professorial positions with the Marcella Boveri Prize - in 2023, the award goes to Dr. Sarah Redlich. At the Chair of Zoology III, the researcher is investigating how climate change affects biodiversity in ecosystems and how to mitigate these effects as part of the "LandKlif" and "ConservES" projects.

"Dr. Redlich is an outstanding young researcher who is tackling one of the most pressing crises of our time, namely climate change," said Professor Ricarda Scheiner, Women’s Representative of the Faculty of Biology, in her laudatory speech at the award ceremony on 26 July 2023. In addition, she is actively working on raising public awareness of the issue." As part of LandKlif, Redlich regularly organizes workshops, lectures and research opportunities for citizens.

Doctorate in Würzburg completed with summa cum laude

The scientist has been conducting research at the University of Würzburg since 2013 - she also completed her Master’s degree here. In 2018, she completed her doctorate in agroecology and sustainable agriculture with summa cum laude. Since then, Redlich has been the coordinator of the LandKlif research project. Since 2023, she has also been the German leader of the European collaborative project ConservES.

The researcher plans to invest the prize money of 5,000 euros in high-resolution cameras to observe interactions between plants and insects. "This will allow us to determine which animal groups are particularly important for ecosystem services in agriculture," she explains. "That way we can better identify changes in the species community that are occurring because of climate change."

The prize money of the Marcella Boveri Prize may only be used for research purposes. Past winners are Professor Vera Kozjak-Pavlovic from the Department of Microbiology (awarded in 2015) and Professor Andrea Holzschuh from the Department of Animal Ecology and Tropical Biology (awarded in 2017). The award is intended to commemorate the US biologist Marcella Boveri, who was the first woman to be admitted as a guest student at the University of Würzburg in 1896. She thus paved the way for women’s academic careers at JMU.

About the Chair of Animal Ecology and Tropical Biology (Zoology III)

The Chair of Animal Ecology and Tropical Biology (Zoology III) at the University of Würzburg has a long-standing international reputation in the study of global change. The team led by Professor Ingolf Steffan-Dewenter investigates the causes of the regional and global decline in biological diversity. One focus is the study of insects and their ecology.