Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Klaus Birkhofer

Head of Department of Ecology, Brandenburg University of Technology

Publications (peer-reviewed only)


Michalko R & Birkhofer K (2021) Habitat niches suggest that non-crop habitat types differ in quality as source habitats for Central European agrobiont spiders. Agriculture, Ecosystem and Environment 308: 107248

Fotang C,...Birkhofer K (accepted) Human activity and forest fragmentation threaten populations of the Nigeria-Cameroon Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes ellioti) in Western Cameroon. International Journal of Primatology

Němec T, Birkhofer K et al. (accepted) Stable isotope analysis as a method to investigate land-snail food partitioning: a case study from Central European floodplain forest. Journal of Zoology


Kundel D et al. (2020) Effects of simulated drought on biological soil quality, microbial diversity and yields under long-term conventional and organic agriculture. FEMS Microbiology Ecology

Nuñez A et al. (2020) Crop diversity benefits carabid and pollinator communities in landscapes with semi-natural habitats. Journal of Applied Ecology

Lowe L et al. (2020) Towards establishment of a centralized spider traits database. Journal of Arachnology 48:103-109

Tluste C et al. (2020) Morphometric traits of shells determine utilization marks in the Roman Snail in eastern Germany. Web Ecology 20: 87-94

Damptey et al. (2020) Soil properties and biomass attributes in a former gravel mine area after two decades of forest restoration. Land 9: 209

Tschumi M et al. (2020) Woody elements benefit bird diversity to a larger extent than semi-natural grasslands in cereal-dominated landscapes. Basic and Applied Ecology 46:15-23

Cardoso P et al. (2020) Scientists’ warning to humanity on insect extinctions. Biological Conservation 242: 108426

Samways M et al.  et al. (2020) Solutions for humanity on how to conserve insects. Biological Conservation 242: 108427

Arvidsson F et al. (2020) Weed species, not mulching, affect web-building spiders and their prey in organic fruit orchards in South Africa. Ecosphere 11: e03059

Wanner M et al. (2020) Tolerance of testate amoeba species to rising sea levels under laboratory conditions and in the South Pacific. Pedobiologia 79: 150610

Wanner M et al. (2020) Soil testate amoebae and diatoms as bio-indicators of an old heavy metal contaminated floodplain in Japan. Microbial Ecology 79: 123-133


Birkhofer et al. (2019) Effects of ground cover management on biotic communities, ecosystem services and disservices in organic deciduous fruitfruit orchards in Southa Africa. Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems 3: 107 

Phillips et al. (2019) Global distribution of earthworm diversity. Science 366, 480-485

Ahlswede, S., Fabiano, E. C., Keeping, D., Birkhofer, K.  (2019) Using the Formozov-Malyshev-Pereleshin formula to convert mammal spoor counts into density estimates for long-term community-level monitoring. African Journal of Ecology 57, 177-189


Birkhofer K et al. (2018) A framework to identify indicator species for ecosystem services in agricultural landscapes. Ecological Indicators 91: 278-286.

Birkhofer K et al. (2018) The contribution of EU greening measures to conservation biological control at two spatial scales. Agriculture, Ecosystem & Environment 255: 84-94. DOI: 10.1016/j.agee.2017.12.026

Birkhofer K et al. (2018) Relationships between multiple biodiversity components and ecosystem services along a landscape complexity gradient. Biological Conservation 218: 247-253. DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.12.027

Tschumi M, Ekroos J, Hjort C, Smith HG, Birkhofer K (2018) Predation-mediated ecosystem services and disservices in agricultural landscapes. Ecological Applications 28, 2109-2118.

Tschumi M, Ekroos J, Hjort C, Smith HG, Birkhofer K (2018) Rodents, not birds, dominate predation-related ecosystem services and disservices in vertebrate communities of agricultural landscapes. Oecologia 188: 863-873

Mader V, Diehl E, Wolters V, Birkhofer K (2018) Agri-environmental schemes affect the trophic niche size and diet of common carabid species in agricultural landscapes. Ecological Entomology 43: 823-835

Kundel, D., Meyer, S., Birkhofer, H., Fliessbach, A., Mäder, P., Scheu, S., van Kleunen, M & Birkhofer, K (2018) Design and manual to construct rainout-shelters for climate change experiments in agroecosystems. Frontiers in Environmental Science 6: 14. DOI: 10.3389/fenvs.2018.00014

Karp, DS et al. (2018) Crop pests and predators exhibit inconsistent responses to surrounding landscape composition. PNAS 115: 7863-7870.

Staudacher K, Rennstam Rubbmark O, Birkhofer K, Malsher G, Sint D, Jonsson M, Traugott M (2018) Habitat heterogeneity induces rapid changes in the feeding behaviour of generalist arthropod predators. Functional Ecology 32: 809-819. DOI: 10.1111/1365-2435.13028

Zaitsev AS, Birkhofer K, Ekschmitt K, Wolters V (2018) Belowground tri-trophic cascades modulate soil respiration in grasslands. Pedosphere 28: 114-123. doi:10.1016/S1002-0160(18)60008-6

Berger J, Birkhofer K, Hanson H, Hedlund K (2018) Landscape configuration affects herbivore–parasitoid communities in oilseed rape. Journal of Pest Science 91: 1093-1105. DOI:10.1007/s10340-018-0965-1


Birkhofer K et al. (2017) Methods to identify the prey of invertebrate predators in terrestrial field studies. Ecology and Evolution 7: 1942-1953. DOI:10.1002/ece3.2791

Birkhofer K, Gossner MM, Diekötter T, Drees C, Ferlian O, Maraun M, Scheu S, Weisser WW, Wolters V, Wurst S, Zaitsev AS, Smith HG (2017) Land-use type and intensity differentially filter traits in above- and below-ground arthropod communities. Journal of Animal Ecology 86, 511-520. DOI: 10.1111/1365-2656.12641

Nyffeler M, Birkhofer K (2017) An estimated 400-800 Million tons of prey are annually killed by the global spider community. The Science of Nature 104: 30. DOI:10.1007/s00114-017-1440-1

Nyffeler M, Lapinski W, Snyder A, Birkhofer K (2017) Spiders feeding on earthworms revisited: consumption of giant earthworms in the tropics. Journal of Arachnology 45:242-247

Mader V, Diehl E, Fiedler D, Thorn S, Wolters V, Birkhofer K (2017) Trade-offs in arthropod conservation between productive and non-productive agri-environmental schemes along a landscape complexity gradient. Insect Conservation and Diversity 10: 236-247, DOI: 10.1111/icad.12220

Nilsson L, Andersson GKS, Birkhofer K, Smith HG (2017) Ignoring ecosystem-service cascades undermines policy for multifunctional agricultural landscapes. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 5: 109. DOI: 10.3389/fevo.2017.00109

Palmu E, Birkhofer K, Hanson, HI, Hedlund K (2017) Can hydrogen and oxygen isotope ratios reveal large-scale patterns in dispersal and dietary origin in ground beetles? Applied Soil Ecology 119: 99-103

Eisenhauer et al. (2017) Priorities for research in soil ecology. Pedobiologia 63: 1-7, DOI: 10.1016/j.pedobi.2017.05.003

Hanson H, Birkhofer K, Palmu, E, Smith HG, Hedlund K (2017) Agricultural land use affects abundance and dispersal tendency of predatory arthropods. Basic and Applied Ecology 18: 40-49, DOI: 10.1016/j.baae.2016.10.004

Roubinet E, Birkhofer K, Malsher G, Staudacher K, Ekbom B, Traugott M (2017) Diet of generalist predators reflects effects of cropping season and farming system on extra- and intraguild prey. Ecological Applications 27: 1167-1177, DOI: 10.1002/eap.1510


Birkhofer K, Arvidsson F, Ehlers D, Mader VL, Bengtsson J, Smith HG (2016) Landscape complexity and organic farming independently affect the biological control of hemipteran pests and yields in spring barley. Landscape Ecology 31: 567-579, DOI: 10.1007/s10980-015-0263-8

Birkhofer K et al. (2016) Regional conditions and land-use alter the contribution of soil arthropods to ecosystem services in grasslands. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 3:150, DOI: 10.3389/fevo.2015.00150

Birkhofer K, Smith HG, Rundlöf M (2016) Environmental impacts of organic farming. Wiley eLS, DOI: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0026341

Rundlöf M, Smith HG, Birkhofer K (2016) Effects of organic farming on biodiversity. Wiley eLS, DOI: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0026342

Gossner et al. (2016) Land-use intensification causes homogenization of grassland communities across trophic levels. Nature 540: 266-269, DOI:10.1038/nature20575

Soliveres S et al. (2016) Biodiversity at multiple trophic levels is needed for ecosystem multifunctionality. Nature 536:456-459, DOI:10.1038/nature19092

Diekötter T, Wamser S, Dörner T, Wolters V, Birkhofer K (2016) Organic farming affects the potential of a granivorous carabid beetle to control arable weeds at local and landscape scales. Agricultural and Forest Entomology 18: 167-173, DOI: 10.1111/afe.12150

Arvidsson F, Jonsson L, Birkhofer K (2016) Geographic location, not forest type, affects the diversity of spider communities sampled with malaise traps in Sweden. Annales Zoologici Fennici 53: 215–227, DOI: 10.5735/086.053.0410

Styles D, Börjesson P, d’Hertefeldt T, Birkhofer K, Dauber J, Adams P, Patil S, Pagella T, Pettersson LB, Peck P, Vaneeckhaute C (2016) Climate regulation, energy provisioning and water purification: quantifying ecosystem service delivery of bioenergy willow grown on riparian buffer zones using life cycle assessment. Ambio 45: 872, DOI 10.1007/s13280-016-0790-9

Ekroos J et al. (2016) Sparing land for biodiversity at multiple spatial scales. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 3:145, DOI: 10.3389/fevo.2015.00145

Mader V, Birkhofer K, Fiedler D, Thorn S, Wolters V, Diehl E (2016) Land-use at different spatial scales alters the functional role of web-building spiders in arthropod food-webs. Agriculture, Ecosystem & Environment 219: 152-162, DOI: 10.1016/j.agee.2015.12.017

Hanson H, Palmu E, Birkhofer K, Smith HG, Hedlund K (2016) Agricultural land use determines the trait composition of ground beetle communities. PLoS One 11: e0146329, 10.1371/journal.pone.0146329

Soliveres S et al. (2016) Locally rare species influence grassland ecosystem multifunctionality. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society 371: 20150269, DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2015.0269


Birkhofer K, Smith, HG, Weisser, WW, Wolters V, Gossner M (2015) Land-use effects on the functional distinctness of arthropod communities. Ecography 38: 889-900, DOI: 10.1111/ecog.01141

Birkhofer K, Meub C, Stötzel K, Wolters V, Diekötter T (2015) Optimizing arthropod predator conservation in permanent grasslands by considering diversity components beyond species richness. Agriculture, Ecosystem & Environment 211: 65-72, DOI: 10.1016/j.agee.2015.05.014

Birkhofer K, Diehl E, Andersson J, Ekroos J, Früh-Müller A, Machnikowski F, Mader VL Nilsson L, Sasaki K, Rundlöf M, Wolters V, Smith HG (2015) Ecosystem services – current challenges and opportunities for ecological research. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 2: 1-12, DOI: 10.3389/fevo.2014.00087

Sereda E, Wolters V, Birkhofer K (2015) Addition of crop residues affects a detritus-based food chain depending on litter type and farming system. Basic and Applied Ecology 16: 746-754, DOI: 10.1016/j.baae.2015.07.005

Hines J, Van der Putten WH, De Deyn GB, Wagg C, Voigt W, Mulder C, Weisser WW, Engel J, Melian C, Scheu S, Birkhofer K, Ebeling A, Scherber C, Eisenhauer N (2015) Towards an integration of biodiversity-ecosystem functioning and food web theory to evaluate relationships between multiple ecosystem services. Advances in Ecological Research 53: 161-199, DOI: 10.1016/bs.aecr.2015.09.001

Rusch A, Birkhofer K, Bommarco R, Smith HG, Ekbom B (2015) Predator body sizes and habitat preferences predict predation rates in an agroecosystem. Basic and Applied Ecology 16: 250-259, DOI: 10.1016/j.baae.2015.02.003

Tsiafouli MA, Thébault E, Sgardelis SP, de Ruiter PC, van der Putten WH, Birkhofer K, Hemerik L, de Vries FT, Bardgett RD, Brady MV, Bjornlund L, Jorgensen HB, Christensen S, D’Hertefeldt T, Hotes S, Hol WHG, Frouz J, Liiri M, Mortimer SR, Setälä H, Tzanopoulous J, Uteseny K, Pizl V, Stary J, Wolters V, Hedlund K (2015) Intensive agriculture reduces soil biodiversity across Europe. Global Change Biology 21: 973-985, DOI: 10.1111/gcb.12752

Serbina L, Burckhardt D, Birkhofer K, Syfert M, Halbert SE (2015) The potato pest Russelliana solanicola Tuthill (Hemiptera: Psylloidea): taxonomy and host-plant patterns. Zootaxa 4021: 33-62, doi: 10.11646/zootaxa.4021.1.2.


Birkhofer K, Ekroos J, Corlett B, Smith HG (2014) Winners and losers of organic cereal farming in animal communities across Central and Northern Europe. Biological Conservation 175: 25-33, DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2014.04.014

Birkhofer K, Wolters V, Diekötter T (2014) Grassy margins along organically managed cereal fields foster trait diversity and taxonomic distinctness of arthropod communities. Insect Conservation and Diversity 7: 274-287, DOI: 10.1111/icad.12051

Birkhofer K, Bilde T, Bird T, Lubin YD (2014) Spatial patterns of social spider colonies in Namibia reflect habitat features and dispersal modes. Transactions of the Royal Society of South Africa 69: 1-7, DOI: 10.1080/0035919X.2014.941044

Birkhofer K, Ekroos J, Smith HG (2014) Effects of maize on the diversity of arthropod predators and its value as a resource for arthropod fauna. Nordic Association of Agricultural Science Report 10: 55-56

Sereda E, Blick T, Dorow WHO, Wolters V, Birkhofer K (2014) Assessing spider diversity on the forest floor: expert knowledge beats a regular sampling design. Journal of Arachnology 42: 44-51, Stable URL:

Diekötter T, Wamser S, Wolters V, Birkhofer K (2014) Corrigendum to "Landscape and management effects on structure and function of soil arthropod communities in winter wheat" Agriculture Ecosystem & Environment 137 (1-2) (2010) 108-112]. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 184: 182

Rusch A, Birkhofer K, Bommarco R, Smith HG, Ekbom B (2014) Management intensity at field and landscape levels affects the taxonomic and functional structure of generalist predator communities. Oecologia 175: 971-983, doi:10.1007/s00442-014-2949-z

Effiom E, Birkhofer K, Smith HG, Olssen O (2014) Changes of community composition at multiple trophic levels due to hunting in Nigerian tropical forests. Ecography 37: 367-377, DOI: 10.1111/j.1600-0587.2013.00359.x

Williams A, Birkhofer K, Hedlund K (2014) Above- and below-ground interactions with agricultural management: effects of soil microbial communities on barley and aphids. Pedobiologia 57: 67-74, DOI: 10.1016/j.pedobi.2014.01.004

Rader R, Birkhofer K, Schmucki R, Smith HG, Stjernman M, Lindborg R (2014) Organic farming and heterogeneous landscapes positively affect different measures of plant diversity. Journal of Applied Ecology 51: 1544-1553, DOI: 10.1111/1365-2664.12344

Allan E & 41 co-authors (2014) Inter-annual variation in land-use intensity enhances grassland multidiversity. PNAS 111: 308-313, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1312213111

Setälä H, Birkhofer K, Brady M, Byrne L, Vriese FT, Gardif C, Hotes S, Hedlund K, Liiria M, Mortimer S, Pavao-Zuckerman M, Pouyat R, Tsiafouli M, Hemerik L, Bardgett R, de Ruiter PC, van der Putten WH (2014) Urban and agricultural soils: conflicts and trade-offs in the optimization of ecosystem services. Urban Ecosystems 17: 239-253, DOI: 10.1007/s11252-013-0311-6

Smith HG, Birkhofer K, Clough Y, Ekroos J, Olsson O, Rundlöf M (2014) Beyond dispersal: the role of animal movement in modern agricultural landscapes. In: Hansson L-A, Åkesson S (eds) Animal movement across scales. Oxford University Press. ISBN: 9780199677191


Birkhofer K, Entling M, Lubin Y (2013) Agroecology: Trait composition, spatial relationships, trophic interactions. In: Penney D (ed) Spider research in the 21st century: trends & perspectives. Siri Scientific Press. ISBN: 9780957453012

Diehl E, Mader VL, Wolters V, Birkhofer K (2013) Management intensity and vegetation complexity affect web-building spiders and their prey. Oecologia 173: 579-589

Diehl E, Sereda E, Wolters V, Birkhofer K (2013) Effects of predator specialization, host plant and climate on biological control of aphids by natural enemies: a meta-analysis. Journal of Applied Ecology 50: 262-270

Jonason D, Smith HG, Bengtsson J, Birkhofer K (2013) Landscape simplification promotes weed seed predation by carabid beetles (Coleoptera; Carabidae). Landscape Ecology 28: 478-494

de Vries F & 23 co-authors (2014) Soil food web properties explain ecosystem services across European land use systems. PNAS 110: 14296-14301

Andersson GKS, Birkhofer K, Rundlöf M, Smith HG (2013) Landscape heterogeneity and farming practice alter the species composition and taxonomic breadth of pollinator communities. Basic and Applied Ecology 14: 540-546


Birkhofer K, Henschel JH, Lubin Y (2012) Effects of extreme climatic events on small-scale spatial patterns: A 20-year study of the distribution of a desert spider. Oecologia 170: 651-657

Birkhofer K, Wolters V (2012) The global relationship between climate, net primary production and the diet of spiders. Global Ecology and Biogeography 21: 100-108

Birkhofer K & 37 co-authors (2012) General relationships between abiotic soil properties and soil biota across spatial scales and different land-use types. PLoS ONE 7: e43292

Birkhofer K, Bezemer TM, Hedlund K, Setälä H (2012) Community composition of soil organisms under different wheat farming systems. In: Cheeke, T, Coleman, DC, Wall, DH (eds) Microbial Ecology in Sustainable Agroecosystems. Advances in Agroecology, CRC Press, ISBN: 9781439852965

Sereda E, Blick T, Dorow WHO, Wolters V, Birkhofer K (2012) Spatial distribution of spiders and epedaphic Collembola in an environmentally heterogeneous forest floor habitat. Pedobiologia 55: 241-245

Jurczyk M, Wolters V, Birkhofer K (2012) Utilization of prey-rich patches leads to reproductive advantages for clustered individuals of a web-building spider. Ecoscience 19: 170-176

Diehl E, Wolters V, Birkhofer K (2012) Arable weeds in organically managed wheat fields foster carabid beetles by resource- and structure-mediated effects. Arthropod-Plant Interactions 6: 75-82

Blüthgen N & 28 co-authors(2012) A quantitative index of land-use intensity in grasslands: integrating mowing, grazing and fertilization. Basic and Applied Ecology 13: 207–220


Birkhofer K, Wolters V, Diekötter T (2011) Density-dependent and -independent effects on the joint use of space by predators and prey in terrestrial arthropod food-webs. Oikos 120: 1705-1711

Birkhofer K, Diekötter T, Boch S, Fischer M, Müller J, Socher S, Wolters V (2011) Soil fauna feeding activity in temperate grassland soils increases with legume and grass species richness. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 43: 2200-2207

Birkhofer K, Fließbach A, Wise DH, Scheu S (2011) Arthropod food webs in organic and conventional wheat farming systems: a stable isotope approach. Agricultural and Forest Entomology 13: 197-204.

Schneider C, Ekschmitt K, Wolters V, Birkhofer K (2011) Ring versus disc-based separation of spatial scales: a case study on the impact of arable land proportions on invertebrates in freshwater streams. Aquatic Ecology 45: 351-356.

Wamser S, Dauber J, Birkhofer K, Wolters V (2011) Delayed colonisation of arable fields by spring breeding ground beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae) in landscapes with a high availability of hibernation sites. Agriculture, Ecosystem & Environment 144: 235-240

Hauffe T; Albrecht C; Schreiber K; Birkhofer K; Trajanovski S & Wilke T (2011): Spatially explicit analyses of gastropod biodiversity in ancient Lake Ohrid. Biogeosciences 8: 175-188.


Birkhofer K, Scheu S, Wiegand T (2010) Assessing spatiotemporal predator-prey patterns in heterogeneous habitats. Basic and Applied Ecology 11: 486-494

Diekötter T, Wamser S, Wolters V, Birkhofer K (2010) Landscape and management effects on structure and function of soil arthropod communities in winter wheat. Agriculture, Ecosystem & Environment 137: 108-112

Hauffe T; Albrecht C; Schreiber K; Birkhofer K; Trajanovski S & Wilke T (2010): Spatially explicit analyses of gastropod biodiversity in ancient Lake Ohrid. Biogeosciences Discussions 7: 4953-4985.

Vucic-Pestic O, Birkhofer K, Rall BC, Scheu S, Brose U (2010) Habitat structure and prey aggregation determine the functional response in a soil predator-prey interaction. Pedobiologia 53: 307-312

Dahms H, Mayr S, Birkhofer K, Chauvat M, Melnichnova E, Wolters V, Dauber J (2010) Contrasting diversity patterns of epigeic arthropods between grasslands of high and low agronomic potential. Basic and Applied Ecology 11: 6-14


Haubert D, Birkhofer K, Fließbach A, Gehre M, Scheu S, Ruess L (2009) Trophic structure and major trophic links in conventional vs organic farming systems as indicated by carbon stable isotope ratios of fatty acids. Oikos 118:1579-1589

Lubin Y, Birkhofer K, Berger-Tal R, Bilde T (2009) Limited male dispersal in a social spider with extreme inbreeding. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 97: 227-234


Birkhofer K, Fließbach A, Wise DH, Scheu S (2008) Generalist predators in organically and conventionally managed grass-clover fields: implications for conservation biological control. Annals of Applied Biology 153: 271-280

Birkhofer K, Bezemer TM, Bloem J, Bonkowski M, Christensen S, Dubois D, Ekelund F, Fließbach A, Gunst L, Hedlund K, Mäder P, Mikola J, Robin C, Setälä H, Tatin-Froux F, Van der Putten WH, Scheu S (2008) Long-term organic farming fosters below- and aboveground biota: Implications for soil quality, biological control and productivity. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 40: 2297-2308

Birkhofer K, Gavish-Regev E, Endlweber K, Lubin YD, von Berg K, Wise DH, Scheu S (2008) Cursorial spiders retard initial aphid population growth at low densities in winter wheat. Bulletin of Entomological Research 98: 249-255

Birkhofer K, Wise DH, Scheu S (2008) Subsidy from the detrital food web, but not microhabitat complexity, affects the role of generalist predators in an aboveground herbivore food web. Oikos 117: 494–500


Birkhofer K, Scheu S, Wise DH (2007) Small-scale spatial pattern of web-building spiders (Araneae) in alfalfa: Relationship to disturbance from cutting, prey availability, and intraguild interactions. Environmental Entomology 36: 801-810

Bilde T, Coates KMS, Birkhofer K, Bird T, Maklakov A, Lubin Y, Avilés L (2007) Survival benefits select for group living despite reproductive cost in a social spider. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 20: 2412-2426


Birkhofer K, Henschel JR, Scheu S (2006) Spatial-pattern analysis in a territorial spider: evidence for multi-scale effects. Ecography 29: 641-648