Prof. Dr. Christian Laforsch is a zoologist and ecologist holding the chair for animal ecology at the University of Bayreuth (UBT). In addition, he is Vice-President for Research and Young Scholars at UBT. His research focuses on aquatic ecology and evolutionary ecology, particularly how organisms adapt to a changing environment and on the phenomenon of phenotypic plasticity. The spectrum of both marine and limnetic model organisms ranges from protozoa to vertebrates, whilst focusing on Daphnia (water flea) as the predominant model organism. In the interdisciplinary studies, state of the art molecular biological methods, experimental approaches in laboratory and field studies as well as modern imaging and analytical microscopic techniques are used.
An additional focus lies on the impact of multiple stressors on communities, food webs and ecosystem functioning, using both biotic stressors such as predators or parasites and those of human origin, like the so-called “micro pollutants”, e.g. pharmaceuticals or microplastics.
He is working on the topic of microplastics for ten years and was among the first authors addressing the problem of microplastics in freshwater ecosystems. His expertise in the field of microplastics ranges from sampling, extraction and purification techniques to the quantification and identification of microplastics from different environmental matrices (water, soil, air) with a strong focus on method development. Furthermore, his microplastic research focuses on the effects of microplastics from the cellular to the ecosystem level. His group is/was involved in a variety of microplastic projects and next to LimnoPlast he currently coordinates the worldwide first Collaborative Research Centre on Microplastic (https://www.sfb-mikroplastik.uni-bayreuth.de/en/) and the interdisciplinary collaborative project PLAWES (https://www.bayceer.uni-bayreuth.de/PLAWES/index.php?lang=en).
Prof. Dr. Christian Laforsch and his group work at the forefront of microplastics research and he regularly gives invited talks about microplastics to the general public, industries and policymakers.