Dr Ulrike Bauer


Research Interests

  • Biomechanics and ecology of plants and plant-insect interactions
  • Function, development and evolution of biological materials and surfaces
  • Trapping mechanisms of carnivorous plants

2017 – present Royal Society University Research Fellow, School of Biological Science, University of Bristol, UK
2014 – 2016 Leverhulme Early Career Fellow, School of Biological Science, University of Bristol, UK
2010 – 2013 Henslow Research Fellow, Robinson College / Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge, UK
2006 – 2010 PhD student, Trinity College / Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, UK
2000 – 2006 Undergraduate (Diploma of Biology, with distinction), University of Würzburg / University of Düsseldorf, Germany
2022
U Bauer & S Poppinga. New insights and opportunities from taking a biomechanical perspective on plant ecology. Journal of Experimental Botany, erac007, in press.
2022
A-K Lenz, U Bauer & GD Ruxton. An ecological perspective on water shedding from leaves. Journal of Experimental Botany, erab479, https://doi.org/10.1093/jxb/erab479.
2021
U Bauer, UK Müller & S Poppinga. Complexity and diversity of motion amplification and control strategies in motile carnivorous plant traps. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 288: 20210771 http://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2021.0771
2021

D Labonte, A Robinson, U Bauer & W Federle. Disentangling the role of surface topography and intrinsic wettability in the prey capture mechanism of Nepenthes pitcher plants. Acta Biomaterialia 119: 225-233. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.actbio.2020.11.005.

2020 C Thorogood & U Bauer. Shedding light on photosynthesis in carnivorous plants. A commentary on: 'Nepenthes × ventrata photosynthesis under different nutrient applications. Annals of Botany 126: iv-v. https://doi.org/10.1093/aob/mcaa092
2020 U Bauer, UK Müller & S Poppinga. Mechanical ecology – taking biomechanics to the field. Integrative and Comparative Biology: icaa018. https://doi.org/10.1093/icb/icaa018
2020 I Karl & U Bauer. Inside the trap: biology and behaviour of the pitcher-dwelling crab spider, Misumenops nepenthicola. Plants People Planet: 2020;2: 290-93. https://doi.org/10.1002/ppp3.10104
2019 MR Golos, A-K Lenz, RO Moreno-Tolero, S. Davis & U Bauer. Pitcher plant plastination: preserving botanical specimens for education and display. The Journal of Plastination 31: 15-21. http://journal.plastination.org/archive/jp_vol.31.2/JP_vol.31.2_Dec19_pages15-21.pdf
2018 CJ Thorogood, U Bauer & SJ Hiscock. Convergent and divergent evolution in pitcher plant traps. New Phytologist 217: 1035-41. https://doi.org/10.1111/nph.14879
2018 U Bauer, R Jetter & S Poppinga. Non-motile traps. In: AM Ellison & L Adamec (eds). Carnivorous Plants – Physiology, Ecology and Evolution, p. 194-206. Oxford University Press. ISBN: 9780198779841.
2018 S Poppinga, U Bauer, T Speck & AG Volkov. Motile traps. In: AM Ellison & L Adamec (eds). Carnivorous Plants – Physiology, Ecology and Evolution, p. 180-93. Oxford University Press. ISBN: 9780198779841.
2018 D Darnowski, U Bauer, M Méndez, J Horner & BJ Płachno. Prey selection and specialization by carnivorous plants. In: AM Ellison & L Adamec (eds). Carnivorous Plants – Physiology, Ecology and Evolution, p. 285-93. Oxford University Press. ISBN: 9780198779841.
2018 JD Horner, BJ Płachno, U Bauer & B Di Giusto. Attraction of prey. In: AM Ellison & L Adamec (eds).Carnivorous Plants – Physiology, Ecology and Evolution, p. 155-66. Oxford University Press. ISBN: 9780198779841.
2016 U Bauer, K Rembold & TU Grafe. Carnivorous Nepenthes pitcher plants are a rich food source for a diverse vertebrate community. Journal of Natural History 50, 483-95. https://doi.org/10.1080/00222933.2015.1059963
2015 U Bauer, M Paulin, D Robert & G Sutton. Mechanism for rapid passive-dynamic prey capture in a pitcher plant. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 112, 13384-89. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1510060112
2015 C Collett, A Ardron, U Bauer, G Chapman, E Chaudan, B Hallmark, L Pratt, L Torres-Perez & DI Wilson. A portable extensional rheometer for measuring the viscoelasticity of pitcher plant and other sticky liquids in the field. Plant Methods 11: 16. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13007-015-0059-5
2015 U Bauer, W Federle, H Seidel, TU Grafe & CC Ioannou. How to catch more prey with less effective traps: explaining the evolution of temporarily inactive traps in carnivorous pitcher plants. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 282: 20142675. https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2014.2675
2013 U Bauer, M Scharmann, J Skepper & W Federle. ‘Insect aquaplaning’ on a superhydrophilic hairy surface: how Heliamphora nutans Benth. pitcher plants capture prey. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 280: 20122569. https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2012.2569
2012 U Bauer, B Di Giusto, J Skepper, TU Grafe & W Federle. With a flick of the lid: a novel trapping mechanism in Nepenthes gracilis pitcher plants. PLoS ONE 7: e38961. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0038951
2012 U Bauer, CJ Clemente, T Renner & W Federle. Form follows function: morphological diversification and alternative trapping strategies in carnivorous Nepenthes pitcher plants. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 25: 90-102. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1420-9101.2011.02406.x
2011 U Bauer, TU Grafe & W Federle. Evidence for alternative trapping strategies in two forms of the pitcher plant, Nepenthes rafflesiana. Journal of Experimental Botany 62: 3683-92. https://doi.org/10.1093/jxb/err082
2010 U Bauer. Mechanisms, ecology and evolution of prey capture by Nepenthes pitcher plants. PhD thesis, University of Cambridge, UK.
2010 TU Grafe, S Goutte, HH Ahmadsah, O Konopik, M Scharmann & U Bauer. Updated checklist of the amphibians of the Ulu Temburong National Park and Brunei Darussalam. Sciencia Bruneiana 11: 53-59.
2009 U Bauer, C Willmes & W Federle. Effect of pitcher age on trapping efficiency and natural prey capture in carnivorous Nepenthes rafflesiana plants. Annals of Botany 103: 1219-26. https://doi.org/10.1093/aob/mcp065
2009 CM Clarke, U Bauer, CC Lee, AA Tuen, K Rembold & JA Moran. Tree shrew lavatories – a novel nitrogen sequestration strategy in a tropical pitcher plant. Biology Letters 5: 632-35. https://doi.org/10.1098/rsbl.2009.0311
2009 U Bauer & W Federle. The insect-trapping rim of Nepenthes pitchers: surface structure and function. Plant Signaling & Behavior 4: 1019-23. https://doi.org/10.4161/psb.4.11.9664
2009 U Bauer & W Federle. The role of the peristome in the trapping process of Nepenthes. In: S McPherson. Pitcher Plants of the Old World, Vol. I, p. 72-77. Redfern Natural History Productions, Poole, UK. ISBN: 9780955891823.
2008 U Bauer, HF Bohn & W Federle. Harmless nectar source or deadly trap: Nepenthes pitchers are activated by rain, condensation and nectar. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 275: 259-65. https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2007.1402
2007 U Bauer, HF Bohn & W Federle. Biomechanics and ecology of prey capture in Nepenthes pitcher plants. In: CC Lee (ed). Proceedings from the Sarawak Nepenthes Summit 2007, Kuching (Malaysia), p. 48-59.

2020SICB Conference, Austin, TX (invited speaker): Functional surfaces for insect trapping in Asian Nepenthes pitcher plants
2019Structure and Function of Plant Waxes – From Biology to Technology, Bristol, UK (conference organiser): Functional surfaces in plant ecology
2018ICPS Conference, Santa Rosa, CA (invited speaker): Convergent and divergent evolution of pitcher traps
2018Botany, Rochester, MN (invited speaker): Functional surfaces for insect trapping in Asian Nepenthes pitcher plants
2018SEB Annual Meeting, Florence, Italy: Fine-tuning of epicuticular wax crystal structure to adjust trap surface slipperiness in a carnivorous pitcher plant
2017SEB Annual Meeting, Gothenburg, Sweden (invited session keynote): Slip, trip and trap: the biomechanics of pitcher traps and what we can learn from them
2016ICPS Conference, London, UK (invited speaker): The central role of rain in prey capture by Nepenthes pitcher traps
2016Ants and their biotic environment, Munich, Germany: The perfect ant trap: how carnivorous pitcher plants outsmart their prey
2016Royal Entomological Society Meeting, Bristol, UK: Friend or Foe? The Complicated Relationship between Insects and Carnivorous Pitcher Plants
2015SEB Annual Meeting, Prague, Czech Republic: Rapid, passive-dynamic trap movement in a carnivorous pitcher plant
2014GW4 Functional Materials Meeting, Bristol, UK: Springboards, water slides and sticky pools: functional materials and surfaces of carnivorous pitcher plants
2014SEB Annual Meeting, Manchester, UK: How to catch more prey with less effective traps: explaining the evolution of temporarily inactive traps in carnivorous pitcher plants
20142nd International Conference on Biological and Biomimetic Adhesives, Istanbul, Turkey: Where Adhesion Fails: Slippery Surfaces of Insect-Trapping Pitcher Plants
20142nd Bristol-Kyoto Symposium, Kyoto, Japan (invited talk): Where Adhesion Fails: Slippery Surfaces of Insect-Trapping Pitcher Plants
2013SEB Annual Meeting, Valencia, Spain: Where Adhesion Fails: Slippery Surfaces of Insect-Trapping Pitcher Plants
2012Euro Evo Devo, Lisbon, Portugal (invited talk): Wax or wetness? Alternative trapping strategies in carnivorous Nepenthes pitcher plants
2012SEB Annual Meeting, Salzburg, Austria: Form follows function: Diversification of trap morphology and trapping strategies in carnivorous Nepenthes pitcher plants
2010Trinity College Science Symposium, Cambridge, UK: Of water flumes, waxy walls and toilet bowls: Evolution of trapping strategies in Nepenthes pitcher plants (Best oral presentation award)
2008Zoology Graduate Symposium, Cambridge, UK: Harmless nectar source or deadly trap? Wetness-based activation of traps in carnivorous pitcher plants (Best oral presentation award)
2008Annual Meeting of the German Zoological Society (DZG), Jena, Germany: Harmless nectar source or deadly trap? Wetness-based activation of traps in carnivorous pitcher plants
2007Sarawak Nepenthes Summit, Kuching, Malaysia: Biomechanics and ecology of prey capture in Nepenthes pitcher plants

2021

Function, Evolution and Development of Carnivorous Pitcher Plant Traps

  • Cardiff University, UK (seminar)
2019

Biomechanics of Carnivorous Pitcher Plants: Surfaces and Biomaterials for Prey Capture

  • Bremen City University of Applied Sciences, Germany (seminar)
2019

Springboards, Water Slides and Sticky Pools: How Carnivorous Pitcher Plants Catch their Prey

  • Chester Zoo, UK (seminar)
  • Durham University, UK (seminar)
2019

Biomechanics and Ecology of Carnivorous Pitcher Plant Traps

  • University of Lincoln, UK (seminar)
2017

Biomechanics and Ecology of Prey Capture in Carnivorous Pitcher Plant Traps

  • University of Reading, UK (seminar)
2016/17

Springboards, Water Slides and Sticky Pools: How Carnivorous Pitcher Plants Catch their Food

  • ETH Zürich, Switzerland (seminar)
  • Friends of the Bristol Botanic Garden, UK (public lecture)
  • Seychelles Natural History Museum, Seychelles (public lecture)
2015

The slippery and the slimy: how pitcher plants trap their prey

  • Kew Gardens, UK (public lecture)
2015

Springboards, water slides and sticky pools: how carnivorous pitcher plants catch their food

  • University of Greifswald, Germany (seminar)
  • Friends of the Oxford Botanical Garden, UK (public lecture)
2014

Indonesia’s Wild East: from Sulawesi to Papua in Wallace’s footsteps

  • Brunei Nature Society, Brunei Darussalam (public lecture)
  • Panaga Natural History Society, Brunei Darussalam (public lecture)
2014

Where Adhesion Fails: Slippery Surfaces of Insect-Trapping Pitcher Plants

  • University of Bristol, UK (seminar)
2013

Sumboi-Sumboi: Charismatic Pitcher Plants of Brunei Darussalam

  • 1st Brunei Nature Festival, Brunei Darussalam (public lecture)
2013

Pasir Putih: Introducing the Biodiversity of the Tutong White Sands

  • 1st Brunei Nature Festival, Brunei Darussalam (public lecture)
2012/13

Turning the tables in plant-animal interactions: the tricks and traps of insect-eating pitcher plants

  • Cambridge Philosophical Society, UK (public lecture)
  • University of Bristol, UK (seminar)
2011/12

Of water flumes, waxy walls and toilet bowls: Trapping strategies of carnivorous pitcher plants

  • Jepson Herbarium, Berkeley, CA (seminar)
  • Universiti Brunei Darussalam (seminar)
  • Panaga Natural History Society, Brunei Darussalam (public lecture)
2011

Von Kloschüsseln und Wasserrutschen: ungewöhnliche Beutefangstrategien bei tropischen Kannenpflanzen

  • Nees Institute for Biodiversity of Plants, Germany (seminar)
2010

Of water flumes, waxy walls and toilet bowls: Evolution of trapping strategies in Nepenthes pitcher plants

  • Wolfson Science Society, Cambridge, UK (public lecture)
  • University of Cambridge, UK (seminar)
2009

Plant-insect interactions: Pitcher plants as food source, habitat and deadly predators of insects

  • Amateur Entomological Society, Cambridge, UK (public lecture)
2009

A journey to the pitcher plants of Sarawak

  • Panaga Natural History Society, Brunei Darussalam (public lecture)
2008

Harmless nectar source or deadly trap? Wetness-based activation of traps in carnivorous pitcher plants

  • Trinity College Cambridge, UK (seminar)
2006

Biomechanics of insect-plant interactions: Nepenthes pitcher traps and skilful circumventers (with Holger Bohn)

  • Brunei Nature Society, Brunei Darussalam (public lecture)
  • Panaga Natural History Society, Brunei Darussalam (public lecture)
2021
Royal Society Enhanced Research Expenses Fund (£ 94,999.84)
2021
HFSP Young Investigator Grant (Co-I) (US$ 365,000.00)
2021
BCAI Project Grant (£ 21,201.06)
2021 JXB / BES / New Phytologist Trust conference session sponsorship                    (£ 4,500.00)
2019
BCAI Conference Fund (£ 1,486.80)
2018 Royal Society Research Grant for Research Fellows (£ 151,155.40)
2017 Royal Society Research Fellows Enhancement Award (£ 108,748.00)
2017 Royal Society University Research Fellowship (£ 530,572.45)
2016 Royal Society Research Grant (£ 14,614.80)
2015

Lady Emily Smyth Agricultural Research Station Pump-priming Fund              (£ 15,000.00)

2015 Category Winner Evolutionary Biology, Royal Society Publishing Photography Competition
2015 Biomechanics Section Talk Prize (runner-up), SEB Annual Meeting, Prague
2014 Rank Prize Funds New Investigator Award (£ 20,000.00)
2013 Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship (£ 87,000.00)
2011 Royal Society International Travel Grant (£ 3,200.00)
2010 Henslow Research Fellowship of the Cambridge Philosophical Society           (£ 62,502.00)
2010 Student Poster Prize (runner-up), ATBC Conference, Bali
2008 Best Talk, Zoology Graduate Symposium, University of Cambridge
2006 Trinity College Cambridge External Research Scholarship
2005 DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) Short Term Studentship for Final Projects (€ 2,675.00)
2019 "The tricks and traps of insect-eating pitcher plants" – interactive street science session as part of the Bristol Soapbox Science event
2019 "The tricks and traps of insect-eating pitcher plants" – booth at the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition Discovery Hub late opening session in London
2019 "The biomechanics of plant-insect interactions" - exhibit at the Cambridge University Library for DISCOVERY – 200 years of the Cambridge Philosophical Society
2018 "Insects and pitcher plants – a sticky situation or a slippery slope?" - pub(lic) talk at the Good Chemistry Brewery during the Bristol Pint of Science event
2017-2019 "How pitcher plants trap prey" - guest teaching session with year 4 primary school children at Crossways Junior School, Bristol
2016 "From juicy critters to tasty poop: the dinner habits of carnivorous pitcher plants" - interactive educational session for families with children (age 5+) at the Kew Science Festival in Kew Gardens, London
2015 "Mmmmmm Food" - booth about plant-insect interactions at the Bristol Festival of Nature
2015 "How working part-time makes pitcher plants more effective ant killers" – popular science article on The Conversation
2015 TV interview for BBC Points West
2015 Interview for the Canadian CBC science radio show Quirks & Quarks with Bob McDonald
2014 Webinar on carnivorous plants with year 5 school children from Yeomoor Primary School (Somerset)
2013 "Sumboi-Sumboi: charismatic pitcher plants of Brunei Darussalam" and " Pasir Putih: introducing the biodiversity of the Tutong White Sands" – public lectures at the 1st Brunei Nature Festival in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei
2012 TV interview for ITV East Anglia News
2012 Scientific advisor for the SE Asian Nepenthes Study & Research Foundation (SEANSRF) which promotes education, research and nature conservation in Thailand
2010 Contribution to the educational EU film project Nanoyou
2010-present Foundation and administration of a facebook group promoting nature conservation in Brunei
2007 Interview for the BBC Radio 4 science radio show Leading Edge
2006-2017 Botanical lay excursions to pitcher plant sites in Brunei Darussalam for Brunei Nature Society and Panaga Natural History Society
  • Supervision of PhD, MSci/MRes and undergraduate project students, including visiting students from Germany and France, during field- and lab-based projects
  • Development and delivery of undergraduate lectures on plant-insect interactions at the University of Bristol, UK
  • Development and delivery of a half-day undergraduate lab on plant-insect interactions at the University of Bristol, UK
  • Delivery of a half-day undergraduate lab on insect biology at the University of Cambrige, UK
  • Setting and marking of exam questions
  • Thesis examinations and vivas (Phd, Masters)
  • Annual progress monitoring for the University of Bristol, UK
  • Admissions interviews for undergraduate applicants at Robinson College Cambridge, UK
  • Small group tutorials ('supervisions') and lab demonstrations for NatSci undergraduates at the University of Cambridge, UK
  • Sports coaching: rowing, strength & conditioning, and fitness classes

2022-2024
Oona Lessware, PhD (University of Bristol): Developmental biology of superhydrophilic, directional, anti-adhesive plant surfaces
2021-2022
Janine Drube, Erasmus exchange student (Bremen City University of Applied Sciences, Germany): Design and proof of concept of a hail simulator for plant biomechanics research
2020-2021
Veronika Weis, visiting student (Bremen City University of Applied Sciences, Germany): 3D morphometrics of Nepenthes gracilis pitcher traps
2020-2021 Oona Lessware, MRes (University of Bristol): Developmental biology of superhydrophilic, directional, anti-adhesive plant surfaces
2019-2020 George Hale, MSci (University of Bristol): Investigating the relationship between morphology and drop impact behaviour in dicotyledonous leaves
2018-2023 Anne-Kristin Lenz, PhD (University of Bristol): Adaptations of plant leaves for avoiding, dissipating or exploiting impact energy
2018-2023 Michal R. Golos, PhD (University of Bristol): The effect of plant surface micro-topography on wetting, surface contamination, and insect adhesion and locomotion
2015-2016 Hannah Berg, MSci (University of Bristol): The function of rain-driven leaf vibrations for prey capture and herbivore defence
2015 Emily Wood & Sid Dougan, final year Biology BSc (University of Bristol): Quantification of nectar production by Nepenthes pitchers and nectar intake by foraging Camponotus ants
2014 Marion Paulin, training intern (École Nationale Supérieure d’Agronomie de Toulouse, France): Rain-driven vibration of the N. gracilis pitcher lid
2012 Michaël Sauvagnat, MRes (University of French Guyana, France): Attraction and recruitment of ants to pitcher plants (field project)
2008 Hannes Seidel, final year Biology BSc (University of Würzburg, Germany): Implications of intermittent trap activation for prey capture by Nepenthes pitcher plants (field project)
2007 Christoph Willmes, final year Biology BSc (University of Würzburg, Germany): Ontogeny of Nepenthes pitchers and implications for prey capture (field project)
2007 Ingolf Karl, final year Biology BSc (University of Würzburg, Germany):Behaviour and ecology of the pitcher plant inhabiting crab spider, Misumenops nepenthicola (field project)
2007 Tilo Weber, final year Biology BSc (University of Würzburg, Germany): Wetness-based trap activation in Nepenthes pitcher plants: implications for ant recruitment (field project)

 

1996-2000Horticulturist at the Botanic Garden of the City of Solingen, Germany
  • German (native)
  • English (fluent)
  • French (conversant)
  • Malay (conversant)
  • Rock climbing, slacklining, running and hiking
  • Nature photography and birdwatching
  • Crafting and building stuff
  • Gardening
  • Cooking