Community ecology of grasslands and agricultural landscapes

Photo of grassland landscape
Photo: D. Lauterbach
Federgras - Stipa borysthenica - auf dem Geesower Hügel, Brandenburg.

Grasslands belong to the habitats in temperate climates with the highest biodiversity. In Central Europe many rare and endangered species are confined to this vegetation type. However dynamics and mechanisms responsible for the high biodiversity are still not satisfactorily understood. Two key questions arise:

  1. how can so many species coexist on small and medium spatial scales, and
  2. why do some species increase and others become extinct under environmental change?

Here, we are particularly interested in the role of land use intensification or abandonment, and resulting habitat fragmentation. We seek a mechanistic understanding for testing general theories and enhancing nature conservation concepts. Focal grassland types include dry grasslands in Brandenburg, mesophytic grasslands, and coastal grasslands. In our approaches we use trait-based field studies combined with common garden experiments and spatially explicit process-based simulation modelling.

Current projects

    • BIBS - Bridging in Biodiversity Science [more...]
    • Resilience of grassland plant communities as influenced by root herbivores under different land use intensities (DFG, Biodiversity-Exploratories)