Klaus Birkhofer

Klaus Birkhofer
Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus - Senftenberg | BTU · Department of Ecology

PhD

About

174
Publications
123,355
Reads
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7,735
Citations
Introduction
Biodiversity-Ecosystem Functioning & Service Research; Conservation & Community Ecology; Predator-Prey Interactions; Soil Ecology; Landscape & Spatial Ecology;
Additional affiliations
April 2017 - present
Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus - Senftenberg
Position
  • Professor (Full)
May 2014 - March 2017
Lund University
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
May 2011 - April 2014
Lund University
Position
  • Senior Researcher

Publications

Publications (174)
Article
Full-text available
Grasslands host large parts of Europe’s agricultural arthropod diversity. Considering the adverse effects of ongoing land use changes on many grassland taxa, there is an urgent need to establish measures that allow for optimizing the conservation of permanent grassland habitats and their climatic, environmental and ecological benefits. Here, data f...
Article
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Land-use change is a major driver of the global loss of biodiversity, but it is unclear to what extent this also results in a loss of ecological traits. Therefore, a better understanding of how land-use change affects ecological traits is crucial for efforts to sustain functional diversity. To this end we tested whether higher species richness or t...
Article
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The concept of ecosystem services was originally developed to illustrate the benefits that natural ecosystems generate for society and to raise awareness for biodiversity and ecosystem conservation. In this article we identify major challenges and opportunities for ecologists involved in empirical or modeling ecosystem service research. The firstchal...
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This study addresses the use of conditioners as a driver of arthropod loss in agricultural landscapes. Conditioners compress the freshly cut mowing material mechanically to destroy the evaporation-inhibiting wax layer of the grass material. This compression potentially increases the physical damage to several arthropod groups during the mowing proc...
Article
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Wildfires alter the composition of insect communities due to fire‐induced mortality, and the post‐fire vegetation and soil conditions also affect the initial re‐colonisation and subsequent local emergence of adults from burnt soils. However, the impact of wildfires on re‐colonisation and emergence of carrion‐associated scavenging species from soils...
Article
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Nitrogen fertilization of permanent grasslands affects soil fauna communities by modifying their taxonomic composition, population dynamics and feeding activity. However, it is not well understood if the edaphic fauna adapts to these external inputs so that the immediate response to fertilizer application depends on the long-term nutrient managemen...
Article
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Plant functional traits are useful in tracking changes in the environment, and play an important role in determining ecosystem functioning. The relationship between plant functional traits and ecosystem functioning remains unclear, although there is growing evidence on this relationship. In this study, we tested whether the functional structure of...
Article
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Understanding species richness variation among local communities is one of the central topics in ecology, but the complex interplay of regional processes, environmental filtering and local processes hampers generalization on the importance of different processes. Here, we aim to unravel drivers of spider community assembly in temperate forests by a...
Article
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Acidobacteria occur in a large variety of ecosystems worldwide and are particularly abundant and highly diverse in soils. In spite of their diversity, only few species have been characterized to date which makes Acidobacteria one of the most poorly understood phyla among the domain Bacteria. We used a culture-independent niche modeling approach to...
Article
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The dispersal of propagules, such as fungal spores or seeds by actively moving animals, connects and shapes communities. The dispersal of plant pathogens by arthropods might be a crucial mechanism in the spread of several crop diseases. Ground-dwelling arthropods are potential linkers between fungal communities in semi-natural and agricultural habi...
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Spiders are dominant predators in terrestrial ecosystems and feed on prey from the herbivore and detritivore subsystem (dual subsystem omnivory) as well as on other predators (intraguild predation). Little is known about how global change potentially affects the importance of different prey groups in predator diets. In this meta‐analysis we identif...
Article
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Soil organisms drive major ecosystem functions by mineralising carbon and releasing nutrients during decomposition processes, which supports plant growth, aboveground biodiversity and, ultimately, human nutrition. Soil ecologists often operate with functional groups to infer the effects of individual taxa on ecosystem functions and services. Simult...
Article
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Higher frequencies of summer droughts are predicted to change soil conditions in the future affecting soil fauna communities and their biotic interactions. In agroecosystems drought effects on soil biota may be modulated by different management practices that alter the availability of different food resources. Recent studies on the effect of drough...
Article
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Soil biodiversity constitutes the biological pillars of ecosystem services provided by soils worldwide. Soil life is threatened by intense agricultural management and shifts in climatic conditions as two important global change drivers which are not often jointly studied under field conditions. We addressed the effects of experimental short-term dr...
Article
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Agricultural management practices and extreme weather events associated with climate change can influence the diversity and abundance of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) with potential consequences for crop production. However, the importance of the interactive effects of long-term agricultural management and extreme weather events on AMF communi...
Article
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Shells of molluscs from snail farms (heliciculture) are used as food additives or construction material and ecological engineering approaches utilize their potential to assist with ecosystem restoration. Previous studies, for example, highlighted the importance of snail shells as microhabitat for threatened arthropod species with particular focus o...
Article
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Spiders are a highly diversified group of arthropods and play an important role in terrestrial ecosystems as ubiquitous predators, which makes them a suitable group to test a variety of eco-evolutionary hypotheses. For this purpose, knowledge of a diverse range of species traits is required. Until now, data on spider traits have been scattered acro...
Article
Intraguild predation (IGP) is a common interaction between generalist predators when they competitively exploit similar resources and prey on each other. Theoretical models predict limitations for intraguild predator coexistence unless some mechanisms, such as the utilization of alternative prey (i.e. trophic niche partitioning) and cannibalism, in...
Article
Evidence from experimental and established grasslands indicates that plant biodiversity can modify the water cycle. One suspected mechanism behind this is a higher infiltration capacity (νB) and hydraulic conductivity (K) of the soil on species‐rich grasslands. However, in established and agriculturally managed grasslands, biodiversity effects cann...
Article
According to the disturbance‐succession theory, natural disturbances support biodiversity and are expected to increase the complexity of food‐webs in forest ecosystems by opening canopies and creating a heterogeneous environment. However, a limited number of studies have investigated the impact of disturbance by invasive pathogenic species and succ...
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Environmental conditions and human activity influence the selection of nest sites by chimpanzees and may have serious conservation implications. We examined the characteristics of nesting trees preferred by chimpanzees, investigated the effect of vegetation composition and topography on nest site locations and seasonality on nesting heights of chim...
Article
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• The European Union reformed the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP 2013) to include greening measures with the aim to decrease negative impacts of farming on the environment and biodiversity. The degree to which greening measures such as permanent grassland or fallows of different ages enhance biodiversity is still debated. • We investigate the effe...
Article
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Land-use intensification is a major driver of biodiversity loss. However, understanding how different components of land use drive biodiversity loss requires the investigation of multiple trophic levels across spatial scales. Using data from 150 agricultural grasslands in central Europe, we assess the influence of multiple components of local-and l...
Article
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In Central Europe, summer droughts are increasing in frequency which threatens production and biodiversity in agroecosystems. The potential of different farming systems to mitigate detrimental drought effects on soil animals is largely unknown. We investigated the effects of simulated drought on the abundance and community composition of soil micro...
Article
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Earthworms are an important soil taxon as ecosystem engineers, providing a variety of crucial ecosystem functions and services. Little is known about their diversity and distribution at large spatial scales, despite the availability of considerable amounts of local-scale data. Earthworm diversity data, obtained from the primary literature or provid...
Article
Full-text available
Earthworms are an important soil taxon as ecosystem engineers, providing a variety of crucial ecosystem functions and services. Little is known about their diversity and distribution at large spatial scales, despite the availability of considerable amounts of local-scale data. Earthworm diversity data, obtained from the primary literature or provid...
Article
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Active restoration of degraded areas with multipurpose tree species has been proposed as a measure to counter the losses from deforestation and mitigate consequences for local human communities. In a restoration project at a former mining site in Ghana, ecosystem services (ES) proxies in an actively restored forest were compared to a local agrofore...
Article
Non-crop habitats in agricultural landscapes may differ in their potential to serve as source habitats for natural enemies. To determine this potential for different habitat types, it is crucial to understand habitat preferences and the habitat niche width of natural enemies. In addition, populations of natural enemies are affected by management pr...
Article
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Entomopathogenic fungi (EPF) are important soil-dwelling entomopathogens, which can be used as biological control agents against pest insects. EPF are capable of causing lethal epizootics in pest insect populations in agroecosystems. During a survey of the orchard soil at an organic farm, different EPF species were collected and identified to speci...
Article
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Increased human activities such as commodity-led deforestation, extension of agriculture , urbanization, and wildfires are major drivers of forest loss worldwide. In Camer-oon, these activities cause a loss of suitable primate habitat and could ultimately threaten the survival of chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). We derived independent estimates of th...
Article
Land snails are abundant invertebrates in many terrestrial ecosystems, playing an essential role in food webs and nutrient cycling. Although snails are commonly considered general grazers with a strong tendency to omnivory, their foraging strategy is well documented only for a few species. Virtually no data exist on trophic niche partitioning withi...
Preprint
Full-text available
Entomopathogenic fungi (EPF) are important soil-dwelling entomopathogens, which can be used as biocontrol agents against pest insects. During a survey of the orchard soil at an organic farm, the EPF were identified to species level, using both morphological and molecular techniques. The EPF were trapped from soil samples, taken from an apricot orch...
Article
Full-text available
Drought and agricultural management influence soil microorganisms with unknown consequences for the functioning of agroecosystems. We simulated drought periods in organic (biodynamic) and conventional wheat fields and monitored effects on soil water content, microorganisms and crops. Above the wilting point, water content and microbial respiration...
Article
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A main goal of ecological and evolutionary biology is understanding and predicting interactions between populations and both abiotic and biotic environments, the spatial and temporal variation of these interactions, and the effects on population dynamics and performance. Trait-based approaches can help to model these interactions and generate a com...
Article
Full-text available
1. In agricultural landscapes, arthropods provide essential ecosystem services such as biological pest control and pollination. Intensified crop management practices and homogenization of landscapes have led to declines among such organisms. Semi-natural habitats, associated with high numbers of these organisms, are increasingly lost from agricultu...
Article
Full-text available
Overexploitation, habitat destruction and a changing climate threaten populations of the Roman snail (Helix pomatia Linnaeus, 1758), which has led to a high protection status in Germany. Vertebrate and invertebrate predators, including parasites and facultative parasitoids, further cause pressure on populations. Given the conservation concern for H...
Article
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The ongoing global deforestation resulting from anthropogenic activities such as unsustainable agriculture and surface mining threatens biodiversity and decreases both soil carbon and above-ground biomass stocks. In this study, we assessed soil properties and below- and above-ground biomass attributes in a restored former gravel mine area in Ghana...
Article
Full-text available
Weed infestation affects economically relevant orchard properties, including tree performance, yield, and fruit quality negatively, and weeds are therefore often controlled by herbicide application in conventional farming. The addition of organic mulch below tree canopies has been proposed as an alternative reliable practice to suppress weeds and p...
Article
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Increasing landscape complexity can mitigate negative effects of agricultural intensification on biodiversity by offering resources complementary to those provided in arable fields. In particular, grazed semi-natural grasslands and woody elements support farmland birds, but little is known about their relative effects on bird diversity and communit...
Article
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Here we build on the manifesto 'World Scientists' Warning to Humanity, issued by the Alliance of World Scientists. As a group of conservation biologists deeply concerned about the decline of insect populations, we here review what we know about the drivers of insect extinctions, their consequences, and how extinctions can negatively impact humanity...
Article
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The fate of humans and insects intertwine, especially through the medium of plants. Global environmental change, including land transformation and contamination, is causing concerning insect diversity loss, articulated in the companion review Scientists' warning to humanity on insect extinctions. Yet, despite a sound philosophical foundation, recog...
Article
Testate amoebae are ubiquitous unicellular eukaryotic micro-organisms. They occur in high abundances in terrestrial habitats and contribute to important ecological and biogeochemical processes like silicon cycling. Little is known about the growth of testate amoeba populations under hyperosmotic stress, as caused by salinity pulses due to coastal f...
Article
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Soil protists are rarely included in ecotoxicological investigations, despite their fundamental role in ecological processes. Moreover, testate amoebae and diatoms contribute considerably to silicon fluxes in soils. We investigated the effects of heavy metals on testate amoebae (species and individual densities) and diatoms (individual densities) i...
Article
Full-text available
Organic orchards may have higher biodiversity and levels of ecosystem services compared to conventionally managed orchards. However, it is not well-understood how management decisions within organic orchards alter biotic communities and ecosystem services. The simultaneous provision of individual ecosystem services and mitigation of disservices is...
Article
Full-text available
Soil organisms, including earthworms, are a key component of terrestrial ecosystems. However, little is known about their diversity, their distribution, and the threats affecting them. We compiled a global dataset of sampled earthworm communities from 6928 sites in 57 countries as a basis for predicting patterns in earthworm diversity, abundance, a...
Article
Full-text available
Soil organisms, including earthworms, are a key component of terrestrial ecosystems. However, little is known about their diversity, their distribution, and the threats affecting them. We compiled a global dataset of sampled earthworm communities from 6928 sites in 57 countries as a basis for predicting patterns in earthworm diversity, abundance, a...
Data
This PDF file includes: Materials and Methods Supplementary Text Figs. S1 to S6 Tables S1 to S4 References
Article
Full-text available
Soil organisms, including earthworms, are a key component of terrestrial ecosystems. However, little is known about their diversity, their distribution, and the threats affecting them. We compiled a global dataset of sampled earthworm communities from 6928 sites in 57 countries as a basis for predicting patterns in earthworm diversity, abundance, a...
Article
Full-text available
Soil organisms, including earthworms, are a key component of terrestrial ecosystems. However, little is known about their diversity, their distribution, and the threats affecting them. We compiled a global dataset of sampled earthworm communities from 6928 sites in 57 countries as a basis for predicting patterns in earthworm diversity, abundance, a...
Data
This PDF file includes: Materials and Methods Supplementary Text Figs. S1 to S6 Tables S1 to S4 References
Data
This PDF file includes: Materials and Methods Supplementary Text Figs. S1 to S6 Tables S1 to S4 References
Data
This PDF file includes: Materials and Methods Supplementary Text Figs. S1 to S6 Tables S1 to S4 References
Data
This PDF file includes: Materials and Methods Supplementary Text Figs. S1 to S6 Tables S1 to S4 References
Article
en Finding an appropriate method to monitor a wide range of mammal species simultaneously is notoriously difficult, as each method has its limitations. Here, we examine a formula, known as the Formozov–Malyshev–Pereleshin (FMP), which uses mean daily travel distances (day ranges) to convert spoor counts into density estimates. Availability of accur...
Article
Full-text available
To understand the relationship between conservation measures and agricultural yields, we need to know the contributions of organisms to both ecosystem services and disservices. We studied the activity and contribution of birds and mammals to intermediate ecosystem services (predation of weed seeds or invertebrate pests) and disservices (predation o...
Article
Full-text available
Ecological intensification may reduce environmental externalities of agriculture by harnessing biodiversity to benefit regulating ecosystem services. However, to propose management options for the production of such services, there is a need to understand the spatio‐temporal dynamics of net effects between ecosystem services and disservices provide...