Ralf Schäfer

Ralf Schäfer

Ralf received his diploma in Environmental Sciences in 2003 at the University of Lueneburg. He is specialised in environmental chemistry and ecotoxicology and is experienced in both chemical and statistical analysis. He joined our working group and received a scholarship of the "Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes" in November 2004.

Ralf is mainly interested in the study of fate and effects of pesticides. His research dealt with the impacts of pesticides on aquatic macroinvertebrate communities. The aim was to identify the underlying mechanisms of the reaction to toxicants and to investigate the importance of life history traits as well as ecological relations in the living communities. Thiswas achieved by conducting field experiments and mesocosm studies. The gained knowledge was then incorporated into an ecotoxicological model to support the risk assessment of pesticides.

Professional experience


Since 11/2004

Scholarship of the "Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes", PhD student at the UFZ - Centre for Environmental Research, Leipzig, Germany.

04/2004 - 11/2004

Research assistant at the UFZ - Centre for Environmental Research, Leipzig, Germany

05/2003 - 04/2004

First degree of M.A. in Sociology, University Kassel, Germany. Studies in Statistics, Sociology and Philosophy.

10/1998 - 05/2003

Diploma of Environmental Science, University Lueneburg, Germany. Diploma thesis on "Pesticides in rivers of lower saxony" at the Department of Ecology and Environmental Chemistry in cooperation with the Lower Saxony Federal Institute of Ecology, Hildesheim, Germany.

10/1997 - 10/1998

University Oldenburg, Germany, Study of Marine Environmental Science.


Lower Saxony Federal Institute for Ecology, Hildesheim, Germany. Chemical analysis of pesticides.

02/2000 - 05/2000
Institute for Chemical Technology, Department of Ecotoxicology, VSCHT, Prague, Czech Republic. Studies on the impacts of salinity on growth inhibition tests.

Chemical laboratory of the waste water plant, Kassel, Germany. Study on the degradation of the medicament Solutrast.



Lecture (in German): Multivariate statistics in the Environmental Sciences – Introduction with R. University Koblenz-Landau, Landau, Germany.

10/2002 – 04/2003

Tutor of the lecture (in German): Introduction to mathematics for natural scientists.
University Kassel, Germany.

04/2001 – 10/2001

Tutorial lecture (in German): Exercises in statistics for environmental scientists. Leuphana University, Lüneburg, Germany.


peer- reviewed


Liess M, Schäfer RB, Schriever CA. 2007. The footprint of pesticide stress in communities - species traits reveal community effects of toxicants. Science of the Total Environment. accepted.

Gunold R, Schäfer RB, Paschke A, Schüürmann G, Liess M. 2007. Calibration of the Chemcatcher passive sampler for monitoring selected polar and semi-polar pesticides in surface water. Environmental Pollution. accepted.

Schäfer RB, Lagadic L, Raucoute M, Caquet T, Siimes K, Liess M. 2007. Effects of pesticides on community structure and ecosystem functions in agricultural streams of three biogeographical regions in Europe. Science of the Total Environment. 382: 272-285.

Schäfer RB, Mueller R, Brack W, Wenzel K-D, Ruck W, Streck G, Liess M. 2007. Determination of 10 particle-associated multiclass polar and semi-polar pesticides from small streams using accelerated solvent extraction. Chemosphere. in press.

Schäfer RB, Paschke A, Vrana B, Mueller R, Liess M. 2007. Comparison of the performance of the ChemcatcherTM passive sampler, a suspended particles sampler and an event-driven water sampler when used to determine exposure to polar and semi-polar pesticides in streams.
Water research. submitted

von der Ohe PC, Prüß A, Schäfer RB, Liess M, Deckere Ed, Brack W. 2007. Water quality indices across Europe - a comparison of the good ecological status of five river basins. Journal of Environmental Monitoring. 9: 970-978.


Schäfer RB, Palm W-U, Steffen D, Ruck W. 2004. Plant-treatment and pest-control agents in rivers of Lower Saxony from 1994 to 2001. Hydrologie und Wasserbewirtschaftung 48: 117-125. (in German, english Abstract, Figures and Tables)

non peer- reviewed


Schäfer RB, Liess M. 2005. Long-term effects of pesticides in the field. In: Wasserwirtschaft BLf, ed, Münchner Beiträge zur Abwasser-, Fischerei und Flussbiologie, 1. ed, Vol 57. Oldenbourg, München, pp 217-243. (in German, book chapter)


Schäfer, RB. 2003. Pesticides in rivers of Lower Saxony. Hildesheim: Niedersächsisches Landesamt für Ökologie. Series: Surface waters 19/2003, 48 p. (in German, report)