The Biodiversity and Ecosystem Research Group is part of the Institute of Landscape Ecology (ILÖK) of the University of Münster. We study the structure, function and change of terrestrial ecosystems by using plants, vegetation and soil as integrative key features in landscape ecology. We offer a broad range of courses in vegetation science and physical geography that addresses Bachelor and Master students in landscape ecology as well as studens of other disciplines of geosciences. News regarding projects and publications can also be found on Twitter.
Dissertation Prize for Ramona Heim
Last Friday, our former colleague 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 Biogeosiences. 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.
Congratulations and Thanks
We take the awarding of the dissertation prize to Ramona Heim as an opportunity to thank her and Wieland for their work in our group since 2017. This includes such remarkable activities as the Amur Bird Project on migratory bird research in the Eastern Palaearctic, in whose annual field campaigns numerous students of landscape ecology were involved through research projects and theses, or the two expeditions with Russian and German students to the Western Siberian Forest Tundra, which led to three internationally highly regarded papers. The annual pre-Christmas meetings of the Amur Bird Project at the ILÖK in Münster since 2017 with more than 80 participants and the exchange with young Russian scientists promoted by Ramona and Wieland will certainly remain unforgettable. All these activities were crowned this year by further remarkable scientific publications, for example on the influence of fire on the niche differentiation of five sympatric bunting species on the Amur or on the influence of fire events on biodiversity and the carbon balance in the West Siberian forest tundra. We wish Ramona and Wieland all the best and much success at their new places of work in Switzerland and look forward to further collaboration.
Heim W et al. (2022) Anthropogenic fire patterns affect niche breadth and niche overlap in sympatric songbird species. Science of The Total Environment, 833, 155160 [doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2022.155160]
Heim RJ et al. (2022) Fire disturbance promotes biodiversity of plants, lichens and birds in the Siberian subarctic tundra. Global Change Biology, 28(3), 1048-1062 [doi: 10.1111/gcb.15963]
Heim RJ et al. (2022) Fire in lichen-rich subarctic tundra changes carbon and nitrogen cycling between ecosystem compartments but has minor effects on stocks. Biogeosciences, 19(10), 2729-2740 [doi: 10.5194/bg-19-2729-2022]
Topics for theses in the Biodiversity Exploratories 2023!
We need efficient restoration measures to halt the progressive degradation of European grassland biodiversity, functions and services due to land use intensification.
Land use extensification could be the simplest technique for grassland restoration, based on the idea that returning to the land use intensity of a reference grassland system is sufficient to restore species-rich plant communities.
The RecovFun project is testing a new holistic approach to determine the efficiency and mechanisms of grassland extensification as a restoration measure.
To this end, the RecovFUN project is investigating the mechanisms of extensification in the novel, multi-site experiments (REX, LUX) of the DFG Biodiversity Exploratories (BE) framework project.
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 lab, 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.
The Biodiversity and Ecosystem Research group welcomes Dr. Lena Neuenkamp as a new member! She is going to support the group as Assistant Professor in research and teaching. We are pleased to have her expertise in mycorrhizae, plant-soil interactions, grassland and restoration ecology, which perfectly complement and enrich our research in the AG.
New paper on grazing exclosure experiment
The results of a grazing exclusion experiment established in 2011 in calcareous grasslands of the Teutoburg Mountains have now been published in the renowned Journal of Applied Ecology: Rupprecht D, Jedrzejek B, Hölzel N (2022) Fallow deer foraging alone does not preserve the vegetation of traditionally sheep-grazed calcareous grasslands. Journal of Applied Ecology [doi: 10.1111/1365-2664.14253]
The 10-year study carried out with the support of IG Teuto is also the last successfully published chapter in Denise Rupprecht's dissertation and provides important insights into the current "rewilding" debate.
GiBBS - New Research Project on Biodiversity in Quarries of the Building Material Industry
Quarrying sites, such as limestone quarries or gravel pits, can represent important habitats for rare animal and plant species due to their special site conditions, both during operation and after restoration. However, the establishment of endangered species can lead to conflicts between nature conservation and industry.
This is the subject of the research project launched this year under the leadership of the Institute for Ecological Economy Research in cooperation with the Leibniz Institute for the Analysis of Biodiversity Change, the Institute for Landscape Ecology, NABU Germany and partners from the building materials industry. The overall objective of the project funded by the Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF) is to preserve and promote biodiversity in quarrying sites and to develop a holistic concept for biodiversity management in the industry.
At the official project kickoff in Berlin in September, all participants came together for a joint workshop to discuss how such a practical, industry-wide biodiversity management can be designed. From the Institute of Landscape Ecology Katharina Schwesig has been working as a research assistant in the GiBBS project since March 2022, focusing on the design and implementation of the monitoring measures in the extraction sites of the building materials industry.
From July 31st to August 11th, 22 students of landscape ecology had an excursion under guidance of Prof. Norbert Hölzel, Dr. Michael Meyer and Dr. Denise Rupprecht with exciting insights into flora and fauna of southeastcentral Europe. The 12-day excursion went through Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary and mainly focused on landscape, land use, restoration and nature conservation. Typical animal and plant species of to the east increasingly continental landscapes could be admired, among them many species that are rare and endangered in Germany. At good health and mood all participants came back to Münster with lots of good experiences and new insights.
Congratulations, Farewell and Welcome
On December 17th, 2021 Martin Freitag successfully defended his doctoral thesis entitled „Linking land use and plant community assembly to understand ecosystem processes in temperate grasslands”. With the completion of his dissertation his time at the Ilök ends. We congratulate him to his new employment at the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation and wish him all the best.
Denise Rupprecht successfully defended her doctoral thesis „Contributions to the restoration of grasslands in Central Europe“ on November 12th, 2021. After completion of her dissertation she starts her new occupation as postdoc in the Biodiversity and Ecosystem Research Group. The last paper of her dissertation has now been successfully published: Rupprecht D, Jedrzejek B, Hölzel N (2022) Fallow deer foraging alone does not preserve the vegetation of traditionally sheep‐grazed calcareous grasslands. Journal of Applied Ecology [doi: 10.1111/1365-2664.14253]
Michael Meyer joins the Biodiversity and Ecosystem Research Group after successful completion of his dissertation entitled “The impact of temporal crop diversification on soil constitution and arthropod community composition – patterns and processes in a long-term crop rotation experiment”. Since January 2022 he works as postdoc in the project BiCO2 where he focuses mainly on animal ecology aspects and synthesis. Welcome!
Congratulations and thanks on leaving
We congratulate Anna Lampei Bucharova and Christian Lampei on their new jobs in the Department of Biology at the University of Marburg and thank them for the very productive time together in Münster. Anna holds a W2 Professorship in Conservation Biology in Marburg since 01.06.2021 and Christian works now as a senior researcher in the same department. The contributions to a global study on the adaptation of white clover in urban areas, which was recently published in Science, date back to their time in Münster. In the article, the data collected by Anna and Christian in Münster are highlighted very prominently. Congratulations on this success! We wish you all the best at your new place of work and look forward to further collaboration.