The Department of Ecology was founded in 1993 and is part of the Institute of Environmental Sciences in Faculty 2 Environment and Natural Sciences at BTU.
Research at the Department focuses on the impact of anthropogenic (climate and land-use change) and natural disturbances (wildfires) on biodiversity, biotic interactions and ecosystem processes in natural, forest and agricultural ecosystems. Major research areas are the provision of ecosystem services, predator-prey interactions, litter decomposition by soil fauna and biodiversity conservation with a focus on terrestrial invertebrates.
Teaching at the Department focuses on Bachelor, Master and PhD courses in the international study program "Environmental and Resource Management" and the German language programs "Umweltingenieurwesen" and "Landnutzung und Wasserbewirtschaftung". The content of courses focuses on teaching basic knowledge in ecology and biology (ecology: ecosystems, biotic interactions & nature conservation; biology: soil biology, forensics & parasitology).
- Arvidsson F, Montes MS, Birkhofer K (accepted) Microhabitat conditions affect web-building spider communities and their prey in a temperate forest independent of effects of wildlife fencing on vegetation. Journal of Arachnology
- Hecker L, Wätzold F, Yang X, Birkhofer K (2022) Squeeze it or leave it? An ecological-economic assessment of the impact of mower conditioners on arthropod populations in grassland. Journal of Insect Conservation DOI 10.1007/s10841-022-00392-5
- Birkhofer K, Djoudi E-A, Schnerch B, Michalko R (2022) Climatic conditions and functional traits affect spider diets in agricultural and non-agricultural habitats worldwide. Ecography 3: e06090
- Hecker LP, Birkhofer K, Yang X, Querhammer L, Wätzold F (2022) Insektenverluste durch den Einsatz von Konditionierern bei der Behandlung von Mähgut – ökologische und ökonomische Aspekte [Insect losses due to the use of conditioners in the treatment of mowed material – Ecological and economic aspects]. Natur und Landschaft 97: 78-84.
- Michalko R, Birkhofer K, Pekár S (2021) Interaction between hunting strategy, habitat type and stratum drive intraguild predation and cannibalism. Oikos 3: e08662
- Damptey FG, Birkhofer K, Oliveras Menor I & de la Riva EG (2022) The functional structure of tropical plant communities and soil properties enhance ecosystem functioning and multifunctionality in different ecosystems in Ghana. Forests 13: 297
- Müller J,... Birkhofer K,..., Seibold S. (2022) A replicated study on the response of spider assemblages to regional and local processes. Ecological Monographs e1511
- Heitmann N, Glemnitz M, Birkhofer K, Müller MEH (2022) Unselective transport of phytopathogenic Fusarium fungi from litter and soil by ground-dwelling arthropods links semi-natural and agricultural habitats. Microorganisms 10, 335
- Sikorski J, Baumgartner V, Birkhofer K et al. (2022) The evolution of ecological diversity in Acidobacteria. Frontiers in Microbiology 13: 715637
- Potapov A, Beaulieu F, Birkhofer K et al. (2022) Feeding habits and multifunctional classification of soil-associated consumers from protists to vertebrates. Biological Reviews
- Meyer S, Kundel D, Birkhofer K, Fliessbach A, Scheu S. (2022) Trophic niche but not abundance of Collembola and Oribatida changes with drought and farming system. PeerJ 10:e12777
- Birkhofer K et al. (2021) Conventional agriculture and not drought alters relationships between soil biota and functions. Scientific Reports 11: 23975
- Tluste C, Birkhofer K (2021) Shells of the Roman snail are important microhabitats for soil invertebrates. Soil Organisms 93: 141-152
- Ferrante M, Möller D, Möller G, Menares E, Lubin Y, Segoli M (2021) Invertebrate and vertebrate predation rates in a hyperarid ecosystem following an oil spill Ecology and Evolution. 2021;00:1-8
- de la Riva EG, ... , Villar R.(2021). Root economics spectrum and construction costs in Mediterranean woody plants: the role of symbiotic associations and the environment. Journal of Ecology 109: 1873-1885.
- Michalko R, Birkhofer K, Pekár S (2021) Interaction between hunting strategy, habitat type and stratum drive intraguild predation and cannibalism. Oikos
- Fotang C, Bröring U, … Birkhofer K (2021) Environmental and anthropogenic effects on the nesting patterns of Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzees in Northwest Cameroon. American Journal of Primatology. DOI: 10.1002/ajp.23312
- Arvidsson F*, Feng L*, Smith HG, Birkhofer K (2021) Fallows conserve the taxonomic and functional diversity of soil-emerging carabid beetles and ground-active linyphiid spiders in agricultural landscapes. Insect Conservation & Diversity. DOI:10.1111/icad.12520 (*shared first authors)
- Preußer D, Bröring U, Fischer T, Juretzek T. (2021). Effects of antibiotics ceftriaxone and levofloxacin on the growth of Calliphora vomitoria L.(Diptera: Calliphoridae) and effects on the determination of the post mortem-interval. Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine, 102207.
- Zarzosa PS, ..., de la Riva EG, ..., Villar, R. (2021). Linking functional traits with tree growth and forest productivity in Quercus ilex forests along a climatic gradient. Science of The Total Environment, 786, 147468.
- Meyer S, Kundel D, Birkhofer K, Fleissbach A, Scheu S (2021) Soil microarthropods respond differently to simulated drought in organic and conventional farming systems. Ecology and Evolution 11: 10369-10380
- Kozjek K, …, Birkhofer K, Hedlund K (2021) Long-term agricultural management impacts arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi more than short-term experimental drought. Applied Soil Ecology 168: 104140
- Michalko R, Košulič O, Martinek P, Birkhofer K (2021) Disturbance by invasive pathogenic fungus alters arthropod predator – prey food webs in ash plantations. Journal of Animal Ecology. DOI: 0.1111/1365-2656.13537
- Shackelford N, ..., de la Riva EG, ..., Suding KL (2021). Drivers of seedling establishment success in dryland restoration efforts. Nature ecology & evolution, 1-8.
- Leimer S, Berner D, Birkhofer K, … Wilcke W (2021) Land-use intensity and biodiversity effects on infiltration rates and hydraulic conductivity of grassland soils in southern Germany. Ecohydrology e2301
- Le Provost G, …, Birkhofer K, …., Manning P (2021) Contrasting impacts of land-use intensification on above- and belowground diversity. Nature Communications 12, 3918
- Damptey FG, Garcia de La Riva E, Birkhofer K (2021) Trade-offs and synergies between food and fodder production and other ecosystem services in an actively restored forest in Ghana. Frontiers in Forests and Global Change 4: 630959.
- Phililips H, ..., Birkhofer K, ..., Eisnehauer N (2021) Global data on earthworm abundance, biomass, diversity and corresponding soil properties. Scientific Data 8:136
- Fotang C, Bröring U, …, Birkhofer K (2021) Human activity and forest fragmentation threaten populations of the Nigeria-Cameroon Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes ellioti) in Western Cameroon. International Journal of Primatology 42: 105-129
- Němec T, Líznarová E, Birkhofer K, Horsák M (2021) Stable isotope analysis as a method to investigate land-snail food partitioning: a case study from Central European floodplain forest. Journal of Zoology 313: 297-306
- Michalko, R, Birkhofer, K (2021) Habitat niches suggest that non-crop habitat types differ in quality as source habitats for Central European agrobiont spiders. Agriculture, Ecosystem and Environment 308: 107248
- Mathulwe LL, Jacobs K, Malan AP, Birkhofer K, Addison MF & Addison P (2021). Characterisation of Metarhizium majus (Hypocreales: Clavicipitaceae) isolated from the Western Cape Province, South Africa. PloS one 16: e0240955
- Paniw, M., de la Riva, E. G., & Lloret, F. (2021). Demographic traits improve predictions of spatiotemporal changes in community resilience to drought. Journal of Ecology. DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.13597
- Díaz, J. G., de la Riva, E., Funk, J. L., & Vilà, M. (2021). Functional segregation of resource-use strategies of native and invasive plants across Mediterranean biome communities. Biological Invasions 23: 253-266.