zum Inhalt springen

Biodiversity Genomics at the Dry Limit

The Atacama Desert is a unique and extreme ecosystem shaped by the limited availability of water. It is the driest non-polar desert on Earth. The question how this ecosystem has been evolving in its biological, as well as geomorphological and climatic characteristics is attracting scientists across disciplines from all over the world. The very old Atacama Desert might look uniformous and deserted from life at the first sight but research has shed light on its biological, geological and meteorological diversity. 

With focus on life in the desert, genomic diversity is the level of biological complexity fundamental for evolution and biodiversification. The knowledge of patterns of genomic diversity and mechanisms of their evolution is key to the understanding of evolutionary strategies that allow organisms to survive under extrem dry conditions.
This field school aims to bring together an international team of scientists across disciplines in order to consolidate biodiversity genomic research in the Atacama Desert, to learn from research that potentially can inform biodiversity genomic research and to identify open questions for future collaboration.

The team of the field school particularly links two large research initiatives: 

  • Universidad de Chile, Prof. Dr. Miguel Allende and his team from the Center of Genome Regulation, Santiago de Chile
  • University of Cologne, Prof. Dr. Ann-Marie Waldvogel and Philipp Schiffer with their teams and colleagues from the German Collaborative Research Center 1211 (DFG), Cologne Germany

As scientific community across all career stages, along with local citizens and communities, we follow this mission:

Excellent science emerges from collaboration involving all parties to access, share and interpret FAIR data.


When? 25.09.2023 - 29.09.2023

Where? San Pedro de Atacama, Chile


  • JProf. Dr. Ann-Marie Waldvogel, Ecological Genomics Group, Institute for Zoology, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany, a.waldvogel@uni-koeln.de, https://www.waldvogel-lab.com/
  • Dr. Philipp Schiffer, worm~lab, Institute for Zoology, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany, p.schiffer@uni-koeln.de, https://worm-lab.eu
  • Dr. Oleksandr Holovachov, Senior Curator, The Swedish Museum of Natural History,Stockholm, Sweden, oleksandr.holovachov@nrm.se
  • Dr. Esteban Acevedo-Trejos, Earth Surface Process Modelling, GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Potsdam, Germany, esteban.acevedo-trejos@gfz-potsdam.de
  • Prof. Dr. Miguel L Allende, Millennium Institute Center for Genome Regulation, Universidad de Chile, 100 Genomas Chile, www.zebrafish.cl