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apl. Prof. Guntram Weithoff

apl. Prof. Dr. Guntram Weithoff


Campus Botanischer Garten
University of Potsdam
Ecology and Ecosystem Modelling
Maulbeerallee 2, building 2, room 3.14
14469 Potsdam

Research interests

  1. Biological Invasions
    I am interested in the underlying mechanisms for the invasion success of cyanobacteria in phytoplankton communities. Therefore, we apply laboratory microcosm experiments to investigate under different scenarios, e.g. predation or competition dominated systems, the role of the genetic identity and genetic composition on the invasion success of the invasive cyanobacterium Cylindrospermopsis raciborskii.
  2. Meta-Communities, dispersal and local adaptation
    The main focus lies in the distribution of zooplankton on a local (county) and regional (Europe) scale. We investigate the dispersal, local adaptation and genetic structure of populations mainly rotifers and cladocerans. To achieve our goals, we combine field work with laboratory studies and molecular genetics.  
  3. Functional diversity of phytoplankton
    Using trait-based approaches, I analyze phytoplankton long-term data to reveal the underlying pattern in functional dynamics.
  4. Plankton in acidic lakes
    I study plankton communities in extremely acidic mining lakes (pH < 3), their ability to cope with these extreme conditions and the potential for local adaptation.



Individual based ecology


Associated with:




apl. Prof. Guntram Weithoff

apl. Prof. Dr. Guntram Weithoff


Campus Botanischer Garten
University of Potsdam
Ecology and Ecosystem Modelling
Maulbeerallee 2, building 2, room 3.14
14469 Potsdam

Scientific career

2020                    apl. professorship in Aquatic Ecology

2007                     Habilitation at the University of Potsdam
                               (venia legendi in: Ecology and Limnology)

since 2000           Academic staff at the University of Potsdam

1999                      Post-doc at the University of Turku, Finland

1998                      Dissertation about seasonal dynamic of phytoplankton at the Institute for Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB)
                                and Humboldt University in Berlin

1997                      Researcher (PhD-student) at the IGB

1994-1996           Dissertation grant from the German Science Foundation

1993                      Diploma at the Free University Berlin and at the IGB about cyanobakteria-rotifer interactions


    Parry, V., Kiemel, K., Pawlak, J., Eccard, J., Tiedemann, R. & Weithoff, G. (2023) Drivers of zooplankton dispersal in a pond metacommunity. Hydrobiologia https://doi.org/10.1007/s10750-023-05232-4

    Kiemel, K., Gurke, M., Paraskevopoulou, S., Havenstein, K., Weithoff, G. & Tiedemann, R. (2022) Variation in heat shock protein 40 kDa relates to divergence in thermotolerance among cryptic rotifer species. Scientific Reports, 12:22626. open access here

    Parry, V, Schlägel, UE, Tiedemann, R & Weithoff G (2022) Behavioural responses of defended and undefended prey to their predator – a story from rotifers. Biology11:1217 Open Access here.

    Kiemel, K., Weithoff, G. & Tiedemann, R. (2022) DNA metabarcoding reveals impact of local recruitment, dispersal, and hydroperiod on assembly of a zooplankton metacommunity. Molecular EcologyOpen Access here.

    Pawlak, J., Noetzel, D.C., Drago, C. & Weithoff, G. (2022) Assessing the toxicity of polystyrene beads and silica particles on the microconsumer Brachionus calyciflorus at different time scales. Frontiers in Environmental ScienceOpen Acess here.

    Weithoff, G. & Bell, E.M. (2022) Complex trophic interactions in an acidophilic microbial community. Microorganisms, 10:130. Open access here

    Kiemel, K., De Cahsan, B., Paraskevopoulou, S., Weithoff, G., Tiedemann, R. (2022) Mitochondrial genomes of the freshwater monogonont rotifer Brachionus fernandoi and of two additional B. calyciflorus sensu stricto lineages from Germany and the USA (Rotifera, Brachionidae). Mitochondrial DNA Part B.7:4  Open Access here

    Drago, C. & Weithoff, G. (2021) Variable fitness response of two rotifer species exposed to microplastics particles: the role of food quantity and quality. Toxics, 9. Open Access here

    Drago, C., Pawlak, J. & Weithoff, G. (2020) Biogenic aggregation of small microplastics alters their ingestion by a common freshwater micro-invertebrate. Frontiers in Environmental Science. 8: 574274. Open Access here

    Paraskevopoulou, S., Dennis, A., Weithoff, G. & Tiedemann, R. (2020) Temperature-dependent life history and transcriptomic responses in heat-tolerant vs heat-sensitive Brachionus rotifers. Scientific Reports 10:13281. Open access here

    Bolius, S., Morling, K., Wiedner, C. & Weithoff, G. (2020) Genetic identity and herbivory drive the invasion of a common aquatic microbial invader. Frontiers in MicrobiologyOpen access here.

    Schlägel, U., Grimm, V., Blaum, N., Colangeli, P., 25 other authorsWeithoff, G. & Jeltsch, F. (2020) Movement-mediated community assembly and coexistence. Biological Reviews, 95: 1073-1095. doi:10.1111/brv.12600. Open Access here

    Blasius, B., Rudolph, L., Weithoff, G., Gaedke, U. & Fussmann (2020)   Long-term cyclic persistence in an experimental predator-prey system. Nature, 577:226-230. doi  10.1038/s41586-019-1857-0

    Paraskevopoulou, S., Dennis, A., Weithoff, G., Hartmann, S. & Tiedemann, R. (2019) Within species expressed genetic variability and gene expression response to different temperatures in the rotifer Brachionus calyciflorus sensu strictu. PLoSOne 14(9): e0223134 ONLINE

    Heinze, J., Simons, N.K., Seibold, S., Wacker, A., Weithoff, G., Gossner, M.M., Prati, D.,  Bezemer, M. & Joshi, J. (2019) The relative importance of plant-soil feedbacks for plant-species performance increases with decreasing intensity of herbivory. Oecologia 190: 651-664.

    Bolius, S., Wiedner, C. & Weithoff, G. (2019) Low invasion success of an invasive cyanobacterium in a chlorophyte dominated lake. Scientific Reports, 9:8297. Open access here

    Weithoff, G., Neumann, C., Seiferth, J. & Weisse, T. (2019) Living on the edge - reproduction, dispersal potential, maternal effects and local adaptations in aquatic, acidophilic invertebrates. Aquatic Sciences, 81:40 doi: 10.1007/s00027-019-0638-z.

    Weithoff, G. & Beisner, B.E. (2019) Measures and approaches in trait-based phytoplankton community ecology - from freshwater to marine ecosystems. Frontiers in Marine Science. doi: 10.3389/fmars.2019.00040. Open access here

    Rosenbaum, B., Raatz, M., Fussmann, G.F., Weithoff, G. & Gaedke, U. (2019) Estimating Parameters from multiple time series of Population dynamics using Bayesian inference. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution. doi: 10.3389/fevo.2018.00234. Open acess here

    Colangeli, P., Schlägel, U., Obertegger, U., Petermann, J. Tiedemann, R. & Weithoff, G. (2019) Negative phototactic response to uvr in three cosmopolitan rotifers: a video analysis Approach. Hydrobiologia, 844: 43-54. doi.org/10.1007/s10750-018-3801-y

    Paraskevopoulou, S., Tiedemann, R. & Weithoff, G. (2018) Differential Response to heat-stress among evolutionary lineages of an aquatic invertebrate species complex. Biology Letters, 14 http://doi.org/10.1098.rsbl.2018.0498

    Bolius, S., Wiedner, C. & Weithoff, G. (2017) High local trait variability of a globally invasive cyanobacterium. Freshwater Biology 62: 1879-1890.  http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/fwb.13028/full

    Weithoff, G., Taube, A. & Bolius, S. (2017) The Invasion success of the cyanobacterium Cylindrospermopsis raciborskii in experimental mesocosms: genetic identity, grazing loss, competition and biotic resistance. Aquatic Invasions, 12: 333-341. open access here

    Santana, L.M., Weithoff, G. & Ferragut, C. (2017) Seasonal and spatial functional shifts in phytoplankton communities of five tropical reservoirs. Aquatic Ecology, 51: 531-543. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10452-017-9634-3.

    Weithoff, G. & U. Gaedke (2017) Mean functional traits of lake phytoplankton reflect seasonal and inter-annual changes in nutrients, climate and herbivory. Journal of Plankton Research, 39: 509-517.

    Lischke, B., Weithoff, G., Wickham, S.A., Attermeyer, K., Grossart, H.-P., Scharnweber, K., Hilt, S. & Gaedke, U. (2016) Large biomass of small Feeders: Ciliates may dominate herbivory in eutrophic lakes. Journal of Plankton Research, 38: 2-15. Open access here.

    Seifert, L.I., Weithoff, G. & Gaedke, U. (2015) Extreme heat changes post-heat wave community reassembly. Ecology & Evolution. DOI - 10.1002/ece3.1490. Open Access here.

    Seifert, L.I., Weithoff, G., Gaedke, U. & Vos, G. (2015) Warming-induced changes in predation, extinction and invasion in an ectotherm food web. Oecologia, 178:485-496. doi:10.​1007/​s00442-014-3211-4

    Massie T.M., Weithoff, G., Kuckländer, N., Gaedke, U. & Blasius, B. (2015) Enhanced Moran effect by spatial variation in environmental autocorrelation. Nature Communicationsdoi:10.1038/ncomms6993.

    Weithoff, G., Rocha, M.R. & Gaedke, U. (2015) Comparing seasonal dynamics of functional and taxonomic diversity reveals the driving forces underlying phytoplankton community structure. Freshwater Biologydoi:10.1111./fwb.12527.

    Seifert, L.I., deCastro, F., Marquart, A., Gaedke, U., Weithoff, G. & Vos, M. (2014) Heated Relations - temperature-mediated shifts in consumption across trophic levels. PLoS one 9: e95046. Open access here:

    Massie, T.M., Ryabov, A., Blasius, B., Weithoff, G. & Gaedke, U. (2013) Complex transient dynamics of stage-tructured populations in response to environmental changes. The American Naturalist, 182:103-119.

    Weisse, T., Laufenstein, N. & Weithoff, G. (2013) Multiple environmental stressors confine the ecological niche of the rotifer Cephalodella acidophilaFreshwater Biology, DOI: 10.1111/fwb.12104. Open Access here:

    Spijkerman, E., Wacker, A., Weithoff, G. & Leya, T. (2012) Elemental and fatty acid composition of snow algae in Arctic habitats. Frontiers in Microbiology 3: art. 380. Open access here:

    Weisse, T., Moser, M., Scheffel, U., Stadler, P., Berendonk, T., Weithoff, G. & Berger, H. (2013) Systematics and species-specific response to pH of Oxytricha acidotolerans sp. nov. Urosomoida sp. (Ciliophora, Hypotricha) from acidic mining lakes. European Journal of Protistology 49:255-271. Open access here:

    Weithoff, G., Spijkerman, E., Kamjunke, N. & Tittel, J. (2012) Trophic Interactions and Energy Flow. In: Acidic Pit Lakes - the legacy of coal and metal surface mines. Eds. W. Geller, M. Schulze, R. Kleinmann & C. Wolkersdorfer, Springer Series Mining and Environment. Springer. pp.115-129

    Spijkerman, E. & Weithoff, G. (2012) Acidic Environments. In: Life at Extremes: Environments, Organisms and Strategies for Survival. Ed. Elanor Bell. CAB International. pp. 364-378.

    Weisse, T., Berendonk, T., Kamjunke, N., Moser, M., Scheffel, U., Stadler, P. & Weithoff, G. (2011) Significant habitat effects influence protist fitness: evidence for local adaptation from acidic mining lakes. Ecosphere 2: art. 134. Open access here:

    Jersabek, C., Weithoff, G. & Weisse, T. (2011) Cephalodella acidophila n. sp. (Monogononta, Notommatidae), a new rotifer species from highly acidic mining lakes. Zootaxa 2939:50-58.

    Hartwich, M., Wacker, A. & Weithoff, G. (2010) Changes in competitive abilities of rotifers feeding on mixotrophic flagellates. Journal of Plankton Research, 32: 1727-1731. Open access here:

    Massie, T., Blasius, B., Weithoff, G., Gaedke, U. & Fussmann, G. (2010) Cycles, phase synchronization and entrainment in single-species phytoplankton populations. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA. 107: 4236-4241. Open access here:

    Sperfeld, E., Schmidtke, A., Gaedke, U. & Weithoff, G. (2010) Productivity, herbivory and species traits rather than diversity influence the invasibility of experimental phytoplankton communities. Oecologia, 163: 997-1010.

    Weithoff, G., Moser, M., Kamjunke, N., Gaedke, U. & Weisse, T. (2010) Lake morphology and wind exposure may shape the plankton community structure in acidic mining lakes. Limnologica 40: 161-166.

    Schmidtke, A., Gaedke, U. & Weithoff, G. (2010) A mechanistic basis for underyielding in phytoplankton communities. Ecology 91: 212-221.

    Wacker, A & Weithoff, G. (2009) Carbon assimilation mode in mixotrophs and the fatty acid composition of their consumers – three rotifers. Freshwater Biology 54: 2189-2199.

    Bell, E.M. & Weithoff, G. (2008) Spring and early summer recruitment of Heliozoa, rhizopods and rotifers from the sediment of an acidic lake. Lakes & Reservoirs: Research and Management 13: 105-115.

    Weithoff, G. & Wacker, A. (2007) The mode of nutrition of mixotrophic flagellates determines their food quality for their consumers. Functional Ecology 21: 1092-1098.

    Boechat, I., Weithoff, G., Krüger, A., Gücker, B. & Adrian, R. (2007) A biochemical explanation for the success of mixotrophy in the flagellate Ochromonas sp. Limnology & Oceanography 52:1624-1632.

    Weithoff, G. (2007) Dietary restriction in two rotifer species – the effect of the length of food deprivation on life span and reproduction. Oecologia, 153:303-308.

    Fussmann, G.; Weithoff, G. & Yoshida, T. (2007) A direct, experimental test of resource- versus consumer dependence: Reply. Ecology 88: 1603-1604.

    Schmidtke, A., Bell, E.M. & Weithoff, G. (2006) Potential grazing impact of the mixotrophic flagellate Ochromonas sp. (Chrysophyceae) on bacteria in an extremely acidic lake. Journal of Plankton Research 28: 991-1001. Open Access here:

    Bell, E.M., Weithoff, G. & Gaedke, U. (2006) Temporal dynamics and growth of Actinophrys sol (Sarcodina: Heliozoa), the top predator in an extremely acidic lake. Freshwater Biology 51: 1149-1161.

    Weithoff, G. (2005) On the ecology of the rotifer Cephalodella hoodi from an extremely acidic lake. Freshwater Biology, 50: 1464-1473.

    Fussmann, G.; Weithoff, G. & Yoshida, T. (2005) A direct, experimental test of resource- versus consumer dependence. Ecology, 86: 2924-2930.

    Kamjunke, N.; Gaedke, U.; Tittel, J.; Weithoff, G. & Bell, E.M. (2004) Strong vertical differences in the plankton composition of an extremely acidic lake. Archiv für Hydrobiologie, 161: 289-306.

    Lagus, A.; Suomela, J.; Weithoff, G.; Heikkilä, K.; Helminen, H. & Sipura, J. (2004) Species-specific differences in phytoplankton responses to N and P enrichments and the N:P ratio in the Archipelago Sea, Northern Baltic Sea. Journal of Plankton Research, 26:779-798. Open access here:

    Weithoff, G. (2004) Vertical niche separation of two consumers (Rotatoria) in an extreme habitat. Oecologia, 139: 594-603.

    Weithoff, G. (2003) The concepts of “Plant Functional Types” and “Functional Diversity” in lake phytoplankton – a new understanding of phytoplankton ecology. Freshwater Biology, 48: 1669-1675. Open access here:

    Gervais, F. Siedel, U.; Heilmann, B.; Weithoff, G.; Heisig-Gunkel, G. & Nicklisch, A. (2003) Vertical distribution of phytoplankton, nutrients and sulphide below the oxicline of a mesotrophic lake. Journal of Plankton Research, 25: 273-278. Open access here:

    Raffaelli, D.; Bell, E.M.; Weithoff, G.; Matsumoto, A.; Cruz-Motta, J.J.; Kershaw, P.; Parker, R.; Parry, P. & Jones, M. (2003) The ups and downs of benthic ecology: considerations of scale, heterogeneity and surveillance for benthic-pelagic coupling. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 285/286: 191-203.

    Bell, E.M. & Weithoff, G. (2003) Benthic recruitment of zooplankton in an acidic lake. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology. 285/286: 205-219.

    Weithoff, G.; Walz, N. & Gaedke, U. (2001) The intermediate disturbance hypothesis – species diversity or functional diversity? Journal of Plankton Research 23:1147-1155. Open access here:

    Weithoff, G.; Lorke, A. & Walz, N. (2000) Effects of water-column mixing on bacteria, phytoplankton, and rotifers under different levels of herbivory in a shallow eutrophic lake. Oecologia, 125:91-100.

    Weithoff, G. & Walz, N. (1999) Problems in estimating phytoplankton nitrogen limitation in eutrophic shallow lakes. Hydrobiologia 408/409: 367-373.

    Weithoff, G. & Walz, N. (1995) Influence of the filamentous cyanobacterium Planktothrix agardhii on population growth and reproductive pattern of the rotifer Brachionus calyciflorus. Hydrobiologia 313/314: 381-386.