Dr. Sonja Knapp
Department Community Ecology
for Environmental Research - UFZ
06120 Halle, Germany
Tel: +49 345 558 5308
Fax: +49 345 558 5329
Studies of Geoecology / Ecosystemmanagement, University of Tübingen
Diploma thesis on: Species diversity in urban and rural protected areas. Analysing the relationship of species diversity with landscape structure and the location along the urban-to-rural gradient in the city of Halle (Saale) and the district of Saalkreis. (Original German title: Artenvielfalt in städtischen und ländlichen Schutzgebieten. Untersuchung von Zusammenhängen mit Landschaftsstruktur und Lage entlang des urban-ruralen Gradienten der Stadt Halle (Saale) und des Saalkreises.) Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Volker Mosbrugger (University of Tübingen), Dr. Stefan Klotz (UFZ)
2006 - 2008
PhD Student at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ, Department for Community Ecology
Doctorate on: "Plant Biodiversity in Urbanized Areas –
Analyses of Plant Functional Traits in Space and Time, Plant Rarity and Phylogenetic Diversity". Supervisors: Dr. Stefan Klotz (UFZ), Prof. Dr. Rüdiger Wittig (University of Frankfurt/Main), Jun.-Prof. Dr. Oliver Tackenberg (University of Frankfurt/Main)
Since January 2009
Research scientist at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ, Department for Community Ecology
February & March 2009
Research scholar at the University of Minnesota in St.Paul, Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, Jeannine Cavender-Bares Lab
November 2010 - November 2012
Member of executive board in the Association for Geoecology in Germany e.V. (VGöD)
Since November 2012
Chairwoman of executive board in the Association for Geoecology in Germany e.V. (VGöD)
Member of the UFZ Working Group on Equal Opportunities
I am interested in the nature of cities, the kind of nature most people experience everyday. Many cities are richer in species than their rural surroundings! Plants and animals find habitats in parks and protected areas within cities but also on brownfields, railway sites and industrial sites.
My research concentrates on the effects of urban land use on biodiversity: What traits do plant species need to exist in human-dominated urban landscapes? Do species occurring in urban areas differ from species occurring in non-urban area with respect to their functional traits? Does urban land-use affect the phylogenetic diversity of plant species?
The analysis of plant traits helps us to understand ecosystem processes and how humans impact these processes. In addition to my research on functional plant traits in urban areas, I am focussing on functional differences of native and non-native plant species: Do successful native species and successful non-native species share functional traits explaining their success? Or are non-native species successful if their traits differ from the traits of native species?
Part of my research focusses on large-scale patterns, such as plant species distribution across Germany. Large-scale patterns help us to understand general relationships such as effects of urban land use on biodiversity that are not specific to one city but apply to urban areas in general.
Impacts of climate change on ecological patterns and processes (Cluster 2 in Topic 1 "Land Use Options - Strategies and Adaptation to Global Change" of the project oriented funding of the Helmholtz Association), involved scientists
RAME - Research Association Mining and Environment in Vietnam, Sub-project on plant-based methods for the sustainable recultivation of mining sites and the treatment of waste water, 2008-2011, coordination work within the sub-project
Knapp, S., Wittig, R. (2012) An analysis of temporal homogenisation and differentiation in Central European village floras. Basic and Applied Ecology, 13, 319-327 (http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.baae.2012.06.004)
Knapp, S., Kühn, I. (2012) Origin matters: Widely distributed native and non-native species benefit from different functional traits. Ecology Letters, 15, 696-703 (doi: 10.1111/j.1461-0248.2012.01787.x)
Knapp, S., Dinsmore, L., Fissore, C., Hobbie, S. E., Jakobsdottir, I., Kattge, J., King, J., Klotz, S., McFadden, J. P. & Cavender-Bares, J. (2012) Phylogenetic and functional characteristics of household yard floras and their changes along an urbanization gradient. Ecology, 93, S83-S98 (doi: dx.doi.org/10.1890/11-0392.1)
Beck J., Ballesteros-Mejia L., Buchmann C.M., Dengler J., Fritz S., Gruber B., Hof C., Jansen F., Knapp S., Kreft H., Schneider A-K., Winter M., Dormann C.F. (2012) What’s on the horizon of macroecology? Ecography, 35, 673-683 (doi:10.1111/j.1600-0587.2012.07364.x)
Bräuniger, C., Knapp, S., Kühn, I., Klotz, S. (2010) Testing taxonomic and landscape surrogates for biodiversity in an urban setting. Landscape and Urban Planning, 97, 283-295 (doi:10.1016/j.landurbplan.2010.07.001)
Knapp, S., Kühn, I., Stolle, J. & Klotz, S. (2010) Changes in the functional composition of a Central European urban flora over three centuries. Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics, 12, 235-244 (doi: 10.1016/j.ppees.2009.11.001)
Knapp, S., Kühn, I., Bakker, J.P., Kleyer, M., Klotz, S., Ozinga, W.A., Poschlod, P., Thompson, K., Thuiller, W. & Römermann, C. (2009) How species traits and affinity to urban land use control large-scale species frequency. Diversity and Distributions, 15, 533-546 (doi: 10.1111/j.1472-4642.2009.00561.x)
Knapp, S., Kühn, I., Wittig, R., Ozinga, W.A., Poschlod, P. & Klotz, S. (2008) Urbanization causes shifts in species' trait state frequencies. Preslia 80, 375-388
Knapp, S., Kühn, I., Schweiger, O. & Klotz, S. (2008) Challenging urban species diversity: contrasting phylogenetic patterns across plant functional groups in Germany. Ecology Letters 11, 1054-1064 (doi: 10.1111/j.1461-0248.2008.01217.x)
Knapp, S., Kühn, I., Mosbrugger, V. & Klotz, S (2008) Do protected areas in urban and rural landscapes differ in species diversity? Biodiversity and Conservation 17, 1595-1612 (doi: 10.1007/s10531-008-9369-5)
Publications (not ISI-listed)
Knapp, S., Gerth, A. & Klotz, S. (2012) Sustainable recultivation and wastewater treatment in Vietnamese coal mining. World of Mining - Surface & Underground 64, 253-261 (bilingual: German, English)
Knapp, S. (2010) Plant biodiversity in urbanized areas. Plant functional traits in space and time, plant rarity and phylogenetic diversity. Vieweg + Teubner, GWV Fachverlage GmbH, Wiesbaden. ISBN 978-3-8348-0923-0 (PhD thesis)
Knapp, S. (2008) Vielfalt vor der Haustür. Biodiversität in der Stadt. Forum der Geoökologie 19, 28-31 ("Diversity next door. Biodiversity in town." Only available in German but with a short abstract in English)
Knapp, S., Kühn, I., Mosbrugger, V. & Klotz, S. (2006) Artenvielfalt in Schutzgebieten der Stadt Halle (Saale) und des Saalkreises - ein Stadt-Land-Vergleich. (Species diversity in the protected areas of Halle and Saalkreis, Central Germany - a comparison of city and countryside) Geobotanische Kolloquien 20, 21-30. Frankfurt am Main.
Hoechstetter, S., Wahr, J., Knapp, S., Klotz, S., Uhl, D., Thiv, M. & Mosbrugger, V. (2005) Muster der Biodiversität von Gefäßpflanzen in Baden-Württemberg - eine geostatistische Analyse abiotischer Einflussfaktoren (Biodiversity patterns of vascular plants in Baden-Wuerttemberg (SW-Germany) - a geostatistical analysis of abiotic factors). Stuttgarter Beiträge zur Naturkunde Serie A (Biologie), Nr.676
Awarded 3rd prize at the 4th UFZ-PhD conference (1st session) in Leipzig, April 2008, for the talk "The urban hotspot is not that hot: patterns of plant biodiversity in urban areas". The three best talks out of each of the two parallel sessions were awarded.