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  • Research in evolutionary paleoecology and biodiversity
  • Former Spokesperson of the Museum's Science Program Diversity Dynamics
  • Representation of GBIF-D Paleontology
  • Pool of Reviewers of the European Science Foundation
  • Editor of the journal Biogeosciences
  • Advisory Board of the Paleobiology Database


research interests

  • Reef development through the Phanerozoic
  • Diversity dynamics and evolutionary rates
  • Mass extinctions and reef crises

research projects

  • Controls on global biodiversity patterns and skeletal mineralization during the Cambrian radiation (DFG)
  • Evolutionary rates of zooxanthellate and azooxanthellate corals and their controlling factors (DFG)
  • Predicting Coral Reef Response to Climate Change: Past and Present Comparisons (DAAD)
  • Verbundvorhaben GBIF-D: Kompetenzzentren innovativer Datenmobilisierung – Teilprojekt 4: Digitale Forschungsinfrastruktur und Dienste für die Bereiche Entomologie und Paläontologie. BMBF
  • SYNTHESYS II, NA3: Extending content cover with ABCD (EU)
  • Controls of ecological stability of marine ecosystems over long temporal scales (Volkswagenstiftung)

Publications (Selection)

Hönisch, B., Ridgwell, A., Schmidt, D.N., Thomas, E., Gibbs, S.J., Sluijs, A., Zeebe, R., Kump, L., Martindale, R.C., Greene, S.E., Kiessling, W., Ries, J., Zachos, J.C., Royer, D.L., Barker, S., Jr., T.M.M., Moyer, R., Pelejero, C., Ziveri, P., Foster, G.L., and Williams, B., 2012. The geological record of ocean acidification. Science 335: 1058-1063.

Kiessling, W., Simpson, C., Beck, B., Mewis, H., and Pandolfi, J.M., 2012. Equatorial decline of reef corals during the last Pleistocene interglacial. PNAS 109(52): 21378-21383.

Burrows, M.T., Schoeman, D.S., Buckley, L.B., Moore, P., Poloczanska, E.S., Brander, K.M., Brown, C., Bruno, J.F., Duarte, C.M., Halpern, B.S., Holding, J., Kappel, C.V., Kiessling, W., O’Connor, M.I., Pandolfi, J.M., Parmesan, C., Schwing, F.B., Sydeman, W.J., and Richardson, A.J., 2011. The Pace of Shifting Climate in Marine and Terrestrial Ecosystems. Science 334: 652-655.

Simpson, C., Kiessling, W., Mewis, H., Baron-Szabo, R.C., and Müller, J., 2011. Evolutionary diversification of reef corals: a comparison of the molecular and fossil records. Evolution 65: 3274-3284.

Kiessling, W., and Simpson, C., 2011. On the potential for ocean acidification to be a general cause of ancient reef crises: Global Change Biology 17: 56-67.

Kiessling, W., Simpson, C., and Foote, M., 2010. Reefs as cradles of evolution and sources of biodiversity in the Phanerozoic. Science 327:196-198.