Some open questions


In the Center of  Tardigrade Research (CTR) ecological problems are analysed using a field approach and a laboratory approach. A moss cushion or a lichen in a certain environment are complex systems, and simple cause-effect relationships are rare.



The CTR wants to know


-          how tardigrades interact with other animals in a moss cushion (or a lichen), with the plant itself  and with their physical environments to optimize fitness (adaptation, resistence, competition).

-          which are the mechanisms driving population and community dynamics (especially in tardigrades).

-          which are the critical environmental limits to survival and reproduction in tardigrades.

-          which adaptations are evolved by tardigrades for overcoming the limitation set by physical and chemical factors.

-          which niche differentiations exist between tardigrades, rotifers and nematodes (for competition over evolutionary time should lead to niche differentiation).

-          if the models of modern ecology are not too theoretical and too simple for understanding the ecology, the evolution and the life histories in holo-anhydrobiotic animals, the first metazoan land invaders on this earth.



Some further questions:


-          Which might be the possible functions of secondary plant or moss metabolites in tardigrades?

-          Are there strategies within a bryosystem regulating or preventing fungal attacks on tardigrades?

-          Which are the factors influencing moulting and oviposition in tardigrades?

-          Might it be possible that horizontal gene transfer (as it has taken place in the evolution of Bdelloid rotifers)   may be an important force in tardigrade evolution?

-          Are there pheromonal interactions in tardigrades?

-          An overview of nearly 500 scientific publications about tardigrades shows that too little systematic investigation has been aimed at studying tardigrade physiology, biochemistry, behaviour and ecology.


The CTR has the advantage to solve problems of these special fields and is not pressurized by the „public or perish“ or „value-for-money science“ philosophies.