Maria-Theresa Jessen

Maria-Theresa Jessen
PhD student

Department Physiological Diversity
German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig
Deutscher Platz 5a
04105 Leipzig

Tel:+49 341 9733211



I am a plant ecologist interested in the role of light competition for plant community composition and diversity. The life stage of plants I have specialized in are seedlings.

Research interests

My PhD is focusing on the role of light and traits on plant community composition and diversity in grassland and in tundra in an anthropocentric context. Light competiton as a mechanism driving plant community diversity and composition has long been acknowledged in theory, but has only rarely been tested by directly adding light to light limited community members.

My field experiments in Bad Lauchstädt are part of the eDiValo project. In the first instance I want to compare the impact of different light manipulation methods (tie back, neighbour removal and LED lamps) on the perfomance of phytometer plants in the field. Furthermore I want to study the (interactive) effects of nutrient enrichment, sheep exclosure, light addition and climate change on germination, survival, perfomance and trait expression of herbaceous seeds/seedlings with a special focus on the role of litter.

To complement results from an artifically set up grassland ecosystem I will collect trait data from a tundra site in Kilpisjärvi (northern Finland).

Outside the scope of my PhD project I am very much interested in forest ecology and management, seedlings of all kinds, dendrochronology and high latitude ecosystems.

Research site for trait sampling in Kilpisjärvi (Finland).
Tie back
Comparison of light manipulation methods in Bad Lauchstädt (Germany) - tie backs.
Comparison of light manipulation methods in Bad Lauchstädt (Germany) - LED lamps.

since October 2017

2015 - 2017

2011 - 2015

PhD at Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ/German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig 

M.Sc. in Ecology at Umeå University (Sweden)
Thesis topic: Effecs of climate warming on the performance of three boreal tree seedling species in interaction with moss cover and fire history

B.Sc. in International Forest Ecosystem Management at University for Sustainable Development Eberswalde (HNEE) 


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