• Home
  • Christoph Scherber
Christoph Scherber

Christoph Scherber
Leibniz Institute for the Analysis of Biodiversity Change · Centre for Biodiversity Monitoring

Professor

About

217
Publications
151,511
Reads
How we measure 'reads'
A 'read' is counted each time someone views a publication summary (such as the title, abstract, and list of authors), clicks on a figure, or views or downloads the full-text. Learn more
10,264
Citations
Introduction
I am a biodiversity researcher interested in practical solutions to biodiversity assessment and nature conservation. We develop experiments at several spatial scales to understand the drivers of biodiversity change. Additionally, we study novel approaches to make farming and forestry more biodiversity-friendly.
Additional affiliations
October 2020 - present
Research Museum Alexander Koenig
Position
  • Professor (Full)
Description
  • I am heading the Centre for Biodiversity Monitoring. We work on technology development for species monitoring, and mitigation strategies to cope with biodiversity declines (e.g. farming systems research)
October 2015 - September 2020
University of Münster
Position
  • Professor (Full)
October 2006 - September 2015
Georg-August-Universität Göttingen
Position
  • Senior Researcher
Education
August 2000 - September 2002
University of Rostock
Field of study
  • Biology

Publications

Publications (217)
Article
Full-text available
Plant diversity affects species richness and abundance of taxa at higher trophic levels. However, plant diversity effects on omnivores (feeding on multiple trophic levels) and their trophic and non-trophic interactions are not yet studied because appropriate methods were lacking. A promising approach is the DNA-based analysis of gut contents using...
Article
Full-text available
Ongoing biodiversity decline impairs ecosystem processes, including pollination. Flower visitation, an important indicator of pollination services, is influenced by plant species richness. However, the spatio-temporal responses of different pollinator groups to plant species richness have not yet been analyzed experimentally. Here, we used an exper...
Article
Full-text available
The impact of climate change on herbivorous insects can have far-reaching consequences for ecosystem processes. However, experiments investigating the combined effects of multiple climate change drivers on herbivorous insects are scarce. We independently manipulated three climate change drivers (CO2, warming, drought) in a Danish heathland ecosyste...
Article
Full-text available
Insects are facing an increasingly tough combination of global change drivers such as habitat fragmentation, agricultural intensification, pollution, or climatic changes. While single-factor studies have yielded considerable insights, multi-factor manipulations have gained momentum over the last years. Nevertheless, most written work to date has re...
Article
Full-text available
Biodiversity is rapidly declining, and this may negatively affect ecosystem processes, including economically important ecosystem services. Previous studies have shown that biodiversity has positive effects on organisms and processes across trophic levels. However, only a few studies have so far incorporated an explicit food-web perspective. In an...
Preprint
Full-text available
Recent biodiversity declines require action across sectors such as agriculture. The situation is particularly acute for arthropods, a species-rich taxon providing important ecosystem services. To counteract negative consequences of agricultural intensification, creating a less hostile agricultural “matrix” through growing crop mixtures can reduce h...
Article
Full-text available
Semi-natural habitats (SNHs) are becoming increasingly scarce in modern agricultural landscapes. This may reduce natural ecosystem services such as pest control with its putatively positive effect on crop production. In agreement with other studies, we recently reported wheat yield reductions at field borders which were linked to the type of SNH an...
Preprint
Intraspecific diversity (genetic diversity) is an important component of biodiversity. A substantial body of evidence has demonstrated positive direct or indirect effects of plant genetic diversity on plant performance. However, it has remained unclear whether plant genetic diversity increases plant performance by reducing the pressure of plant-dam...
Article
Full-text available
The relevance of intercropping, where two or more crop species are simultaneously grown on the same land space, is growing due to its potential for improving resource use and maintaining stable yields under variable weather conditions. However, the actual growth of intercropped species may differ resulting from the idiosyncratic effect of crop dive...
Preprint
Full-text available
We present a unique data set of trait information for 586 insect families in Central Europe, covering the largest known part of described species (over 34,000 species). Life history information and major functional traits were evaluated with fuzzy coding and weighted according to the number of known species in Germany. An overall analysis of the Ge...
Article
Full-text available
Rapid changes of the biosphere observed in recent years are caused by both small and large scale drivers, like shifts in temperature, transformations in land-use, or changes in the energy budget of systems. While the latter processes are easily quantifiable, documentation of the loss of biodiversity and community structure is more difficult. Change...
Chapter
Soil degradation is an exceedance of the capacity and resiliency of soil for providing functions and ecosystem services. It is a complex ongoing phenomenon threatening humans’ livelihoods and our future on earth. Knowledge gain can help to find solutions for monitoring, preventing and combating soil degradation. In this chapter we address the essen...
Article
Full-text available
Stabilizing agricultural production is fundamental to food security. At the national level, increasing the effective diversity of cultivated crops has been found to increase temporal production stability, i.e., the year-to-year stability of total caloric production of all crops combined. Here, we specifically investigated these effects at the regio...
Article
Full-text available
Metacommunity ecology currently lacks a consistent functional trait perspective across trophic levels. To foster new cross‐taxa experiments and field studies, we present hypotheses on how three trait dimensions change along gradients of density of individuals, resource supply and habitat isolation. The movement dimension refers to the ability to mo...
Article
Full-text available
Semi-natural habitats (SNHs) are becoming increasingly scarce in modern agricultural landscapes. This may reduce natural ecosystem services such as pest control with its putatively positive effect on crop production. In agreement with other studies, we recently reported wheat yield reductions at field borders which were linked to the type of SNH an...
Chapter
Full-text available
Due to the multiplicity of challenges facing all societies at the beginning of the twenty-first century, agricultural systems and rural landscapes are under pressure. Solutions for their optimization towards sustainability at high productivity are required. We address the majority of current agricultural systems and discuss approaches for assessing...
Chapter
Most vegetated land on earth has been used for agriculture for hundreds of years, shaping the land’s features and functions. Agricultural (rural) landscapes are the basis for feeding the global population and meeting their many other demands. In the globalised world of the twenty-first century, agriculture is facing some crucial challenges: feeding...
Chapter
Reports on recent declines in insect biodiversity have prompted discussions on how to assess insect species numbers across a wide range of different habitats and on large spatial scales. Previous approaches were often restricted to particular habitat types (such as calcareous grasslands) or taxa (such as butterflies). Here, we show that setting up...
Chapter
Fueled by debates on the causes and consequences of biodiversity decline worldwide, many countries are now employing biodiversity monitoring programs of various scope, intensity and scale. While these programs will be important to set a baseline for managing a country´s biological diversity, the availability of detailed data may take too long for t...
Article
Full-text available
Rearing conditions may elicit noticeable plastic responses in life-history traits of living organisms. Diet composition and the social environment have proven to influence prominent traits such as survival, body size, fecundity, and life span. Nevertheless, the physiological mechanisms underlying such responses are largely unknown. In this study, w...
Article
Full-text available
The intercropping of two or more crop species on the same piece of land at a given time has been hypothesized to enhance crop yield stability. To address this hypothesis, we assessed the grain yield stability of various barley-pea and wheat-faba bean mixtures grown in seven experimental field trials (locations) across Europe during two years with c...
Article
In agroecosystems, temporal diversification creates a sequence of short-lived habitats through time. Crop species as well as the diversity of crops grown in sequence might affect soil biodiversity and nutrient cycling processes. In the present study, we focused on a long-term crop rotation established in 2006 in Lower Saxony, Germany on a Luvisol....
Article
Full-text available
Cereal-legume intercropping can increase yields, reduce fertilizer input and improve soil quality compared with pure culture. Designing intercropping systems requires the integration of plant species trait selection with choice of crop configuration and management. Crop growth models can facilitate the understanding and prediction of the interactio...
Article
Full-text available
Measuring habitat specialisation is pivotal for predicting species extinctions and for understanding consequences on ecosystem functioning. Here, we sampled pollinator and natural enemy communities in all major habitat types occurring across multiple agricultural landscapes and used species-habitat networks to determine how habitat specialisation c...
Article
Full-text available
Arthropod diversity of different taxonomic groups and ecosystem services are declining, yet current measures to counteract losses are often restricted to small areas of land or field margins, particularly in agricultural systems. At the same time, large areas of land will be required to feed a growing global population. Intercropping has been propo...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Growing two or more plant species in close proximity (‘plant teams’) is a practice that can be adopted to improve crop production in terms of increased productivity, more efficient resource use, reduced reliance on crop protection chemicals, and biodiversity enhancement. Here, we summarise findings from experimental trials conducted across Europe t...
Article
Full-text available
Earth is home to over 350,000 vascular plant species that differ in their traits in innumerable ways. A key challenge is to pre- dict how natural or anthropogenically driven changes in the identity, abundance and diversity of co-occurring plant species drive important ecosystem-level properties such as biomass production or carbon storage. Here, we...
Article
Bats play an important role as top-down predators of insect populations but are threatened by a variety of factors, including the loss of foraging habitat and insect declines. Knowledge on trophic interactions, foraging strategies, and hunting areas is key to understanding the ecology of bat species, to assess their impact on ecosystems and to opti...
Article
Full-text available
Bats play an important role as predators of insect populations but are threatened by a variety of factors, including the loss of foraging habitat and insect declines. Knowledge on trophic interactions, foraging strategies, and hunting areas is key to understanding the ecology of bat species, to assess their impact on ecosystems and to optimize cons...
Article
Full-text available
Arthropod herbivores cause substantial economic costs that drive an increasing need to develop environmentally sustainable approaches to herbivore control. Increasing plant diversity is expected to limit herbivory by altering plant-herbivore and predator-herbivore interactions, but the simultaneous influence of these interactions on herbivore impac...
Article
Full-text available
In this study, we used two common ant species (Lasius niger and Lasius neoniger ) to assay how they translate variation in the diet (both in composition and frequency) into growth. We measured colony development for over 8 months and measured several phenotypic traits of the worker caste, and examined whether forager preference corresponded with di...
Article
Full-text available
Widespread application of synthetic pesticides and loss of plant diversity are regarded as significant drivers of current global change. The effects of such phenomena on insect performance have been extensively studied separately, yet the interactions of these two drivers have been poorly explored. Here, we subjected the polyphagous grasshopper Pse...
Article
Full-text available
Nutrition is the single most important factor for individual's growth and reproduction. Consequently, the inability to reach the nutritional optimum imposes severe consequences for animal fitness. Yet, under natural conditions, organisms may face a mixture of stressors that can modulate the effects of nutritional asymmetry. For instance, stressful...
Article
Full-text available
The continuing loss of global biodiversity has raised questions about the risk that species extinctions pose for the functioning of natural ecosystems and the services that they provide for human wellbeing. There is consensus that, on single trophic levels, biodiversity sustains functions; however, to understand the full range of biodiversity effec...
Article
Full-text available
Urbanization affects pollinator diversity and plant–pollinator networks by changing resource availability locally and in the surrounding landscape. We experimentally established (N = 12) standardized plant communities in farmland, villages, and cities to identify the relative role of local and landscape effects on plant–pollinator communities along...
Article
Natural landscape elements (NLEs) in agricultural landscapes contribute to biodiversity and ecosystem services, but are also regarded as an obstacle for large‐scale agricultural production. However, the effects of NLEs on crop yield have rarely been measured. Here, we investigated how different bordering structures, such as agricultural roads, fiel...
Chapter
Full-text available
Käfer und Fliegen auf den Dunghaufen der Weidetiere zeigen an, wie intakt oder geschädigt ein Agrarsystem ist. Oft leidet die Artenvielfalt unter dem Einsatz von zu viel Kunst- und tierischem Dünger.
Preprint
Full-text available
Earth is home to over 350,000 vascular plant species ¹ that differ in their traits in innumerable ways. Yet, a handful of functional traits can help explaining major differences among species in photosynthetic rate, growth rate, reproductive output and other aspects of plant performance 2–6 . A key challenge, coined “the Holy Grail” in ecology, is...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
In this paper, we discuss the effects of crop type and temporal diversification on arthropods in a long-term crop-rotation experiment.
Article
Full-text available
Natural landscape elements (NLEs) in agricultural landscapes contribute to biodiversity and ecosystem services, but are also regarded as an obstacle for large‐scale agricultural production. However, the effects of NLEs on crop yield have rarely been measured. Here, we investigated how different bordering structures, such as agricultural roads, fiel...
Article
Full-text available
Context Biodiversity monitoring programs require fast, reliable and cost-effective methods for biodiversity assessment in landscapes. Sampling pollinators across entire landscapes is challenging, as trapping needs to cover many habitat types. Objectives We developed and tested a landscape-wide sampling design for pollinators. We assessed the predi...
Article
Full-text available
Agricultural landscapes are globally dominated by monocultures under intensive management. This is one of the main reasons for biodiversity loss and insect population decline in many regions all over the world. Agroecosystem biodiversity in these areas can be enhanced by cropping system diversification, such as crop rotations. Yet, long‐term studie...
Article
Full-text available
Context Global change pressures (GCPs) imperil species and associated ecosystem functions, but studies investigating interactions of landscape-scale pressures remain scarce. Loss of species-rich habitat and agricultural expansion are major threats for biodiversity, but if or how these factors interactively determine community-level shifts and conse...
Article
Mehr als 80 % der Fläche Deutschlands wird entweder landwirtschaftlich genutzt oder ist von Wald bedeckt. Daten zur Vielfalt und zum Rückgang von Insekten liegen jedoch bisher vor allem aus Schutzgebieten und extensiv genutzten Bereichen vor. Im vorliegenden Beitrag stellen wir die Ergebnisse zahlreicher Untersuchungen zur Vielfalt und zu den Ökosy...
Chapter
Human activities are causing major changes in biological communities worldwide. Due to concern about the consequences of these changes, an academic conversation about biodiversity and ecosystem functioning (BEF) has emerged over the last few decades. Here we use a keyword co-occurrence analysis to characterize and review 28 years of research focuse...
Chapter
Full-text available
Concern about the functional consequences of unprecedented loss in biodiversity has prompted biodiversity-ecosystem functioning (BEF) research to become one of the most active fields of ecological research in the past 25 years. Hundreds of experiments have manipulated biodiversity as an independent variable and found compelling support that the fun...
Article
Full-text available
Predictions of species richness by island area are a classical cornerstone in ecology, while the specific features of barrier islands have been little appreciated. Many shorelines are occupied by barrier islands, which are shaped by offshore sedimentation processes and annual storm tide events. Hence, the appearance of these islands may vary betwee...
Article
Full-text available
Imaging techniques are a cornerstone of contemporary biology. Over the last decades, advances in microscale imaging techniques have allowed fascinating new insights into cell and tissue morphology and internal anatomy of organisms across kingdoms. However, most studies so far provided snapshots of given reference taxa, describing organs and tissues...