Welcome to the Institute of Landscape Ecology!

Report on microplastic investigations in the Rieselfelder published in "Lokalzeit Münsterland"


The Lokalzeit Münsterland of the WDR reported on 17.7.23 about the microplastic investigations in the sewage fields of Münster ("Rieselfelder"). The team around Dr. Friederike Gabel (ILÖK) and Prof. Dr. Bodo Philipp (Institute for Molecular Microbiology and Biotechnology) investigated the occurrence and distribution of microplastics in the bird paradise of the Rieselfelder. This revealed a very clear but heterogeneous contamination by microplastics. What effects this has on the animals living there still requires further research.

The report can be found here (German only).

Jeannine-Böhmichen-Prize 2022 awarded

Übergabe des Jeannine-Böhmichen Prize Ceremony with the laureate Isabelle Walgarth and Prof. Dr. Tillmann Buttschardt
© FB14

The Jeannine Böhmichen Prize for 2022 was awarded during the Geo.Science.Day on 15.06.2023. The prize is awarded to a Bachelor's thesis that, among other things, presents complex issues from landscape ecology in a clear and concise manner, independently raises questions of high originality or topicality, presents multi-layered information in a clear and concise manner or demonstrates the creative scope of students.

Prof. Dr. Tillmann Buttschardt gave the laudation and presented the award certificate to Isabelle Walgath. She received the award for her Bachelor's thesis with the topic: The effect size of watercourse margins of different widths on the ecological condition of an agriculturally influenced watercourse.

We warmly congratulate the award winner!

New research paper from the ILÖK in PNAS

Experimental setup on the rooftop of the Institute for Landscape Ecology
© M. Conrady

Wild plants can change when propagated agriculturally:
A new study examines the rapid domestication of wild plants that are agriculturally propagated for restoration purposes.

Link to the WWU press release

Original publication


ILÖK Researchers win Citizen Science Award 2022

© AFO -Andreas Wessendorf

Urban gardening in the village and health promotion in the city district - these are the winning projects of the WWU Foundation's Citizen Science Competition 2022. They were now presented at the event "Mitdenken - Mitmachen - Mitforschen. An evening for civic engagement in science and research". The winners can look forward to a grant of 7,500 euros each.
After the successful student project "Monitoring of modern agroforestry ecosystems" in 2020, the CS Prize once again goes to researchers from the Institute of Landscape Ecology.
The artists' village Schöppingen is the focus of the winning project "Transformations in Münsterland". The community garden, kitchen, workshop, library, gallery and exhibition hall are understood as places of learning and knowledge for the citizens. What contribution can the village make as a socio-ecologically oriented actor for sustainable regional development? To this end, artists exchange ideas with students of landscape ecology and sociology on the significance of urban gardens for community building. Prof. Dr. Matthias Grundmann from the Institute of Sociology, Dr. Cornelia Steinhäuser from the Institute of Landscape Ecology and Julia Haarmann from the Foundation Künstlerdorf Schöppingen are leading the project.

Dissertation Prize for Ramona Heim

© Heim

Last Friday, Ramona Heim was awarded the WWU Dissertation Prize by the Rector of WWU, Prof Dr Johannes Wessels, for her dissertation on "Fire ecology in Eurasian wetland and tundra ecosystems". The awarded dissertation consists of five international peer-reviewed articles, the last two of which were published this year in the very renowned journals Global Change Biology and Biogeosciences. We congratulate Ramona on the award and wish her good luck in her new position as a postdoc in the Spatial Ecology & Remote Sensing group (Prof. Dr. Gabriela Schaepman-Strub) at the Department of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies at the University of Zurich in Switzerland.



Grazing and ecosystem functions in drylands

Global study published in Science
Prof. Norbert Hölzel’s team conducted a wide-ranging study in the Betpak-Dala in Central Kazakhstan on the influence of grazing on ecosystem services.
© AG Hölzel

In early summer 2017, the Biodiversity and Ecosystem Research Group organized an expedition to the Betpak Dala, a steppe-and semi-desert region of Central Kazakhstan, to collect data on the impact of grazing on biodiversity and 'ecosystem services' in drylands along a steep climatic gradient over 350 km from the northern desert to the dry steppe. The research is part of the BIODESERT study, coordinated by Fernando T. Maestre of the Dryland Ecology and Global Change Lab at the University of Alicante in Spain. In addition to Norbert Hölzel and Frederike Velbert from our institute, Salza Palpurina and Viktoria Wagner from Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic, as well as Tatyana Siderova (botanist) and Asel Esengalyeva (undergraduate student) from our partner organization ACBK (Association for the Protection of Biodiversity of Kazakhstan) were involved in the research.
The data from Kazakhstan have been incorporated into a global study published in the journal Science. Key findings were summarized in a short video.


Still from the explanatory video “Grazing and ecosystem service delivery in global drylands”.
© University of Alicante - Cirenia Sketches

Guide to peat moss propagation and establishment for restoration purposes published

As a result of two projects funded by the DBU, in cooperation with the Stiftung Lebensraum Moor and the company Gramoflor GmbH & Co KG, we are now pleased to present our compact guide to peat moss propagation and establishment for restoration purposes. It is now available for download, among other things, here (German). This guide includes in a practical, short and concise form our results and recommendations for the propagation and active establishment of peat mosses in peatland restoration sites. The guide offers concrete instructions for implementation and is also intended to provide orientation for further scientific work. An English language version will be published shortly.

Job offer

The Institute of Landscape Ecology (ILÖK) has a vacancy for the position of an
Electronics Technician* or Electrical Engineer* to be filled, full-time and permanently.

Further information can be found here: Job Offer

ILÖK Colloquium in WS 2022/2023

On behalf of the Institute of Landscape Ecology, we cordially invite you to the ILÖK Colloquium in the winter semester 2022/23! The lectures are open to the public and will take place on Tuesdays at 18.15 h (Geo1; Autitorium). Prof. Dr. Tillmann Buttschardt und Dr.'in Cornelia Steinhäuser will spotlight  the work of the recently deceased sociologist of knowledge and philosopher Bruno Latour from an interdisciplinary perspective. The contribution has the title: "In the critical zone or 'Gaia c'est le nom'" on 2022/11/08. The lecture will be held in German language. The event is creditable in MSc Lök, module M1.

Find the abstract, dial-in and further informations by browsing this website.

The Institute for Landscape Ecology welcomes Dr. Peter Müller
© P. Müller

Welcome Peter Müller

We welcome Dr. Peter Müller at the Institute for Landscape Ecology! We are very happy that he will establish his DFG funded Emmy Noether research group “Rhizosphere Biogeochemistry” at our institute. Müller gained international reputation for his research on carbon cycling in coastal wetlands. His key interest are interactions between plants and soil microbes in the rhizosphere and how these biotic interactions control the ecosystem carbon balance. He conducted research at the University of Hamburg, the GFZ Helmholtz Center Potsdam and the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center in Maryland (USA). At the Institute for Landscape Ecology, Müller plans on expanding his rhizosphere research to freshwater wetlands, including bogs and fens. We are looking forward to an exciting collaboration!

The  Biosphere-Atmosphere Interaction group has set up a new long-term eddy covariance measurement system in the Amtsvenn peatland in NRW. Using this system the group will quantify the exchange of greenhouse gases between the ecosystem and the atmosphere, to better understand the feedback from degraded peatlands to climate change.

© FB14 - Jonas Hurst

all the best - Ute Goerzen

The long-time secretary of the Institute of Landscape Ecology retired  on 30.06.2022. The Executive Director of the ILÖK, Prof. Dr. Klaus-Holger Knorr, paid tribute to Ute Goerzen and expressed his thanks to her on behalf of the Institute's staff. "We will miss you" said the Executive Director and "will have to get used to the time without you". The Institute wishes Ute Goerzen all the best for her future!


© FB14 - Jonas Hurst

Jeannine Böhmichen Prizes awarded

The Jeannine Böhmichen Prizes were awarded during the Geo.Science.Day on 30 June 2022. The prize is awarded to a Bachelor's thesis that, among other things, presents complex issues from landscape ecology in a clear and concise manner, independently raises questions of high originality or topicality, presents multi-layered information in a clear and concise manner or demonstrates the creative scope of students. As a rule, only one prize is awarded per academic year. This year, however, everything was different. Due to the pandemic, the last award ceremonies could not take place live. In addition, two prizes were awarded in 2021. The picture (from right to left) shows the prize winners from 2019 (Thomas Middelanis), 2020 (Nadine Jöllenbeck) and 2021 (Hanna Schlüter). Svenja Hirsch was unable to accept the award in person. She was represented by Till Wendtland, as she has taken up a position at the Berchtesgaden National Park and was unable to travel. We would like to congratulate the winners!

Jan Lehmann
Sod and seaweed
© k.-h. knorr

ReVersal – Interdisciplinary Research Project on the Effects of Climate Change on Peatlands and their Restoration started

The regulating functions of peatlands in the water and material cycles, their ecosystem functions and their role in the conservation of biodiversity have increasingly become the focus of scientific and public discussion, especially in the wake of climate change and the more frequent occurrence of droughts and heat waves. The working groups Ecohydrology, Remote Sensing and Spatial Modelling and Biodiversity and Ecosystem Research as well as working groups from the Netherlands, Poland and Austria will collaborate in this project to investigate raised bogs of the nemoral zone of Central Europe with regard to their historical development, current state and potential development. As the project progresses, the Animal Ecology and Biosphere-Atmosphere Interaction working groups will also join and strengthen the project with their expertise.

Photo Mana Gharun
© mana.gharun

Welcome Mana Gharun!

The Institute of Landscape Ecology warmly welcomes Prof. Dr. Mana Gharun, who took up her position as Junior Professor with TT for "Biosphere-Atmosphere Interaction" at the ILÖK on 1 March. We are looking forward to working with her and wish her a good start in Münster. Mana Gharun's work focuses on the alteration in exchange processes between ecosystems and the atmosphere in the course of current climate change. Extreme events, such as the dry years 2018 and 2019, are used as natural experiments to gain insights into future changes in the carbon and water balance of ecosystems.

New publications of the Institute of Landscape Ecology


Latest Publications

  • Freitag, M; Hölzel, N; Neuenkamp, L; Plas, F; Manning, P; Abrahão, A; Bergmann, J; Boeddinghaus, R; Bolliger, R; Hamer, U; Kandeler, E; Kleinebecker, T; Knorr, K-H; Marhan, S; Neyret, M; Prati, D; Le Provost, G; Saiz, H; Kleunen, M; Schäfer, D; Klaus, VH. . ‘Increasing plant species richness by seeding has marginal effects on ecosystem functioning in agricultural grasslands.’ Journal of Ecology early view, No. n/a. doi: https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2745.14154.
  • Emu-Felicitas, Ostermann-Miyashita; Nadja, Pernat; Hannes J., Konig;, Karoline, Hemminger; Nina, Gandl; Sonoko Dorothea, Bellingrath-Kimura; Sophia, Hibler; Christian, Kiffner. . ‘Attitudes of wildlife park visitors towards returning wildlife species: An analysis of patterns and correlates.’ Biological Conservation 278: 109878. doi: 10.1016/j.biocon.2022.109878.
  • Forner, Jan; Schaller, Carsten; Klemm Otto. . ‘Methane Emission from a Small Lake after Artificially Created Ebullition.’ Wetlands 43: 41. doi: 10.1007/s13157-023-01685-4.
  • Aftabtalab, Adeleh; Moreno-Jiménez, Eduardo; Henschel, Jonas; Nowak, Sascha; Schaller, Jörg; Knorr, Klaus-Holger. . ‘The Impact of Dissolved Organic Matter on Arsenic Mobilization from Goethite in the Presence of Silicic Acid and Phosphate under Reducing Conditions.’ Water 14: 2975. doi: 10.3390/w14192975.
  • Rommel E, Giese L, Fricke K, Kathöfer F, Heuner M, Mölter T, Deffert P, Asgari M, Näthe P, Dzunic F, Rock G, Bongartz J, Burkart A, Quick I, Schröder U, Baschek B. . ‘Very High-Resolution Imagery and Machine Learning for Detailed Mapping of Riparian Vegetation and Substrate Types.’ Remote Sensing 14, No. 4. doi: 10.3390/rs14040954.
  • Aftabtalab A, Rinklebe J, Shaheen SM, Niazi NK, Moreno-Jiménez E, Schaller J, Knorr K-H. . ‘Review on the interactions of arsenic, iron (oxy)(hydr)oxides, and dissolved organic matter in soils, sediments, and groundwater in a ternary system.’ Chemosphere 286, No. 2: 131790. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2021.131790.
  • Muskus AM, Miltner A, Hamer U, Nowak KM. . ‘Microbial community composition and glyphosate degraders of two soils under the influence of temperature, total organic carbon and pH.’ Environmental Pollution 297: 118790. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2022.118790.
  • Klemm O, Ahrens A, Arnswald M, Bethke R, Berger DF, Blankenhaus K, Blauth L, Breuer B, Buchholz S, Burek F, Ehrnsperger L, Funken S, Henninger E, Hohl J, Jöllenbeck N, Kirgasser P, Kuhls M, Paas B, Roters LA, Schaller C, Schlüter H. . ‘The Impact of Traffic and Meteorology on Urban Particle Mass and Particle Number Concentrations: Student-Led Studies Using Mobile Measurements before, during, and after the COVID-19 Pandemic Lockdowns.’ Atmosphere 13: 62. doi: 10.3390/atmos13010062.
  • Pernat, Nadja; Kampen, Helge; Zscheischler, Jana; Ostermann-Miyashita, Emu-Felicitas; Jeschke, Jonathan M.; Werner, Doreen. . ‘How media presence triggers participation in citizen science – the case of the mosquito monitoring project ‘Mückenatlas‘.PloS one 2022, No. : e0262850. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0262850.
  • Pernat, Nadja; August, Tom; Groom, Quentin; Memedemin, Daniyar; Reyserhofe, Lien. . An iNaturalist-Pl@ntNet-workflow to identify plant-pollinator interactions – a case study of Isodontia mexicana. BioHackrXiv. doi: 10.37044/osf.io/em3rk.
Foto Sascha Buchholz2
© Buchholz

We welcome our new colleague Sascha Buchholz

The Institute of Landscape Ecology warmly welcomes its new colleague Sascha Buchholz. He has formerly worked at the TU Berlin and is now leading the Animal Ecology Groupat the institute (the website is under construction) . He is working on urban ecology, invasion ecology, cultural landscapes, nature conservation, species protection, science-policy interfaces and many more. We are looking forward to fruitful collaboration.

© AG Klimatologie

Field Studies “CalmCity” concluded

The Climatology Research Group and the Micrometeorology Group of the University of Bayreuth concluded their intensive observation period of urban climate. The focus was on the analysis of weak wind situations in urban settings and their role in surface exchange processes. Further, the urban heat island of the city of Münster was intensively studied and its relation to the spatial distribution of the atmospheric aerosol concentrations. Further information... [de] (available in German language only)


Project „MikroPlaTaS“
© Uni MS.2021

Video series "Sustainability at the University of Münster": The research project "MikroPlaTaS “

A feature on the project "Microplastics in dams and reservoirs: sedimentation, distribution, effects (MikroPlaTaS)" has been published in the series Sustainability at the WWU (in German Language).
A new video informs about the project on which Dr. Friederike Gabel and Diana Michler-Kozma are the involved researchers at ILÖK. Numerous theses have also been written in this field of reserach.

The species-rich beech forests in the newly designated wilderness areas of the Egge Vorberge are already characterized by a very natural forest structure.
© Michale Elmer

BiCO2 - New project on the connection between biodiversity and carbon storage

Significant amounts of carbon are stored in Central European forests. In addition, forests and their soils are important for biological diversity, which in turn strengthens the adaptability and stability of the forest ecosystem. The aim of this project, which is carried out jointly by the Soil Ecology and Land Use Research group and the Biodiversity and Ecosystem Research Group with the NABU-Naturschutzstation Münsterland [de] and the Landesbetrieb Wald und Holz Nordrhein-Westfalen (NRW), is a synoptic view of the carbon balance and biodiversity - above and below ground. The studies planned for the next three years should help to better assess the influence of the intensity of use on the performance of forests in terms of biodiversity, carbon storage and climate stability.

Further information:
Project homepage [de]
Project homepage of the Biodiversity and Ecosystem Research Group

Scientist from the WWU are guests at Mariengymnasium Warendorf with the travelling exhibition
© Gabel, F.

Plastic pollution of the oceans: Travelling exhibition

Plastic pollution of the oceans has gained broad media coverage. However, also freshwater ecosystems are heavily polluted by microplastics with crucial impacts on aquatic organisms. The Institute of Landscape Ecology is a partner of the joined research project MikroPlaTaS (funded by the BMBF), which investigates the distribution and sedimentation of microplastics and the impacts on aquatic organisms. In the framework of this project, a travelling exhibition to the topic of microplastics was developed that can be hired by schools for free. The exhibition was first presented at the Mariengymnasium Warendorf (school's report [de]). If you are interested in the borrowing the exhibition, please contact Dr. Friederike Gabel.

Julia Binder and Thomas Middelanis look at a row of trees bordering a field
© Mideelanis_Binder

WWU-Citizen-Science-Contest: Winning project from the ILÖK

"Monitoring of modern agroforestry ecosystems - new cultivation systems as meeting points for agriculture, civil society and science" is the name of the research project that Julia Binder and Thomas Middelanis have designed. The two students of the “Master Landscape Ecology” want to develop and apply over several years an ecological catalogue of methods together with fellow students, the working groups of the ILÖK and above all interested volunteers, school classes, farmers or conservationist groups. The multi-perspective cooperation has the aim to examine ecological interactions and climatic advantages that the integration of trees in the arable context brings with it. The University of Münster supports the initiative within  the "WWU-Citizen-Science-Competition" with 7.500 € [de].

PD Dr. Ute Hamer
A Pürckhauer soil sampler with a soil core
© Hamer

Video education in soil science

Soil is a huge habitat hidden beneath our feet, especially during this online semester. The education videos of the Research Group Soil Ecology and Land Use [en] deliver a first insight into pedologic methods and into soils which frequently occurr not only in the Münsterland.

Looking back: 49th annual conference of the GfÖ in Münster


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From 9th to 13th September the ILÖK hosted the 49th annual conference of the Ecological Society of Germany, Austria and Switzerland (GfÖ) in the premises of the Fürstenberghaus. With 689 participants from 25 countries, the conference was one of the best attended GfÖ conferences in the past decades. In eight parallel sessions 380 talks and 180 posters were presented. According to the theme of the conference, many sessions dealt with topical environmental policy issues, such as urban air hygiene, climate change, the decline of insect populations and agricultural policy. The German-language sessions of the "Praktikertag" proved to be a demanded forum for exchange between researchers and practitioners of nature conservation and environmental protection. The conference ended with a conference dinner followed by a club night at the music club Jovel, excursions to the Emsaue and Rieselfelder Münster as well as to the ILÖK's restoration projects in limestone quarries of the Teutoburg Forest and peat extraction sites near Vechta.

25 years Institute of Landscape Ecology


© Dora Schilling
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This year, the ILÖK celebrates its 25th anniversary. On this occasion the institute had invited on 10.09.2019 in the context of the annual conference of the Ecological Society of Germany, Austria and Switzerland (GfÖ) in Münster to a small celebration, attended by more than 80 former and active institute members. Also present were the two founding fathers of the Institute, Prof. Dr. Karl-Friedrich Schreiber and Prof. Dr. Friedrich-Karl Holtmeier, whose untiring efforts over many years have largely led to the founding of the Institute. After greetings of the dean of the department Prof. Dr. Harald Strauss and of the former AStA chairman and ILÖK graduate Dr. Josef Tumbrinck (today sub-department head nature conservation in the BMU), the managing director of the institute Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Norbert Hölzel gave a brief overview of the development of the Institute since its foundation [PDF download] [non-accessible] [de] in 1994. The evening ended with a lively exchange and a friendly get-together of the guests.

The excursion group with bicycles in front of the Guandu Temple in Taipei
© privat

On climate excursion in Taiwan

From subtropical marshlands, methane fluxes and flood protection areas: 16 students of Geography and Landscape Ecology at the University of Münster set off for Taiwan to study the topics of climate, environmental meteorology, air hygiene and bio- and atmosphere. Click here for the blog [de]...