Dipl.-Biol. Dr. David Ott
Research scientist and Lecturer

Research Group Animal Ecology and multitrophic interactions
Institute of Landscape Ecology

Heisenbergstraße 2
48149 Münster

Room: 537
Phone: +49 (0) 251 - 83 31 967
Fax: +49 (0) 251 - 83 38 338
E-Mail: david.ott [at] uni-muenster.de
Consultation hours: on appointment via E-Mail

  • Curriculum vitae

    since 10/2015 Research scientist & Lecturer in the Animal Ecology & Multitrophic Interactions group, Institute for Landscape Ecology, University of Münster
    09/2015 PhD (Dr. rer. nat.) with distinction, Faculty of Biology, University of Göttingen
    11/2014-09/2015 Research fellow, Postdoc in the project framework „BEFmate“–Biodiversity-Ecosystem Functioning across marine and terrestrial ecosystems, Institute of Zoology & Anthropology, University of Göttingen
    11/2014 Disputation of the thesis “Towards a unified allometric and stoichiometric perspective in ecology: Soil communities and decomposition in focus of the metabolic theory and the ecological stoichiometry, Faculty of Biology, University of Göttingen
    10/2010-10/2014 Research assistant & postgraduate studies in the subject Biodiversity and Ecology. Employed in the project platform „Biodiversity-Exploratories“ of the German Research Foundation (DFG), Institute of Zoology & Anthropology, University of Göttingen
    10/2009-09/2010 Research assistant, Institute of Zoology, University of Darmstadt
    09/2009 Diploma in Biology, major in Ecology, Faculty of Biology, University of Darmstadt
    10/2002 – 09/2009 Studies in Biology, University of Darmstadt
    08/2000- 06/2002 Apprenticeship as a cabinet maker/carpenter
  • Forschung & Projekte / Research interests & projects

    The projects during my PhD thesis were embedded in the framework of the Biodiversity Exploratories of the German Research Foundation (DFG).
    I conducted experiments in the laboratory and outdoor on the forest floor to scale from simple interactions of specific species to whole communities. Furthermore, with computer simulations I am aiming to unravel basal mechanisms and interactions in soil food webs. I am asking how does leaf litter diversity & stoichiometry affect the processing via the soil invertebrates? In more detail, how do species diversity, body size and leaf litter quality may alter the consumption rates of the detritivores? Accordingly, how does this interdependence scale up to other (higher) trophic levels? Detailed knowledge from the detritus-detritivore interactions will help to parameterize and extend dynamical bioenergetic population models.

    Specific projects

    • The functional response concept from predator-prey interactions was adapted and extended to the decomposer-litter interface. With this approach we were be able to quantify the decomposer feeding comparable to upper trophic level interactions. Further we revealed temperature and interference effects on the feeding behavior of indivduals.
    • In collaborative work with other PhD students a field sampling of plot communities and analyses of leaf litter characteristics (physical and chemical properties) was conducted. From this data we revealed the community structure of soil food webs and the density distribution of populations in relation to the basal litter stoichiometry.
    • A one-year lasting litter bag study on the forest sites of the project framework enabled the comparison of laboratory work, field community structure and computer simulations with natural leaf decay.

    Future prospects

    • In future work the experimental setup will be extended to a set of species combinations (decomposers*leaf litter) to achieve a broad range of the functional response parameters.
    • In follow-up projects we aim to make predictions for litter decomposition by dynamic food-web modelling with the knowledge of the soil food webs on the forest sites of the biodiversity exploratories. Furthermore we will track the energy fluxes throughout the whole food webs.

    After my Phd thesis I worked in the joint project by the University of Oldenburg and the Georg-August University of Göttingen entitled BEFmate , which addresses biodiversity-ecosystem function relationships across marine and terrestrial ecosystems employing meta-analyses, syntheses, ecological modeling and empirical experiments. The project is funded by the Ministry for Science and Culture of the state Lower Saxony (MWK Niedersachsen) and the Volkswagen Stiftung. Within this project framework I did research in the subproject B1 aiming to integrate models of biodiversity in terrestrial and marine ecosystem.

    Specific projects

    • In a first attempt, we tried to understand how the impact of disturbance alters B-EF relationships in multi-trophic communities. We used bioenergetics models to simulate how complex dynamics of populations of species of an artificially generated network (food-web) changed over time when exposed to disturbance events.
    • One subsequent project will focus on the underlying stoichiometry of consumers and resources in these complex communities.
    • Other planned follow-ups include the combination of powerful – in respect to their predictive capacity - theories (such as the Metabolic Theory of Ecology and the Dynamic Energy Breadth theory).

    # Now, in the working group Animal ecology & multitrophic interactions, these projects will be continued and extended. Moreover, the focus on the topics in the explained in the section research (Research ) is key.

    Embedded in the context of the Institute for Landscape Ecology (ILÖK) there are several excellent possibilities to collaborate in working-group-crossing projetcs, such as:

    • Detecting the importance of wave-induced disturbance patterns for model communities.
    • Mirroring and measuring in detail how climate change scenarios in microcosm-, mesocosm- and field experiments affect animal communities in the context to their environment.
    • Intensifying detailed research on ecological stoichiometry across invertebrate species to detect intra- & interspecific variation in relation to their resources with the laboratory facilities at the institute.
    • Coupling research conducted with vegetation ecology or landscape ecology questions to distribution patterns of animals in the same habitats.
    • However, the existing infrastructure of several institutions in Münster (e.g. the LWL-Museum of Natural History or the ornithological society (Dachverband Deutscher Avifaunisten e.V. ))and the research stations (Rieselfelder , NABU ) in the surrounding nature conservation reserves allow to address very applied and species specific questions. I strongly advocate to establish close collaboration with these facilities.

  • Memberships & Services

    Services in the Department of Geoscoiences, University of Münster

    • N.N.

    Memberships

    • Gesellschaft für Ökologie (GfÖ) / Ecological Society of Germany, Austria and Switzerland
    • International Biogeography Society (IBS)

    Reviewer for journals

    • Applied Entomology and Zoology
    • Oecologia
    • Oikos
    • Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences.
    • Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
    • Soil Biology and Biochemistry

  • Publications

    International publications (peer-reviewed)

    • Ott, D., Digel, C., Rall,B.C. , Maraun, M., Scheu, S. & Brose, U.: Unifying elemental stoichiometry and metabolic theory. Ecology Letters, 17(10): 1247-1256, doi: 10.1111/ele.12330, 2014.
    • Ott, D., Digel, C, Klarner, B., Maraun, M., Pollierer, M., Rall,B.C. , Scheu, S., Seelig G. & Brose, U.: Litter elemental stoichiometry as determinant of biomass densities of forest soil invertebrates. Oikos, 123(10): 1212-1223, doi: 10.1111/oik.01670, 2014.
    • Ehnes, R.B., Pollierer, M.M., Erdmann, G., Klarner, B., Eitzinger, B., Digel, C., Ott, D., Maraun, M., Scheu, S. & Brose, U.: Lack of energetic equivalence in forest soil invertebrates. Ecology 95, 527–537, 2014.
    • Ott, D., Rall, B.C. & Brose, U.: Climate change effects on macrofaunal litter decomposition: the interplay of temperature, body masses and stoichiometry. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences, 367, 2923–2934, 2014, 2012.
    • Rall, B.C., Kalinkat, G., Ott, D., Vucic-Pestic, O. & Brose, U. (2011): Taxonomic versus allometric constraints on non-linear interaction strengths. Oikos, 120, 483–492, 2011.

    Manuscripts in preparation

    • Jochum, M., Barnes, A.D., Ott, D., Lang, B., Klarner, B., Farajallah, A., Scheu, S. & Brose, U.: Decreasing stoichiometric resource quality drives compensatory feeding and consumer diversity loss across trophic levels. Ecology Letters - resubmitted.
    • Barnes, A.D., Weigelt, P., Jochum, M., Ott, D., Hodapp, D., Haneda, N.F. & Brose, U.: Spatial turnover in biodiversity and ecosystem functioning 1 across tropical and temperate ecosystems. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences. Special Issue - BEFmate-Project - submitted.
    • Guill, C., Feudel, U., Bearup, D., Blasius, B., Wiegand, K., Rall, B.C. & Ott, D.: The impact of disturbance on biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in multi-trophic communities. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences. Special Issue - BEFmate-Project - in preparation.
    • Ott D., Achler M., Rall, B.C. & Brose, U.: Horizontal and vertical diversity interactively drive ecosystem functioning. In preparation.
    • Digel, C., Ott, D., Grischkat, F. & Brose, U.: Neutral species distributions yield non-random food-webs. In preparation.

    PhD thesis

    • Ott, D.: Towards a unified allometric and stoichiometric perspective in ecology: Soil communities and decomposition in focus of the metabolic theory and the ecological stoichiometry Dissertation, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen (GAUG), Göttingen, Germany, 2015.

    Diploma thesis

    • Ott, D.: Examination of mechanisms of predator diversity on ecosystem functioning with biological control agents. Diploma Thesis, Technische Universität Darmstadt (TUD), Darmstadt, Germany, 2010.

    Conferences & Workshops

    • 09/2015 Guill, C., Feudel, U., Bearup, D., Blasius, B., Wiegand, K., Rall, B.C. & Ott, D.: The impact of disturbance on biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in multi- trophic communities. Gesellschaft für Ökologie (GfÖ), 45th Annual Meeting, University of Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany (talk).
    • 06/2015 Ott, D., Digel, C., Rall,B.C. , Maraun, M., Scheu, S. & Brose, U.: Unifying elemental stoichiometry and metabolic theory.)Conference on Biological Stoichiometry (CoBS) 2015, Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario, Canada (poster).
    • 01/2015 Ott, D., Digel, C., Rall,B.C. , Maraun, M., Scheu, S. & Brose, U.: Unifying elemental stoichiometry and metabolic theory. International Biogeography Society (IBS), 7th Biennial Conference of the International Biogeography Society (IBS), University of Bayreuth, Bayreuth, Germany (poster).
    • 02/2014 Ott, D.: Stoichiometry of food webs. Jena Experiment Aboveground-Belowground Network Workshop (invited talk).
    • 11/2013 sDiv workshop Stoichiometric constraints of biodiversity – functioning relationships (sTOICHFUN), German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv), Leipzig (attended by invitation).
    • 06/2013 Ott, D.: Tracks in the mist ... litter decomposition in the context of soil food webs. PhD course / Summer School on Functioning of Boreal Forest Ecosystems, Umea°, Sweden (talk).
    • 09/2012 Ott, D., Rall, B.C. & Brose, U.: Climate change effects on macrofaunal litter decomposition: the interplay of temperature, body masses and stoichiometry. Gesellschaft für Ökologie (GfÖ), 42th Annual Meeting, University of Lüneburg, Lüneburg, Germany (talk).
    • 11/2012 Conference on Biodiversity and Society / Tagung Biodiversität und Gesellschaft - Gesellschaftliche Dimensionen von Schutz und Nutzung biologischer Vielfalt, Göttingen, Germany (attended).
    • 09/2012 Ott, D., Rall, B.C. & Brose, U.: Climate change effects on macrofaunal litter decomposition: the interplay of temperature, body masses and stoichiometry. Tagung der Deutschen Bodenkundlichen Gesellschaft (DBG) Kommission III, Bodenbiologie und Bodenökologie, University of Hohenheim, Germany (talk).
    • 06/2012 Ott, D., Rall, B.C. & Brose, U.: Climate change effects on macrofaunal litter decomposition, Web of Life in a changing world, University of Montpellier, France (poster).
    • 03/2012 Multitrophic Interactions Workshop II, Göttingen, Germany (attended).
    • 02/2012 Ott, D., Spindler, K., Rall, B.C. & Brose, U.: Effects of leaf litter diversity and stoichiometry on macrofaunal litter processing. 9th Assembly of the Biodiversity Exploratories, Mainz, Germany (poster).
    • 09/2011 Ott, D., Spindler, K., Rall, B.C. & Brose, U.: Effects of leaf litter diversity and stoichiometry on macrofaunal litter processing. Gesellschaft für Ökologie (GfÖ), 41th Annual Meeting, University of Oldenburg, Germany (poster).
    • 04/2011 Sizemic Meeting Changing Climate, Physiological Adaptation, Ecosystem Resilience and Body Size Constraints, Hamburg, Germany
      (attended).
    • 09/2010 Ott D. & Brose U.: Examination of mechanisms of predator diversity on ecosystem functioning with biological control agents, Gesellschaft für Ökologie 40th Annual Meeting, Giessen, Germany (talk).
    • 09/2010 Ott D. & Brose U.: Classic system – new insights: Interaction strengths of aphid predators, British Ecological Society Annual Meeting, University of Leeds, UK (poster).
    • 03/2010 Multitrophic Interactions Workshop, Göttingen, Germany (attended).