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Klaus Birkhofer

Associate Professor

Biodiversity-Ecosystem Functioning & Service Research

I study the relationships between anthropogenic interventions (land-use and climate change), biodiversity changes (taxonomic, phylogenetic and functional) and related changes in processes (functions & services) in microbial, animal and plant communities with a focus on trade-offs and synergies between services (multifunctionality). I use a wide range of methods to assess processes that are provided by organisms, such as litter bags, bait lamina strips, fatty acid analyses, cage experiments or observational techniques and use synthesis approaches (e.g. meta-analysis) to summarize existing results.


Conservation & Community Ecology

I study how crop and grassland management (fertilization, crop rotation, grazing) affect the composition and biodiversity of animal and plant communities to contribute to future conservation practices. I enjoy using distance-based multivariate statistics and trait analysis to understand how communities respond to conservation practices and focus on field studies in close collaboration with land-owners.


Predator-Prey Interactions

I study food-webs and interaction networks between generalist predators and their prey to understand the fundamental rules underlying these important trophic interactions and to improve the provision of biological control services in agroecosystems. I use a range of techniques to analyse predator-prey interactions including stable isotope analysis, molecular gut content analysis and manipulative field experiments.


Soil Ecology

I study above- and belowground interactions between plant, animal and microbial communities to identify important links between these components and to improve the multifunctionality of agricultural systems. I enjoy the hardships of soil sampling campaigns and use a range of extraction methods to study bacterial, nematode, earthworm and micro-arthropod communities.


Landscape & Spatial Ecology

I study within-field spatial distribution patterns and large scale effects of landscape composition on populations to better understand how biotic and abiotic drivers affect biodiversity and community composition in agricultural, forest and desert landscapes. I use point-pattern statistics, geostatistics and GIS-based analysis to understand the consequences of spatial heterogeneity for communities and biotic interactions.


Klaus Birkhofer doing field work
Field work is not easy, but always rewarding! The strange experience of sampling aquatic organisms for a terrestrial ecologist (2010, Tibet)
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