Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Klaus Birkhofer

Head of Department of Ecology, Brandenburg University of Technology

Research interest

Biodiversity-Ecosystem Functioning & Service Research

I study the relationships between anthropogenic interventions (e.g. land-use and climate change), biodiversity changes (taxonomic, phylogenetic and functional) and related processes (ecosystem functions & services) in biotic communities with a focus on trade-offs and synergies between these components. I use a wide range of methods to assess processes that are provided by organisms, such as litter bags, bait lamina strips, fatty acid analyses, cage experiments or observational techniques and use synthesis approaches to summarize existing data.

 Conservation & Community Ecology

I study how crop and grassland management (fertilization, crop rotation, grazing) and nature conservation practices affect the composition and biodiversity of above- and belowground biotic communities to contribute to future conservation practices. I enjoy using distance-based multivariate statistics and trait analysis to understand how communities respond to conservation practices and focus on field studies in close collaboration with land-owners.

 Predator-Prey Interactions

I study food-webs and interaction networks between predators and their prey to understand the fundamental rules underlying these important trophic interactions and to improve the provision of ecosystem services in agroecosystems. I use a range of techniques to analyse predator-prey interactions including stable isotope analysis, molecular gut content analysis and manipulative field experiments.

 Landscape & Spatial Ecology

I study within-field spatial distribution patterns and large scale effects of landscape composition on populations and communities to better understand how biotic and abiotic drivers affect biodiversity and community composition in agricultural, forest and desert landscapes. I use point-pattern statistics, geostatistics and GIS-based analysis to understand the consequences of spatial heterogeneity for communities and biotic interactions.