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Dr. Stefanie Maaß


Campus Golm
University of Potsdam
Plant Ecology and Conservation Biology
Am Mühlenberg 3, building 60, room 3.16
14476 Potsdam

Current employment

April 2016 - August 2021: Postdoc in the project Bridging in Biodiversity Science (BIBS), work package 4: “Above-belowground coupling”

I am interested in how current plant community models can be improved in regard to soil parameters, root traits and the interaction of the rhizosphere and soil organisms. In this context I am providing data for validation of existing models. Other research interests: see below.

Education and Experience

2015 – 2016: Dahlem Research School Honor Fellowship (for Postdocs), Free University Berlin, Germany

2012 - 2015: PhD (“Niche and neutral processes in a dry grassland: the example of oribatid mites”), Free University Berlin, Germany; Fellowship by Friedrich-Naumann-Stiftung für die Freiheit

2009 - 2011: MSc in Biodiversity, Ecology & Evolution, Free University Berlin, Germany

2006 - 2009: BSc in Biology, Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany

Research interests

  • niche, neutral and metacommunity theory
  • ecology/taxonomy of soil microarthropods with special focus on Oribatid mites
  • interaction of soil microarthropods and biochar, microplastics, pesticides, etc.
  • soil food web analysis, stable isotope analysis
  • small-scale heterogeneity in soils (water content, pH, C/N/P- content, soil aggregation etc.)


Barreto, C., Rillig, M.C., Waldman, W.R., Maaß, S. 2021. Disgusting or delicious? – How soil invertebrates deal with the increasing microplastic contamination. Frontiers for Young Minds 09: 625228. doi: 10.3389/frym.2021.625228.

de Souza Machado A.A., Horton A.A., Davis T., Maaß S. 2020. Microplastics and Their Effects on Soil Function as a Life-Supporting System. In: . The Handbook of Environmental Chemistry. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.

Lehmann A, Zheng W, Ryo M, Soutschek K, Roy J, Rongstock R, Maaß S and Rillig MC (2020) Fungal Traits Important for Soil Aggregation. Front. Microbiol. 10:2904. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2019.02904

Maaß S, Hückelheim R, Rillig MC (2019). Collembola laterally move biochar particles. PLoS ONE 14(11): e0224179. 

Lehmann, A., Zheng, W., Ryo, M., Soutschek, K., Rongstock, R., Maaß, S., Rillig, M.C., 201X. Fungal traits important for soil aggregation. submitted


Maaß, S., Daphi, D., Lehmann, A., Rillig, M.C., 2017. Transport of microplastics by two collembolan species. Environmental Pollution 225: 456-459. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2017.03.009

Maaß, S., Caruso, T., Rillig, M.C., 2015. Functional role of microarthropods in soil aggregation. Pedobiologia 58: 59-63. doi: 10.1016/j.pedobi.2015.03.001

Maaß, S., Maraun, M., Scheu, S., Rillig, M.C., Caruso, T., 2015. Environmental filtering vs. resource-based niche partitioning in diverse soil animal assemblages. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 85: 145-152. doi: 10.1016/j.soilbio.2015.03.005

Maaß, S., Migliorini, M., Rillig, M.C., Caruso, T., 2014. Disturbance, neutral theory, and patterns of beta diversity in soil communities. Ecology and Evolution 4: 4766-4774. doi: 10.1002/ece3.1313