PD Dr. Niels Blaum


Campus Golm
University of Potsdam
Plant Ecology and Nature Conservation
Am Mühlenberg 3, building 60, room 3.17
14476 Potsdam


  •  2012     Habilitation and Venia legend in Biodiversity research and Animal Ecology, University of Potsdam 
                    Habilitation thesis: Dynamics of biodiversity in savannas – from genes to communities
  • 2004      PhD in Ecology, University of Frankfurt/ Main
  • 1999      Diploma Degree in Biology, University of Frankfurt/ Main
  • 1995      Licence in Biology, Université Sophia Antipolis Nice, France

Research interests

  • Impacts of land use on biodiversity
  • Effects of structural diversity of the vegetation on abundance and diversity patterns of animals
  • Gene flow in fragmented landscapes under climate change
  • Spatio-temporal dynamics of animal movements/ movement ecology



Books, book chapters and other publications (selection)


  • Marquart A, Eldridge DJ, Geissler K, Lobas C & Blaum N (2020). Interconnected effects of shrubs, invertebrate‐derived macropores and soil texture on water infiltration in a semi‐arid savanna rangeland. Land Degradation and Development. DOI: 10.1002/ldr.3598.
  • Marquart A, Geissler K, Heblack J, Lobas C, Münch E & Blaum N (2020). Individual shrubs, large scale grass cover and seasonal rainfall explain invertebrate-derived macropore density in a semi-arid Namibian savanna. Journal of Arid Environments176: 104101.
  • Marquart A, Goldbach L & Blaum N (2020) Soil-texture affects the influence of termite macropores on soil water infiltration in a semi-arid savanna. Ecohydrology. DOI: 10.1002/eco.2249
  • Noonan MJ, Fleming CH,Tucker MA, Kays R, Harrison AL, Crofoot MC, Abrahms B, Alberts CS, Ali AH, Altmann J, Antunes PC, Attias N, Belant JL, Beyer Jr DE, Bidner LR, Blaum N, Boone RB, Caillaud D, de Paula CR, de la Torre JA, Dekker J, DePerno CS, Farhadinia M, Fennessy J, Fichtel C, Fischer C, Ford A, Goheen JR, Havmøller RW, Hirsch BT, Hurtado C, Isbell LA, Janssen R, Jeltsch F, Kaczensky P, Kaneko Y, Kappeler P, Katna A, Kauffman M, Koch F, Kulkarni A, LaPoint S, Leimgruber P, Macdonald DW, Markham AC, McMahon L, Mertes K, Moorman CE, Morato RG, Moßbrucker AM, Mourão G, O’Connor D, Oliveira-Santos LGR, Pastorini J, Patterson BD, Rachlow J, Ranglack DH, Reid N, Scantlebury DW, Scott DM, Selva N, Sergiel A, Songer M, Songsasen N, Stabach JA, Stacy-Dawes J, Swingen MB, Thompson JJ, Ullmann W, Vanak AT, Thaker M, Wilson JW, Yamazaki K, Yarnell RW, Zieba F, Zwijacz-Kozica T, Fagan WF, Mueller T, & Calabrese JM (2020). Effects of body size on estimation of mammalian area requirements. Conservation Biology DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13495
  • Schlägel UE, Grimm V, Blaum N, Colangeli P, Dammhahn M, Eccard JA, Hausmann SL, Herde A, Hofer H, Joshi J, Kramer‐Schadt S, Litwin M, Lozada‐Gobilard SD, Müller MEH, Müller T, Nathan R, Petermann JA, Pirhofer‐Walzl K, Radchuk V, Rillig MC, Roeleke M, Schäfer M, Scherer C, Schiro G, Scholz C, Teckentrup L, Tiedemann R, Ullmann W, Voigt C, Weithoff G & Jeltsch F (2020). Movement‐mediated community assembly and coexistence. Biological Reviews96: 1073-1096.
  • Ullmann W, Fischer C, Kramer-Schadt S, Pirhofer-Walzl K, Glemnitz M & Blaum N (2020). How do agricultural practices affect the movement behaviour of European brown hares (Lepus europaeus)? Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment292: 106819.


  • Mayer M, Ullmann W, Fischer C & Blaum N & Sunde P (2019). Seasonal effects of habitat structure and weather on the habitat selection and home range size of a mammal in agricultural landscapes. Landscape Ecology 34: 2279-2294.
  • Marquart A, Eldridge DJ, Travers SK, Val J & Blaum N (2019). Large shrubs partly compensate negative effects of grazing on hydrological function in a semi-arid savanna. Basic and Applied Ecology38: 58-68.
  • Geissler K, Hahn C, Joubert D & Blaum N (2019). Functional responses of the herbaceous plant community explain ecohydrological impacts of savanna shrub encroachment. Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics39: 10.1016/j.ppees.2019.125458.
  • Geissler K, Heblack J, Uugulu S, Wanke H & Blaum N (2019). Partitioning of water between differently sized shrubs and potential groundwater recharge in a semiarid savanna in Namibia. Frontiers in Plant Science. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2019.01411
  • Noonan MJ, Tucker MA, Fleming CH, Akre T, Alberts SC, Ali AH, Altmann J, Antunes PC, Belant JL, Berens D, Beyer D, Blaum N, Böhning-Gaese K, Cullen Jr L, de Paula CH, Dekker J, Drescher-Lehman J, Farwig N, Fichtel C, Fischer C, Ford A, Goheen JR, Janssen R, Jeltsch F, Kauman M, Kappeler P, Koch F, LaPoint S, Markham AC, Medici EP, Morato RG, Nathan R, Gustavo L Oliveira-Santos R, Olson KR, Patterson BD, Paviolo A, Ramalho EE, Roesner S, Selva N, Sergiel A, Silva MC, Spiegel O, Thompson P, Ullmann W, Zieba F, Zwijacz-Kozica T, Fagan WF, Mueller T, Calabrese JM (2019). A comprehensive analysis of autocorrelation and bias in home range estimation. Ecological Monographs89: e01344.
  • Hering R, Hauptfleisch M, Geißler K, Marquart A, Schoenen M & Blaum N (2019). Shrub encroachment is not always land degradation: Insights from ground dwelling beetle species niches along a shrub cover gradient in a semi-arid Namibian savanna. Land Degradation and Development30: 14-27.
  • Reinhard J, Geissler K & Blaum N (2019). Short-term responses of darkling beetles (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae) to the effects of fire and grazing in savannah rangeland. Insect Conservation and Diversity 12: 39-48.
  • Scherer C, Radchuk V Staubach C, Mueller S, Blaum N, Thulke HH & Kramer-Schadt S (2019). Seasonal host life-history processes fuel disease dynamics at different spatial scales. Journal of Animal Ecology: doi.org/10.1111/1365-2656.13070.


  • Mayer M, Ullmann W, Sunde P, Fischer C. & Blaum N (2018). Habitat selection by the European hare in arable landscapes: The importance of small-scale habitat structure for conservation. Ecology and Evolution23:11619-11633.
  • Stanton R Jr, Boone WW IV, Soto-Shoender J, Fletcher RJ Jr, Blaum N & McCleery RM (2018). Shrub encroachment and vertebrate diversity: a global meta-analysis. Global Ecology and Biogeography27: 368-379.
  • Synodinos AD, Eldridge D, Geißler K, Jeltsch F, Lohmann D, Midgley G & Blaum N (2018). Remotely sensed canopy height reveals three pantropical ecosystem states: comment. Ecology99: 231-234.
  • Tabares X, Mapani B, Blaum N & Herzschuh U (2018). Composition and diversity of vegetation and pollen spectra along gradients of grazing intensity and precipitation in southern Africa. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology253: 88-100.
  • Tucker M, et al., Blaum N, et al. & Mueller T (2018). Moving in the Anthropocene: Global reductions in terrestrial mammalian movements. Science359: 466-469.
  • Ullmann W, Fischer C, Pirhofer-Walzl K, Kramer-Schadt S & Blaum N (2018). Spatiotemporal variability in resources affects herbivore home range formation in structurally contrasting and unpredictable agricultural landscapes. Landscape Ecology 33: 1505-1517.


  • Hauptfleisch ML, Vinte MP & Blaum N (2017). A comparison of the community dynamics of bioturbating small mammals between livestock and wildlife farming areas in the Kalahari, Namibia. Namibian Journal of Environment1: 34-39.
  • Shikangalah RN, Mueller EN, Jeltsch F & Blaum N (2017). Quantification of areal extent of soil erosion in dryland urban areas: an example from Windhoek, Namibia. Cities and the Environment (CATE) 10: Article 8.


  • Shikangalah RN, Jeltsch F, Blaum N & Mueller EN (2016). A review on urban soil water erosion. Journal for studies in humanities and social sciences5: 163-178.
  • Scherer C, Jeltsch F, Grimm V & Blaum N (2016). Merging trait-based and individual-based modelling: an animal functional type approach to explore the responses of birds to climatic and land use changes in semi-arid African savannas. Ecological Modelling 326: 75-89.
  • Luft L, Neumann C, Itzerott S, Lausch A, Doktor D, Freude M, Blaum N & Jeltsch F. (2016). Digital and real-habitat modeling of Hipparchia statilinus based on hyper spectral remote sensing data. Interna­tionalJournal of Environmental Science and Technology13: 187-200.


  • Luft L, Naumann C, Freude M, Blaum N & Jeltsch F (2014). Hyperspectral modeling of ecological indica­tors. A new approach for monitoring former military training areas. Ecological Indicators46: 264-285.
  • Lohmann D, Tietjen B, Blaum N, Joubert DF & Jeltsch F (2014). Prescribed fire as a tool for managing shrub encroachment in semi-arid savanna rangelands. Journal of Arid Environments107: 49-56.
  • Lohmann D, Falk, T, Geissler K, Blaum N & Jeltsch F. Determinants of semi-arid rangeland management in a land reform setting in Namibia (2014). Journal of Arid Environments100: 23-30.


  • Jeltsch F, Bonte D, Pe'er G, Reineking B, Leimgruber P, Balkenhohl N, Schröder B, Buchmann CM, Mueller T, Blaum N, Zurell D, Böhning-Gaese K, Wiegand T, Eccard J, Hofer H, Reeg J, Eggers U & Bauer S (2013). Integrating movement ecology with biodiversity research - exploring new avenues to address spatiotemporal biodiversity dynamics. Movement Ecology 1:6.
  • Jeltsch F, Blaum N, Brose U, Chipperfield JD, Clough Y, Farwig N, Geissler K, Graham CH, Grimm V, Hickler T, Huth A, May F, Meyer KM, Pagel J, Reineking B, Rillig MC, Shea K, Schurr FM, Schröder B, Tielbörger K, Weiss L, Wiegand K, Wiegand T, Wirth C, Zurell D (2013). How can we bring together empiricists and modellers in functional biodiversity research? Basic and Applied Ecology14: 93-101.


  • Lohmann D, Tietjen B, Blaum N, Joubert DF & Jeltsch F (2012) Shifting thresholds and changing degradation patterns: climate change effects on the simulated long-term response of a semi-arid savanna to grazing. Journal of Applied Ecology49: 814-823.
  • Blaum N, Schwager M, Wichmann MC & Rossmanith E (2012). Climate induced changes in matrix suitability explain gene flow in a fragmented landscape – the effect of interannual rainfall variability. Ecography35: 650-660.
  • Blumröder J, Eccard J & Blaum N (2012). Behavioural flexibility in foraging mode of the spotted sand lizard (Pedioplanis l. lineoocellata) seems to buffer negative impacts of savanna degradation Journal of Arid Environments77: 149-152.


  • Jeltsch F, Moloney KA, Schwager M, Körner K & Blaum N (2011). Consequences of correlations between climatic and landscape changes for regional species survival. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment145: 49-58.
  • Blaum N, Mosner E, Schwager M & Jeltsch F (2011). How functional is functional – ecological groupings in terrestrial animal ecology: towards an animal functional type approach. Biodiversityand Conservation20: 2333-2345.
  • Wasiolka B & Blaum N (2011). Comparing biodiversity between protected savanna and adjacent non-protected farmland in the southern Kalahari.  Journal of Arid Environments 75: 836-841.
  • Kuechly H, Mueller JS, Reinfelder VL, Wiedemann S & Blaum N (2011). Rodent mediated dispersal of Acacia seeds in Kalahari savannah rangelands – implications for bush encroachment. African Journal of Ecology 49: 119-121


  • Wasiolka B, Jeltsch F, Henschel J & Blaum N (2010). Space use of the Spotted Sand Lizard (Pedioplanis l. lineoocellata) under different degradation states. African Journal of Ecology48: 96-104.


  • Popp A, Vogel M, Blaum N & Jeltsch F (2009). Scaling up ecohydrological processes - the role of source-sink systems in water limited landscapes. Journal of Geophysical Research - Biogeosciences 114: 1-10.
  • Meyer J, Kohnen A, Durka W, Wöstemeyer J, Blaum N, Rossmanith E & Brandl R (2009). Genetic structure in the hairy-footed gerbil Gerbillurus paeba: sex specific dispersal? Mammalian Biology74: 478-487.
  • Popp A, Blaum N & Jeltsch F (2009). Ecohydrological feedback mechanisms in arid rangelands: Simulating the impacts of topography and land use. Basic & Applied Ecology10: 319-329.
  • Blaum N, Seymour C, Rossmanith E, Schwager M & Jeltsch F (2009). Changes in arthropod diversity along a land use driven gradient of shrub cover in the southern Kalahari: Identification of suitable indicators. Biodiversity & Conservation18:1187-1199.
  • Wasiolka B, Blaum N, Jeltsch F & Henschel J (2009). Behavioral responses of the lizard Pedioplanis l. lineoocellata to overgrazing. Acta Oecologica35: 157-162.
  • Blaum N, Tietjen B & Rossmanith, E (2009). The impact of livestock husbandry on small and medium sized carnivores in Kalahari savannah rangelands. Journal of Wildlife Management73: 60-67.
  • Popp A, Domptail S, Blaum N & Jeltsch F (2009). Landuse experience does qualify for adaptation to climate change. Ecological Modelling 220: 694-702.
  • Rossmanith E, Blaum N, Höntsch K, and Jeltsch F (2009). Sex-related parental care strategies in the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker (Picoides minor): of flexible mothers and dependable fathers. Journal of Avian Biology40: 28-33.


  • Blaum N (2008). Seasonal differences in spatial distribution of small carnivores in fragmented savannah landscapes. African Journal of Ecology46: 702-705.
  • Schwager M, Covas R, Blaum N & Jeltsch F (2008). Predicting climate change effects across scales - comparing a 'population model' and a 'space for time' approach. Oikos117: 1417-1427.
  • Blaum N, Engeman RM, Wasiolka B & Rossmanith E (2008). Indexing small mammalian carnivores in the southern Kalahari, South Africa. Wildlife Research 35: 72-79.
  • Thiele T, Jeltsch F & Blaum N (2008). Importance of woody vegetation for foraging site selection in the Southern Pied Babbler (Turdoides bicolor) under two different land use regimes. Journal of Arid Environments 72: 471-482.


  • Blaum N & Wichmann M (2007). Short term transformation of matrix into hospitable habitat facilitates gene flow and mitigates fragmentation. Journal of Animal Ecology 76: 1116-1127.
  • Popp A, Schwager M, Blaum N & Jeltsch F (2007). Structural diversity predicts the occurrence of the yellow mongoose under shrub encroachment in a semi-arid savanna. Ecological Modelling209: 136-148.
  • Blaum N, Rossmanith E, Schwager M & Jeltsch F (2007). Responses of mammalian carnivores to land use in arid Kalahari rangelands. Basic & Applied Ecology8: 552-564.
  • Rossmanith E, Höntsch K, Blaum N & Jeltsch F (2007). Reproductive success and nestling diet in the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker. Journal of Ornithology 148: 323-332.
  • Blaum N, Rossmanith E & Jeltsch F (2007). Land use affects rodent communities in Kalahari savannah rangelands. African Journal of Ecology45: 189-195.
  • Rossmanith E, Blaum N, Grimm V & Jeltsch F (2007). Pattern-oriented modelling for estimating unknown pre-breeding survival rates: the case of the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker (Picoides minor). Biological Conservation 135: 571-580.
  • Blaum N, Rossmanith E, Fleissner G & Jeltsch F (2007). The conflicting importance of shrubby landscape structures for the reproductive success of the yellow mongoose (Cynictis penicillata). Journal of Mammalogy 88: 194-200.
  • Blaum N, Rossmanith E, Popp A & Jeltsch F (2007). Shrub encroachment affects mammalian carnivore abundance in arid rangelands. Acta Oecologica 31: 86-92.

2006 and before

  • Rossmanith E, Grimm V, Blaum N & Jeltsch F (2006). Behavioural flexibility in the mating system buffers population extinction: lessons from the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker (Picoides minor). Journal of Animal Ecology 75: 540-548.
  • Tews J, Blaum N & Jeltsch F (2004). Structural and animal species diversity in arid and semi-arid savannas of the southern Kalahari. Annals of Arid Zone 42: 1-13.2016




Books, book chapters and other publications (selection)

  • Dreber, N & Blaum, N (2016): Verbuschung afrikanischer Savannen: Eine Gefährdung für die Artenvielfalt? In: Lozán, J.L., Breckle, S.-W., Müller, R., Rachor, E. (Eds.): Warnsignal Klima: Die Biodiversität: pp. 210-215. Wissenschaftliche Auswertungen, Hamburg. doi: 10.2312/warnsignal.klima.die-Biodiversität.34.
  • Blaum N & Rossmanith E (2010). Shrub pattern affects reproductive success in the Yellow Mongoose (Cynictis penicillata). – In: Schmiedel, U., Jürgens, N. [Eds.]: Biodiversity in southern Africa. Volume 2: Patterns and processes at regional scale: pp. 184–187, Klaus Hess Publishers, Göttingen & Windhoek.
  • Jeltsch F & Blaum N (2010). The role of models in biodiversity observation schemes. – In: Schmiedel, U., Jürgens, N. [Eds.]: Biodiversity in southern Africa. Volume 2: Patterns and processes at regional scale: pp. 272–273, Klaus Hess Publishers, Göttingen & Windhoek.
  • Blaum N, Rossmanith E, Popp A, Schwager M, Steinhäuser J, Wichmann M & Jeltsch F (2010): Modelling animal responses to changes in climate and landuse. – In: Schmiedel, U., Jürgens, N. [Eds.]: Biodiversity in southern Africa. Volume 2: Patterns and processes at regional scale: pp. 283–288, Klaus Hess Publishers, Göttingen & Windhoek.
  • Blaum N, Lohmann D, Rossmanith E, Schütze S, Schwager M, Steinhäuser J, Tews J, Wichmann M & Jeltsch F (2010). Model-based simulation tools. – In: Schmiedel, U., Jürgens, N. [Eds.]: Biodiversity in southern Africa. Volume 2: Patterns and processes at regional scale: pp. 302–306, Klaus Hess Publishers, Göttingen & Windhoek.
  • Jeltsch F, Blaum N, Classen N, Eschenbach A, Grohmann C, Gröngröft A, Joubert DF, Horn A, Lohmann D, Linsenmair KE, Lück-Vogel M, Medinski TV, Meyfarth S, Mills A, Petersen A, Popp A, Poschlod P, Reisch C, Rossmanith E, Rubilar H, Schütze S, Seymour C, Simmons R, Smit GN, Strohbach M, Tews J, Tietjen B, Wesuls D, Wichmann M, Wieczorek M, & Zimmermann I (2010). Impacts of landuse and climate change on the dynamics and biodiversity in the Thornbush Savanna Biome. – In: Hoffman, M. T., Schmiedel, U., Jürgens, N. [Eds.]: Biodiversity in southern Africa. Volume 3: Implications for landuse and management: pp. 33–74, Klaus Hess Publishers, Göttingen & Windhoek.
  • Wasiolka B & Blaum N (2010). Impact of shrub encroachment on Animal diversity (Bird, Reptiles, Mammals) in Namibian savanna rangelands. Spotlight on Agriculture 114, Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Tourism, Directorate of Agricultural Research and Training, Namibia.
  • Jeltsch F, Blaum N, Tietjen B & Rossmanith E (2010, invited). Population and ecosystem modeling of land use and climate change impacts on savanna dynamics. In: Ecosystem Function in Global Savannas: Measurement and Modeling at Landscape to Global Scales. Eds.: Hill MJ & Hanan NP.
  • Blaum N, Wasiolka B, Rossmanith E & Jeltsch F. (2008). The effects of grazing-induced shrub encroachment on animal diversity in southern Kalahari rangelands. Spotlight on Agriculture 112, Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Tourism, Directorate of Agricultural Research and Training, Namibia.
  • Blaum N (2008) Computer Simulations of the Kalahari. In: Millions of Ways of Life, Research for Biological Diversity (COP 9). Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Department Global Change, Berlin, Bonn.