Professor Ludger Kappen is a terrestrial ecologist, a botanist and a lichenologist. That is why most of his lichenological work is embedded in his general research interest: ecology and ecophysiology of plants.
Ludger was born in 1935. He studied Biology in Freiburg and Göttingen. He achieved the promotion as a Dr rer.nat. at the University of Göttingen and he was granted his habilitation in 1974 at the University of Würzburg. After being a scientific assistant of Prof. Otto Lange and docent at this University, Kappen went to the University of Kiel in 1981 when he became a full Professor position. In Kiel he was permanent Director of the Botanic Institute and the Botanical Garden, and Chairman and Director of the Polar Institute.
Ludger can be considered one of the first who laid the basis for our modern understanding of functions and adaptations of lichens in their habitats. He began his academic career with an investigation of the tolerance to freezing, heat and desiccation stress in the sporophytes and gametophytes of European Polypodiaceae. Later he investigated the CO2 exchange in lichens and the influence of major environmental parameters. He always used the highest technical standards for his instrumentation and stimulated the interdisciplinary cooperation to address great deals in plant ecology. He contributed to the developments of automatic and portable instruments in order to carry out accurate measurements under extreme climatic conditions.
Hot and cold deserts, including Negev, Lapland and Antarctica have been the scenarios of his fieldwork. His papers on lichenology, more than the half of his whole production, received great attention from plant ecologists in general. His many reviews about lichen ecology, biodiversity and ecophysiology have became especially famous. Ludger Kappen represents on the highest level the good balance between research and teaching that all of us try to reach at the University.
Ludger Kappen and his team were most attractive to colleagues and lichenologists everywhere in the world. As many others I benefited from his hospitality for many years. We owe him the deepest gratitude for stimulating discussions, fair and fruitful cooperation, teaching and many kinds of help and support. We all are happy to see the Acharius Medal presented to him.
– Leopoldo Sancho, Madrid