Senior Scientist

e-mail: weithoffuni-potsdamde

Phone: -1949

Curriculum vitae

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

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

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


  1. Weithoff, G. & U. Gaedke (2016) Mean functional traits of lake phytoplankton reflect seasonal and inter-annual changes in nutrients, climate and herbivory. Journal of Plankton Researchin press.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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:
  8. 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.
  9. 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:
  10. 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:
  11. 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:
  12. 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
  13. 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.
  14. 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:
  15. 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.
  16. 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:
  17. 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:
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. Schmidtke, A., Gaedke, U. & Weithoff, G. (2010) A mechanistic basis for underyielding in phytoplankton communities. Ecology 91: 212-221.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. Weithoff, G. & Wacker, A. (2007) The mode of nutrition of mixotrophic flagellates determines their food quality for their consumers. Functional Ecology 21: 1092-1098.
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
  26. Fussmann, G.; Weithoff, G. & Yoshida, T. (2007) A direct, experimental test of resource- versus consumer dependence: Reply. Ecology 88: 1603-1604.
  27. 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:
  28. 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.
  29. Weithoff, G. (2005) On the ecology of the rotifer Cephalodella hoodi from an extremely acidic lake. Freshwater Biology, 50: 1464-1473.
  30. Fussmann, G.; Weithoff, G. & Yoshida, T. (2005) A direct, experimental test of resource- versus consumer dependence. Ecology, 86: 2924-2930.
  31. 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.
  32. 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:
  33. Weithoff, G. (2004) Vertical niche separation of two consumers (Rotatoria) in an extreme habitat. Oecologia, 139: 594-603.
  34. 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:
  35. 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:
  36. 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.
  37. 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.
  38. 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:
  39. 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.
  40. Weithoff, G. & Walz, N. (1999) Problems in estimating phytoplankton nitrogen limitation in eutrophic shallow lakes. Hydrobiologia 408/409: 367-373.
  41. 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.