Dr. Alfred Burian

Alfred Burian


Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ
Department of Computational Landscape Ecology
Permoserstraße 15
04318 Leipzig

Phone: +49 341 235 1948
Alfred Burian

Research interests

  • Biodiversity research
  • Agroecology
  • Ecosystem health
  • Community ecology


Intensification traps: Intensification traps describe the phenomenon that over-intensification of conventional agriculture may lead to lose-lose situations. These lose-lose situations are emerging when too high management intensities result in reduced agricultural production and critical biodiversity loss. In my work, I assess mechanistic drivers of intensification traps and try to develop policy guidelines for their prevention.

Ecosystem health: The quantification of ecosystem health is a challenge that is fundamentally complicated by the complexity and variability of natural ecosystems. Nonetheless is the reliable assessment of ecosystem health a crucial management requirement for adaptive responses to climate warming, habitat degradation and other anthropogenic stressors. Therefore, a second major target of my work is to evaluate potential ecosystem health indices and test their suitability for broad-scale application in ecosystem management.


1. Rahman M., Burian A., Creedy T. J. & Vogler A. (2022) DNA-based assessment of environmental degradation in an unknown fauna: the freshwater macroinvertebrates of the Indo-Burmese hotspot. Applied Ecology accepted (IF: 6.2)*
2. Burian A., Pinn D., Peralta-Maraver I., Mauvisseau Q., Sweet M., Oyice O. Bulling, M. and Kratina P. (2021) Predation increases multiple components of microbial diversity in activated sludge communities. Publication aim: ISME, accepted (IF: 10.2)
3. Burian A., Mauvisseau Q., Bulling M., Domisch S., Qian S. & Sweet M (2021) Improving the reliability of eDNA data
interpretation. Molecular Ecology Resources, 21 (5), 1422-1433 (IF: 7.0)
4. Röthig T., Puntin G., Wong J.C.V, Burian A., McLeod W. & Baker D.M (2021) Holobiont interplay regulates nutrient dynamics in the photosymbiotic Cassiopea xamachana, Microbiome, accepted (IF: 10.2)
5. Troth C., Sweet M., Nightingale J. & Burian A (2021) Seasonality, DNA degradation and spatial heterogeneity as drivers of eDNA dynamics. Science of The Total Envir., 768, 144466 (IF: 6.0)
6. Sweet M., Burian A. & Bulling M (2021) Corals as canaries in the coalmine: towards the incorporation of marine ecosystems into the ‘One Health’ concept. Journal of Invertebrate Pathology, accepted (IF: 2.6)
7. Mauvisseau Q., Halfmaerten D., Neyrinck S., Burian A. & Brys R. (2021) Effects of preservation strategies on environmental DNA detection and quantification. Environmental DNA Journal accepted (IF: 5.4)
8. Troth C., Burian A., Mauvisseau Q., Bulling M., Nightingale J., Mauvisseau C. & Sweet M. (2020) Development and
application of eDNA-based tools for the conservation of white-clawed crayfish. Science of The Total Envir., 748, 141394
(IF: 6.0)
9. Burian A., Nielsen J. M., Hansen T., Bermudez R. & Winder M. (2020) The potential for using fatty acid isotope values for
tracing energy flows in aquatic food-webs. Phil. Trans. Royal Soc. B, 375 (1840). (IF: 6.4)
10. Burian A., Nielsen J. M. & Winder M (2020) Food quantity-quality interactions and their impact on consumer behavior and trophic transfer. Ecol. Monographs, 90 (1), e01395. (IF: 9.1) Featured in the Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America, doi: 10.1002/bes2.1661
11. Stelfox M., Burian A., Shanker K., Rees A., Jean C., Willson M., Manik N. & Sweet M. (2020) Tracing the origin of olive ridley turtles entangled in ghost nets in the Maldives: a phylogeographic assessment of populations at risk. Biological Conservation, 245, 108499 (IF: 5.4)
12. Sweet M., Burian A., Fifer J., Bulling M. & Raymundo L. (2019) Organised chaos in the microbiome of a new slow-spreading coral disease. Equally contributing first author. Microbiome, 7, 139. (IF: 10.2)
13. Burian A., Kayara R., Wernersson J. E. V., Egbert M., Enfors E., Lokorow B. & Nyberg G. (2019) A community-based evaluation of population growth and agro-pastoralist resilience in Sub-Saharan drylands. Environmental Science and Policy, 92, 323-330. (IF: 5.7)
14. Mauvisseau Q., Troth C., Young E., Burian A. & Sweet M. (2019) The development of an eDNA based detection method for the invasive shrimp Dikerogammarus haemobaphes in the United Kingdom. Management of Biological Invasions, 10 (3), 449-460 (IF: 2.1)*
15. Paseka R. E., Bratt A. R., MacNeill K. L., Burian. A. & See C. R. (2019) Elemental ratios link environmental change and human health. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, doi.org/10.3389/fevo.2019.00378 (IF: 2.5)
16. Mauvisseau Q., Burian A., Gibson C., Brys R., Ramsey A. & Sweet M. (2018) The reliability of eDNA-based assays: Consequences of accuracy, precision and detection probability for sampling protocols. Scientific Reports, 9, 580. (IF: 4.5)*
17. Mauvisseau Q., Davy-Bowker J., Bryson D., Souch R. G., Burian A., Sweet M. (2018) First detection of a highly invasive freshwater amphipod (Crangonyx floridanus) in the United Kingdom. BioInvasions Records, 8 (1), 1-7 (IF: 1.2)*
18. Burian A., Grosse J., Winder M. & Boscker H.T.J. (2017) Nutrient deficiencies and the limits of compensatory mechanisms in copepods. Functional Ecology, 32 (2), 636-647. (IF: 5.4)
19. Winder M., Burian A., Landrey M., Montagnes D. & Nielsen J. M. (2016) Technical comment on temperature driven changes in the diet preference of omnivorous copepods: no more meat when it’s hot? Ecology Letters, 19, 1389–1391. (IF: 12.7)
20. Burian A., Schagerl M., Yasindi A.W., Kaggwa M.N. & Winder M. (2016) Benthic-pelagic coupling drives non-seasonal zooplankton blooms and restructures energy flows in tropical food-webs. Limnology & Oceanography, 61, 795–805. (IF: 3.8)
21. Schagerl M. & Burian A. (2016) The ecology of East-African soda-lakes. In: Soda Lakes of East Africa, Springer, Frankfurt.
22. Lange S., Burian A., et al. (2015) BMAA extraction of cyanobacteria samples: which method to choose? Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 23, 338-3350. (IF: 2.9)
23. Golz A.L., Burian A. & Winder M. (2015) Stoichiometric regulation in micro- and mesozooplankton. Journal of Plankton Research, 37, 293-305. (IF: 2.3)*
24. Schagerl M., Burian A., Gruber-Dorniger M., Odour S. & Kaggwa M.N. & Winder M. (2015) Algal communities of Kenyan soda lakes with a special focus on Arthrospira fusiformis. Fottea, 15, 245-257. (IF: 1.6)
25. Burian A., Kainz J.M., Schagerl M. & Yasindi A.W. (2014) Species-specific separation of lake plankton reveals divergent food assimilation patterns in rotifers. Freshwater Biology, 59, 1257-1265. (IF: 3.7)
26. Burian A., Schagerl M. & Yasindi A.W. (2013) Microzooplankton feeding behavior: grazing on the microbial and the classical food web of African soda lakes. Hydrobiologia, 49, 51–57. (IF: 2.2)
27. Kaggwa M.N., Burian A., Odour S. & Schagerl M. (2013) Ecomorphological variability of Arthrospira fusiformis (Cyanoprokaryota) in African soda lakes. Microbiology Open, 2, 881-891. (IF: 2.6)

Manuscripts currently under review

28. Burian A., Gruber-Dohringer M., Jirsa F., Bulling M., Muia A. W., Schweichhart J., Yasindi A. & Schagerl M. (submitted) How productivity gradients structure microbial food-webs. Ecology, submitted in May 2022 (IF: 5.5)
29. Burian A., Norton B., Reynolds S., Lynch P., Sweet M., Alston D. & Bulling M. (submitted) Cost-effective management of multi-level trade-offs in grasslands. Ecology Letters, submitted in May 2022 (IF: 9.5)
30. Garibaldi L. A., Goldenberg M. G., Burian A., Santibañez F., Satorre E., Martini G. & Seppelt R. (submitted) Smaller agricultural fields, more edges, and natural habitats reduce herbicide-resistant weeds. Ecological Applications, major corrections submitted in April 2022 (IF: 4.3)
31. Burian A., Bruce K., Tovela E., Bakker J., Balcells L., Bennett R., Chordekar S., Costa H. M., Crampton-Platt A., de Boer H., Ross-Gillespie V., de Sacramento A., Sidat N., Simbine L., Ready J. & Mauvisseau Q. (submitted) Merging two eDNA metabarcoding approaches and citizen-science based sampling to characterise fish communities along vast Sub-Saharan coastlines. Molecular Ecology Resources, submitted in May 2022 (IF: 7.0)
32. Goldenberg M. G., Burian A., Seppelt R., Santibañez F., Bagnato C. E., Satorre E., Martini G. Garibaldi L. A. (submitted) Exploring connections between natural habitat, agricultural input, and on-farm crop yield for soybean and maize fields in Argentina. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, under revision, submitted in Jan. 2022 (IF: 4.2)