Nato Tephnadze-Hoernchen - PhD student

Nato Tephnadze-Hoernchen
Photo: Nato Tephnadze-Hoernchen


Botanical Institute, AG Linstädter
University of Cologne
Zülpicher Straße 47b
D-50674 Cologne, Germany

Visitors: Kerpener Straße 59, D-50937 Cologne
Tel: 0049 (0)221 / 470-7906




2nd Affiliation:

University of Potsdam

Biodiversity Research / Systematic Botany Group

Maulbeerallee 1

14469 Potsdam, Germany



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Nato Tephnadze-Hoernchen
Photo: Nato Tephnadze-Hoernchen

Research Interests

I am a rangeland ecologist. Most of my research focuses on managed grasslands in the montane-subalpine belts of the Central Greater Caucasus (Kazbegi district) and the Lesser Caucasus (Bakuriani district). I aim to better understand how these habitats function, how abiotic and biotic factors influence the biodiversity of grasslands, and if there is a tendency of habitat change. Additionally, I am interested in Birch forest biodiversity and associated tall herbaceous vegetation, and the natural restoration processes of Betula litwinowii stands in the Central Greater Caucasus, as well as in biodiversity changes in the face of global environmental change.


Research Projects

03/2010 - 12/2013

Research Assistant in the Volkswagen Foundation funded research project “AMIES - Analysing multiple interrelationships between environmental and societal processes in mountainous regions of Georgia - Interdisciplinary research to foster sustainable land use, land development, and quality of life”, Subproject C1: Changes in Phytodiversity


Project Assistant (Master student) in “GLORIA – Global Observation Research Initiative in Alpine Environments”. Co-funded by the European Union


Project Assistant (Master student) in “Towards sustainable use of mountain pastures in the Central Caucasus: Effect of recent land use change on plant diversity and soil stability”. Funded by the SNF programme SCOPES (Scientific Co-operation with Eastern Europe)







Curriculum vitae

Academic Education

since 10/2017PhD student in workgroup Range Ecology and Range Management, Botanical Institute, University of Cologne

10/2010 - 09/2017

PhD student in alpine ecosystem research programme, Institute of Ecology, Ilia State University, Tbilisi, Georgia

01/2007 - 02/2010

Master of Ecology and Conservation Biology, Ilia State University, Tbilisi, Georgia
Master thesis: “Plant diversity of the Birch forest in the Central Greater Caucasus (Kazbegi district, Georgia)”

09/2003 - 06/2007

Bachelor of Biology at Biology Institute, Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University, Tbilisi, Georgia




01/2017 - 07/2017

 Android Basic Programming funded by Google

07/2014 - 12/2014

 DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service)

01/2013 - 07/2013

 Volkswagen Foundation



Professional experience and additional activities

07/2015 - 12/2015

Research assistant in Alpine ecosystem research programme, Institute of Ecology, Ilia State University, Tbilisi, Georgia


Co-teacher of Master students at University of Giessen, Germany: Ecological research methods


Assistant in the Volkswagen Foundation funded workshop “Natural Resources, Energy and the Environment”. Tbilisi, Georgia


Participant of the winter school “Limits to Growth Revisited”, funded by Volkswagen Foundation. Visselhoevede and Hanover, Germany

Since 08/2012

Member of Eurasian Dry Grasslands Group


Participant of the summer school “CliNCA / LUCA”, funded by Volkswagen Foundation, Giessen, Germany


Participant of the “PCR lab” workshop at Ilia State University. Tbilisi, Georgia

09/2007 - 05/2008

Professor’s assistant at the Institute of Zoology, Ilia State University, Tbilisi, Georgia

09/2006 - 05/2007

Laboratory assistant at the faculty of Cytology and Developmental Biology. Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University. Tbilisi, Georgia




Magiera A., Feilhauer H., Tephnadze N., Waldhardt R. & Otte A. (2015): Separating reflectance signatures of shrub species - a case study in the Central Greater Caucasus. – Applied Vegetation Science 19 (2): 304-315. DOI: 10.1111/avsc.12205

Tephnadze N., Abdaladze O., Nakhutsrishvili G., Simmering D., Waldhardt R. & Otte A. (2014): The impacts of management and site conditions on the phytodiversity of the upper montane and subalpine belts in the Central Greater Caucasus. – Phytocoenologia 44 (3-4): 255-282. DOI:10.1127/0340-269X/2014/0044-0579

Pütter, F. / Kremers, A. (Eds.), Abdu, N.; Ako, R.; Backhaus, J.; Bergset, L.; Bezerra, J.; Bobojonov, I.; Borges, V.; Cakirli Akyüz, N.; Callo-Concha, D.; Castro, R.; Cundill, G., Drees, R.; Escalante, N.; Haake, H.; Havemann, A.; Hezel, B.; Hotes, S.; Ibeh, L.; Karimov, A.; Köbbing, J.; Kurniawan, T.; Landry, J.; Leopold, A.; Lopes Guerreiro, L.; Månsson, A.; Marques da Silva, C.; Mawlong, L.; Moorhouse, J.; Mu, D.; Mukwaya, P.; Murguía, D.; Mutopo, P.; Nazarkina, L.; Nuss, P.; O'Brien, M.; Olaka, L.; Phelan, L.; Randrianiaiana, R.; Reichel, A.; Sakane, N.; Schmelzer, M.; Schmidt, A.; Schwerhoff, G.; Schwindenhammer, S.; Seufert, V.; Shen, W.; Shi, L.; Sop, T.; Tephnadze, N.; Tietze, F.; Tlili, I.; Wang, X.; Yazid, S.; Young, A. (2012): White Paper of the Winter School on Limits to Growth Revisited. – VolkswagenStiftung. [view paper, Download]


Invited presentation

Tephnadze, N. (2014): Vegetationserfassung und -analyse (in English; University of Giessen)



Conference and workshop presentations/posters

Hansen, W., Magiera, A., Tephnadze, N., Theissen, T., Waldhardt, R., Otte, A. (2016): Development and site conditions of subalpine Betula litwinowii stands in the Greater Caucasus, Georgia. The project AMIES II workshop poster, Giessen, Germany

Tephnadze, N., Rauner, A., Theissen, T., Simmering, D., Waldhardt, R., Otte, A. (2014): The main driving factors of the upper montane grassland diversity in the Bakuriani region (the Lesser Caucasus, Georgia). 44th annual meeting of the Ecological Society of Germany, Austria and Switzerland (GFӦ). “Integrating ecological knowledge into nature conservation and ecosystem management”. Hildesheim, Germany

Tephnadze, N., Otte, A., Rauner, A., Theissen, T. (2014): The Structure and Vegetation of Woodland Pastures and Meadows in the Lesser Caucasus of Georgia. Annual Meeting of the Reinhold-Tüxen-Gesellschaft. “Common Land and their Cultural Landscapes”. Hannover, Germany

Tephnadze, N., Abdaladze, O., Nakhutsrishvili, G., Simmering, D., Waldhardt, R., Otte, A. (2012): Quantifying the major determinants of species composition in subalpine grasslands of the Kazbegi region (Central Greater Caucasus). Workshop of the Global Mountain Biodiversity Assessment (GMBA) of DIVERSITAS in Georgia. “Distribution, Prediction and Conservation of Alpine species in the Great Caucasus”. Ilia State University field station Kazbegi, Georgia