History of the Institute

The Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology exists under this name since March 2007. Its previous name was Max Planck Institute for Limnology. It was founded by Emil Otto Zacharias in 1891 as "Biologische Station zu Plön" and was integrated into the Kaiser Wilhelm Gesellschaft in 1917 as "Hydrobiologische Anstalt", headed by August Thienemann.
The German "Sundaexpedition" in 1928/29, in which Thienemann was heavily engaged, marked the start of the tropical limnology research at the institute. In 1948, the institute became part of the Max Planck Society. The "Fuldastation" (later: "Limnologische Flussstation") in Schlitz was attached as fieldstation in 1949.
In 1957, Harald Sioli became director and in 1966 the institute received the name Max Planck Institute for Limnology, including the research units General Limnology (Jürgen Overbeck) and Tropical Ecology (Harald Sioli). Harald Sioli retired in 1978 and the new department Ecophysiology (Winfried Lampert) as well as the workgroup Tropical Ecology (Wolfgang Junk) was established in 1984. After the retirement of Jürgen Overbeck in 1991, the "Limnologische Flussstation" was continued as an independent workgroup in Schlitz, headed by Peter Zwick.

The Max Planck Society decided to change the main direction of the institute from Limnology to Evolutionary Biology but to keep its location in Plön. In 1999, Manfred Milinski became the first director of the new direction and the new Department for Evolutionary Ecology was established. Winfried Lampert retired in the end of 2006 and the Department for Evolutionary Genetics headed by Diethard Tautz, the second director of the institute, was established. In the same year, Peter Zwick retired and the "Limnologische Flussstation" Schlitz was closed. In 2007, Wofgang Junk retired and the working group for tropical ecology was resolved. First after the retirement of Winfried Lampert, the last director of the direction Limnology, the institute was allowed to change its name to Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology in 2007.  

An independent DFG funded Emmy-Noether research group "Evolutionary Dynamics", headed by Arne Traulsen, started in 2008, which was changed into a new research group "Evolutionary Theory" during 2010. In 2009, John Baines was recruited as a joint professor with the University in Kiel as part of the Excellence Cluster "Inflammation at Interfaces". The independent Max-Planck Research group in "Experimental Evolution" headed by Duncan Greig started in 2010 (until 2016). One year later, the Emmy-Noether research group "Community Dynamics" with Lutz Becks as group leader started its work.
In 2014, Eva Stukenbrock became Professor for Environmental Genomics at the CAU Kiel and at the same time Max Planck Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology with her own research group “Environmental Genomics”. 2014, Arne Traulsen was appointed Scientific Member of the Max Planck Society and third director of the Department for Evolutionary Theory at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology. The independent Max-Planck Research group "Behavioural Genomics" headed by Miriam Liedvogel started in 2015 and in 2016 Tobias Kaiser started another Max-Planck Research group "Biological Clocks".

Also in 2016, Paul Rainey was appointed as a director of the new department "Microbial Population Biology", which is the successor department of Manfred Milinskis department. Paul Rainey - before Professor at Massey University, New Zealand - had already been appointed as a member of the Max Planck Society and External Scientific Member of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology in 2011. Since then he spent time in Plön every year to run his former research group on Experimental and Evolutionary Genetics.

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