Plant bud. Photo: André Künzelmann/UFZ

Department of Physiological Diversity


In 1959, GE Hutchinson posed one of ecology’s most important and enduring questions: Why are there so many species? Answers to this question have a new urgency because of human-driven environmental change. New questions we address are: how will multiple environmental changes affect species diversity, and what are the consequences of losing species for ecosystems? How do the numbers and types of environmental change factors (nutrients, water, temperature, toxins, etc.) depend on each other, and what minimum level of complexity do we need to understand in order to predict species loss?

Recent Publications

2018 (20)

  • Anderson, T.M., Griffith, D.M., Grace, J.B., Lind, E.M., Adler, P.B., Biederman, L.A., Blumenthal, D.M., Daleo, P., Firn, J., Hagenah, N., Harpole, W.S., MacDougall, A.S., McCulley, R.L., Prober, S.M., Risch, A.C., Sankaran, M., Schuetz, M., Seabloom, E.W., Stevens, C.J., Sullivan, L.L., Wragg, P.D., Borer, E.T., (2018):
    Herbivory and eutrophication mediate grassland plant nutrient responses across a global climatic gradient
    Ecology 99 (4), 822 - 831
    full text (url)
  • Bachmann, D., Roscher, C., Buchmann, N., (2018):
    How do leaf trait values change spatially and temporally with light availability in a grassland diversity experiment?
    Oikos 127 (7), 935 - 948
    full text (url)
  • Bannar-Martin, K.H., Kremer, C.T., Ernest, S.K.M., Leibold, M.A., Auge, H., Chase, J., Declerck, S.A.J., Eisenhauer, N., Harpole, S., Hillebrand, H., Isbell, F., Koffel, T., Larsen, S., Narwani, A., Petermann, J.S., Roscher, C., Cabral, J.S., Supp, S.R., (2018):
    Integrating community assembly and biodiversity to better understand ecosystem function: the Community Assembly and the Functioning of Ecosystems (CAFE) approach
    Ecol. Lett. 21 (2), 167 - 180
    full text (url)
  • Buchmann, T., Schumacher, J., Ebeling, A., Eisenhauer, N., Fischer, M., Gleixner, G., Hacker, N., Lange, M., Oelmann, Y., Schulze, E.-D., Weigelt, A., Weisser, W.W., Wilcke, W., Roscher, C., (2018):
    Connecting experimental biodiversity research to real-world grasslands
    Perspect. Plant Ecol. Evol. Syst. 33 , 78 - 88
    full text (url)
  • Clark, A.T., Lehman, C., Tilman, D., (2018):
    Identifying mechanisms that structure ecological communities by snapping model parameters to empirically observed tradeoffs
    Ecol. Lett. 21 (4), 494 - 505
    full text (url)
  • Dunker, S., Wilhelm, C., (2018):
    Cell wall structure of coccoid green algae as an important trade-off between biotic interference mechanisms and multidimensional cell growth
    Front. Microbiol. 9 , art. 719
    full text (url)
  • Frater, P.N., Borer, E.T., Fay, P.A., Jin, V., Knaeble, B., Seabloom, E., Sullivan, L., Wedin, D.A., Harpole, W.S., (2018):
    Nutrients and environment influence arbuscular mycorrhizal colonization both independently and interactively in Schizachyrium scoparium
    Plant Soil 425 (1–2), 493 - 506
    full text (url)
  • Guderle, M., Bachmann, D., Milcu, A., Gockele, A., Bechmann, M., Fischer, C., Roscher, C., Landais, D., Ravel, O., Devidal, S., Roy, J., Gessler, A., Buchmann, N., Weigelt, A., Hildebrandt, A., (2018):
    Dynamic niche partitioning in root water uptake facilitates efficient water use in more diverse grassland plant communities
    Funct. Ecol. 32 (2), 214 - 227
    full text (url)
  • Guiz, J., Ebeling, A., Eisenhauer, N., Hacker, N., Hertzog, L., Oelmann, Y., Roscher, C., Wagg, C., Hillebrand, H., (2018):
    Interspecific competition alters leaf stoichiometry in 20 grassland species
    Oikos 127 (7), 903 - 914
    full text (url)
  • Hautier, Y., Isbell, F., Borer, E.T., Seabloom, E.W., Harpole, W.S., Lind, E.M., MacDougall, A.S., Stevens, C.J., Adler, P.B., Alberti, J., Bakker, J.D., Brudvig, L.A., Buckley, Y.M., Cadotte, M., Caldeira, M.C., Chaneton, E.J., Chu, C., Daleo, P., Dickman, C.R., Dwyer, J.M., Eskelinen, A., Fay, P.A., Firn, J., Hagenah, N., Hillebrand, H., Iribarne, O., Kirkman, K.P., Knops, J.M.H., Pierre, K.J.L., McCulley, R.L., Morgan, J.W., Pärtel, M., Pascual, J., Price, J.N., Prober, S.M., Risch, A.C., Sankaran, M., Schuetz, M., Standish, R.J., Virtanen, R., Wardle, G.M., Yahdjian, L., Hector, A., (2018):
    Local loss and spatial homogenization of plant diversity reduce ecosystem multifunctionality
    Nat. Ecol. Evol. 2 (1), 50 - 56
    full text (url)
  • Hillebrand, H., Blasius, B., Borer, E.T., Chase, J.M., Downing, J.A., Eriksson, B.K., Filstrup, C.T., Harpole, W.S., Larsen, S., Lewandowska, A.M., Seabloom, E.W., Van de Waal, D.B., Ryabov, A.B., (2018):
    Biodiversity change is uncoupled from species richness trends: Consequences for conservation and monitoring
    J. Appl. Ecol. 55 (1), 169 - 184
    full text (url)
  • Hodapp, , Borer, E.T., Harpole, W.S., Lind, E.M., Seabloom, E.W., Adler, P.B., Alberti, J., Arnillas, C.A., Bakker, J.D., Biederman, L., Cadotte, M., Cleland, E.E., Collins, S., Fay, P.A., Firn, J., Hagenah, N., Hautier, Y., Iribarne, O., Knops, J.M.H., McCulley, R.L., MacDougall, A., Moore, J.L., Morgan, J.W., Mortensen, B., La Pierre, K.J., Risch, A.C., Schütz, M., Peri, P., Stevens, C.J., Wright, J., Hillebrand, H., (2018):
    Spatial heterogeneity in species composition constrains plant community responses to herbivory and fertilisation
    Ecol. Lett. 21 (9), 1364 - 1371
    full text (url)
  • Jyväsjärvi, J., Virtanen, R., Ilmonen, J., Paasivirta, L., Muotka, T., (2018):
    Identifying taxonomic and functional surrogates for spring biodiversity conservation
    Conserv. Biol. 32 (4), 883 - 893
    full text (url)
  • Maliniemi, T., Kapfer, J., Saccone, P., Skog, A., Virtanen, R., (2018):
    Long‐term vegetation changes of treeless heath communities in northern Fennoscandia: Links to climate change trends and reindeer grazing
    J. Veg. Sci. 29 (3), 469 - 479
    full text (url)
  • Meyer, S.T., Ptacnik, R., Hillebrand, H., Bessler, H., Buchmann, N., Ebeling, A., Eisenhauer, N., Engels, C., Fischer, M., Halle, S., Klein, A.-M., Oelmann, Y., Roscher, C., Rottstock, T., Scherber, C., Scheu, S., Schmid, B., Schulze, E.-D., Temperton, V.M., Tscharntke, T., Voigt, W., Weigelt, A., Wilcke, W., Weisser, W.W., (2018):
    Biodiversity–multifunctionality relationships depend on identity and number of measured functions
    Nat. Ecol. Evol. 2 , 44 - 49
    full text (url)
  • Mortensen, B., Danielson, B., Harpole, W.S., Alberti, J., Arnillas, C.A., Biederman, L., Borer, E.T., Cadotte, M.W., Dwyer, J.M., Hagenah, N., Hautier, Y., Peri, P.L., Seabloom, E.W., (2018):
    Herbivores safeguard plant diversity by reducing variability in dominance
    J. Ecol. 106 (1), 101 - 112
    full text (url)
  • Roscher, C., Gubsch, M., Lipowsky, A., Schumacher, J., Weigelt, A., Buchmann, N., Schulze, E.-D., Schmid, B., (2018):
    Trait means, trait plasticity and trait differences to other species jointly explain species performances in grasslands of varying diversity
    Oikos 127 (6), 855 - 865
    full text (url)
  • Roscher, C., Schumacher, J., Gubsch, M., Lipowsky, A., Weigelt, A., Buchmann, N., Schmid, B., Schulze, E.-D., (2018):
    Origin context of trait data matters for predictions of community performance in a grassland biodiversity experiment
    Ecology 99 (5), 1214 - 1226
    full text (url)
  • Roscher, C., Schumacher, J., Gubsch, M., Lipowsky, A., Weigelt, A., Buchmann, N., Schulze, E.-D., Schmid, B., (2018):
    Interspecific trait differences rather than intraspecific trait variation increase the extent and filling of community trait space with increasing plant diversity in experimental grasslands
    Perspect. Plant Ecol. Evol. Syst. 33 , 42 - 50
    full text (url)
  • Schulze, E.D., Bouriaud, O., Weber, U., Roscher, C., Hessenmoeller, D., Kroiher, F., Schall, P., (2018):
    Management breaks the natural productivity-biodiversity relationship in forests and grassland: an opinion
    For. Ecosyst. 5 , art. 3
    full text (url)

2017 (25)

  • Biederman, L.A., Phelps, J., Ross, B.J., Polzin, M., Harpole, W.S., (2017):
    Biochar and manure alter few aspects of praire development: A field test
    Agric. Ecosyst. Environ. 236 , 78 - 87
    full text (url)
  • Borer, E.T., Grace, J.B., Harpole, W.S., MacDougall, A.S., Seabloom, E.W., (2017):
    A decade of insights into grassland ecosystem responses to global environmental change
    Nat. Ecol. Evol. 1 (5), art. 0118
    full text (url)
  • Ceulemans, T., Bodé, S., Bollyn, J., Harpole, S., Coorevits, K., Peeters, G., Van Acker, K., Smolders, E., Boeckx, P., Honnay, O., (2017):
    Phosphorus resource partitioning shapes phosphorus acquisition and plant species abundance in grasslands
    Nat. Plants 3 , art. 16224
    full text (url)
  • Dietrich, P., Buchmann, T., Cesarz, S., Eisenhauer, N., Roscher, C., (2017):
    Fertilization, soil and plant community characteristics determine soil microbial activity in managed temperate grasslands
    Plant Soil 419 (1–2), 189 - 199
    full text (url)
  • Dunker, S., Althammer, J., Pohnert, G., Wilhelm, C., (2017):
    A fateful meeting of two phytoplankton species—Chemical vs. cell-cell-interactions in co-cultures of the green algae Oocystis marsonii and the cyanobacterium Microcystis aeruginosa
    Microb. Ecol. 74 (1), 22 - 32
    full text (url)
  • Eskelinen, A., Kaarlejärvi, E., Olofsson, J., (2017):
    Herbivory and nutrient limitation protect warming tundra from lowland species’ invasion and diversity loss
    Glob. Change Biol. 23 (1), 245 - 255
    full text (url)
  • Fergus, A.J.F., Gerighausen, U., Roscher, C., (2017):
    Vascular plant diversity structures bryophyte colonization in experimental grassland
    J. Veg. Sci. 28 (5), 903 - 914
    full text (url)
  • Gravuer, K., Eskelinen, A., (2017):
    Nutrient and rainfall additions shift phylogenetically estimated traits of soil microbial communities
    Front. Microbiol. 8 , art. 1271
    full text (url)
  • Guerrero-Ramírez, N.R., Craven, D., Reich, P.B., Ewel, J.J., Isbell, F., Koricheva, J., Parrotta, J.A., Auge, H., Erickson, H.E., Forrester, D.I., Hector, A., Joshi, J., Montagnini, F., Palmborg, C., Piotto, D., Potvin, C., Roscher, C., van Ruijven, J., Tilman, D., Wilsey, B., Eisenhauer, N., (2017):
    Diversity-dependent temporal divergence of ecosystem functioning in experimental ecosystems
    Nat. Ecol. Evol. 1 (11), 1639 - 1642
    full text (url)
  • Harpole, W.S., Sullivan, L.L., Lind, E.M., Firn, J., Adler, P.B., Borer, E.T., Chase, J., Fay, P.A., Hautier, Y., Hillebrand, H., MacDougall, A.S., Seabloom, E.W., Bakker, J.D., Cadotte, M.W., Chaneton, E.J., Chu, C., Hagenah, N., Kirkman, K., La Pierre, K.J., Moore, J.L., Morgan, J.W., Prober, S.M., Risch, A.C., Schuetz, M., Stevens, C.J., (2017):
    Out of the shadows: multiple nutrient limitations drive relationships among biomass, light and plant diversity
    Funct. Ecol. 31 (9), 1839 - 1846
    full text (url)
  • Heino, J., Soininen, J., Alahuhta, J., Lappalainen, J., Virtanen, R., (2017):
    Metacommunity ecology meets biogeography: effects of geographical region, spatial dynamics and environmental filtering on community structure in aquatic organisms
    Oecologia 183 (1), 121 - 137
    full text (url)
  • Kaarlejärvi, E., Eskelinen, A., Olofsson, J., (2017):
    Author Correction: Herbivores rescue diversity in warming tundra by modulating trait-dependent species losses and gains (vol 8, 419, 2017)
    Nat. Commun. 8 , art. 2283
    full text (url)
  • Kaarlejärvi, E., Eskelinen, A., Olofsson, J., (2017):
    Herbivores rescue diversity in warming tundra by modulating trait-dependent species losses and gains
    Nat. Commun. 8 , art. 419
    full text (url)
  • Lehosmaa, K., Jyväsjärvi, J., Virtanen, R., Ilmonen, J., Saastamoinen, J., Muotka, T., (2017):
    Anthropogenic habitat disturbance induces a major biodiversity change in habitat specialist bryophytes of boreal springs
    Biol. Conserv. 215 , 169 - 178
    full text (url)
  • Meyer, S.T., Scheithe, L., Hertzog, , Ebeling, A., Wagg, C., Roscher, C., Weisser, W.W., (2017):
    Consistent increase in herbivory along two experimental plant diversity gradients over multiple years
    Ecosphere 8 (7), e01876
    full text (url)
  • Milcu, A., Gessler, A., Roscher, C., Rose, L., Kayler, Z., Bachmann, D., Pirhofer-Walzl, K., Zavadlav, S., Galiano, L., Buchmann, T., Scherer-Lorenzen, M., Roy, J., (2017):
    Top canopy nitrogen allocation linked to increased grassland carbon uptake in stands of varying species richness
    Sci. Rep. 7 , art. 8392
    full text (url)
  • Roeder, A., Schweingruber, F.H., Fischer, M., Roscher, C., (2017):
    Growth ring analysis of multiple dicotyledonous herb species—A novel community-wide approach
    Basic Appl. Ecol. 21 , 23 - 33
    full text (url)
  • Saccone, P., Hoikka, K., Virtanen, R., (2017):
    What if plant functional types conceal species-specific responses to environment? Study on arctic shrub communities
    Ecology 98 (6), 1600 - 1612
    full text (url)
  • Siebenkäs, A., Schumacher, J., Roscher, C., (2017):
    Trait variation in response to resource availability and plant diversity modulates functional dissimilarity among species in experimental grasslands
    J. Plant Ecol. 10 (6), 981 - 993
    full text (url)
  • Steinauer, K., Fischer, F.M., Roscher, C., Scheu, S., Eisenhauer, N., (2017):
    Spatial plant resource acquisition traits explain plant community effects on soil microbial properties
    Pedobiologia 65 , 50 - 57
    full text (url)
  • Vuorinen, K.E.M., Oksanen, L., Oksanen, T., Pyykönen, A., Olofsson, J., Virtanen, R., (2017):
    Open tundra persist, but arctic features decline—Vegetation changes in the warming Fennoscandian tundra
    Glob. Change Biol. 23 (9), 3794 - 3807
    full text (url)
  • Wagg, C., Ebeling, E., Roscher, C., Ravenek, J., Bachmann, D., Eisenhauer, N., Mommer, L., Buchmann, N., Hillebrand, H., Schmid, B., Weisser, W.W., (2017):
    Functional trait dissimilarity drives both species complementarity and competitive disparity
    Funct. Ecol. 31 (12), 2320 - 2329
    full text (url)
  • Weisser, W.W., Roscher, C., Meyer, S., Ebeling, A., Luo, G., Allan, E., Beßler, H., Barnard, R., Buchmann, N., Buscot, F., Engels, C., Fischer, C., Fischer, M., Gessler, A., Gleixner, G., Halle, S., Hildebrandt, A., Hillebrand, H., de Kroon, H., Lange, M., Leimer, S., Le Roux, X., Milcu, A., Mommer, L., Niklaus, P.A., Oelmann, Y., Proulx, R., Roy, J., Scherber, C., Scherer-Lorenzen, M., Scheu, S., Tscharntke, T., Wachendorf, M., Wagg, C., Weigelt, A., Wilcke, W., Wirth, C., Schulze, E.-D., Schmid, B., Eisenhauer, N., (2017):
    Biodiversity effects on ecosystem functioning in a 15-year grassland experiment: Patterns, mechanisms, and open questions
    Basic Appl. Ecol. 23 , 1 - 73
    full text (url)
  • Wilcox, K.R., Tredennick, A.T., Koerner, S.E., Grman, E., Hallett, L.M., Avolio, M.L., La Pierre, K.J., Houseman, G.R., Isbell, F., Johnson, D.S., Alatalo, J.M., Baldwin, A.H., Bork, E.W., Boughton, E.H., Bowman, W.D., Britton, A.J., Cahill jr., J.F., Collins, S.L., Du, G., Eskelinen, A., Gough, L., Jentsch, A., Kern, C., Klanderud, K., Knapp, A.K., Kreyling, J., Luo, Y., McLaren, J.R., Megonigal, P., Onipchenko, V., Prevéy, J., Price, J.N., Robinson, C.H., Sala, O.E., Smith, M.D., Soudzilovskaia, N.A., Souza, L., Tilman, D., White, S.R., Xu, Z., Yahdjian, L., Yu, Q., Zhang, P., Zhang, Y., (2017):
    Asynchrony among local communities stabilises ecosystem function of metacommunities
    Ecol. Lett. 20 (12), 1534 - 1545
    full text (url)
  • Wright, A.J., de Kroon, H., Visser, E.J.W., Buchmann, T., Ebeling, A., Eisenhauer, N., Fischer, C., Hildebrandt, A., Ravenek, J., Roscher, C., Weigelt, A., Weisser, W., Voesenek, L.A.C.J., Mommer, L., (2017):
    Plants are less negatively affected by flooding when growing in species-rich plant communities
    New Phytol. 213 (2), 645 - 656
    full text (url)