Nadja K. Simons

Nadja K. Simons
Technische Universität Darmstadt | TU · Research Area of Ecological Networks

Dr. rer. nat.

About

50
Publications
29,893
Reads
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1,745
Citations
Introduction
My research interests cover different aspects of human-induced changes on biodiversity and community structure.
Additional affiliations
December 2019 - present
Technische Universität Darmstadt
Position
  • PostDoc Position
October 2015 - February 2016
Technische Universität München
Position
  • Lecturer
Description
  • Lecture on autecology and on terrestrial biomes within the lecture series `Introduction to Ecology’ for undergraduate students of Environmental Engineering.
July 2015 - November 2019
Technische Universität München
Position
  • PostDoc Position
Description
  • Postdoc within the BioHolz Project (est. 2015). The aim of the project is to identify and quantify the ecosystem services provided by deadwood in managed forests. My part includes mapping and modelling the ecosystem services on a landscape scale.
Education
October 2011 - July 2015
October 2009 - September 2011
Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen
Field of study
  • Animal and Plant Ecology
October 2006 - September 2009

Publications

Publications (50)
Article
Full-text available
Context Current diversity and species composition of ecological communities can often not exclusively be explained by present land use and landscape structure. Historical land use may have considerably influenced ecosystems and their properties for decades and centuries. Objectives We analysed the effects of present and historical landscape struct...
Article
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Background How land use shapes biodiversity and functional trait composition of animal communities is an important question and frequently addressed. Land-use intensification is associated with changes in abiotic and biotic conditions including environmental homogenization and may act as an environmental filter to shape the composition of species c...
Article
Land-use intensification has contrasting effects on different ecosystem services, often leading to land-use conflicts. While multiple studies have demonstrated how landscape-scale strategies can minimise the trade-off between agricultural production and biodiversity conservation, little is known about which land-use strategies maximise the landscap...
Article
Climate change is enhancing the annual mean temperature and the risk for droughts and natural disasters. Hot and dry summers not only have a negative impact on forest performance, but also affect fundamental ecosystem processes such as litter decomposition and nutrient cycling and the organisms involved. Oribatid mites are sexually or parthenogenet...
Article
Full-text available
Land-use intensification poses major threats to biodiversity, such as to insect herbivore communities. The stability of these communities depends on interactions linking herbivores and host plants. How interaction network structure begets robustness, and thus stability, in different ecosystems and how network structure and robustness are altered al...
Article
Full-text available
Decomposition, vegetation regeneration, and biological control are essential ecosystem functions, and animals are involved in the underlying processes, such as dung removal, seed removal, herbivory, and predation. Despite evidence for declines of animal diversity and abundance due to climate change and land-use intensification, we poorly understand...
Article
Full-text available
Intensive land use has been shown to alter the composition and functioning of soil communities. Due to their low dispersal ability, oribatid mites are particularly vulnerable to land-use intensification and species which are not adjusted to management-related disturbances become less abundant. We investigated how different land-use parameters in fo...
Article
Full-text available
Background Forests perform various important ecosystem functions that contribute to ecosystem services. In many parts of the world, forest management has shifted from a focus on timber production to multi-purpose forestry, combining timber production with the supply of other forest ecosystem services. However, it is unclear which forest types provi...
Article
Full-text available
• Reports of major losses in insect biodiversity have stimulated an increasing interest in temporal population changes. Existing datasets are often limited to a small number of study sites, few points in time, a narrow range of land‐use intensities and only some taxonomic groups, or they lack standardised sampling. While new monitoring programs hav...
Preprint
Reports of major losses in biodiversity have stimulated an increasing interest in temporal population changes, particularly in insects, which had received little attention in the past. Existing long-term datasets are often limited to a small number of study sites, few points in time, a narrow range of land-use intensities and only some taxonomic gr...
Article
Full-text available
An amendment to this paper has been published and can be accessed via a link at the top of the paper.
Article
Full-text available
The habitat heterogeneity hypothesis predicts that biodiversity increases with increasing habitat heterogeneity due to greater niche dimensionality. However, recent studies have reported that richness can decrease with high heterogeneity due to stochastic extinctions, creating trade-offs between area and heterogeneity. This suggests that greater co...
Data
Table of contents S1: Relation of seed removal rate with short-term precipitation S2: Details of herbivory measurements S3: Details of processing explanatory data S4: GLMM results in detail S5: Comparison of the mean effect sizes of short-term vs. medium-term land-use variables in grasslands S6: Process rates in detail S7: Effects of the vegetation...
Preprint
Full-text available
Land-use intensification has contrasting effects on different ecosystem services, often leading to land-use conflicts. Multiple studies, especially within the ‘land-sharing versus land-sparing’ debate, have demonstrated how landscape-scale strategies can minimise the trade-off between agricultural production and biodiversity conservation. However,...
Article
Full-text available
Massive declines in insect biodiversity and biomass are reported from many regions and habitats. In urban areas, creation of native wildflower meadows is one option to support insects and reduce maintenance costs of urban green spaces. However, benefits for insect conservation may depend on previous land use, and the size and location of new wildfl...
Article
Full-text available
Recent reports of local extinctions of arthropod species 1 , and of massive declines in arthropod biomass 2 , point to land-use intensification as a major driver of decreasing biodiversity. However, to our knowledge, there are no multisite time series of arthropod occurrences across gradients of land-use intensity with which to confirm causal relat...
Article
Bund und Länder haben Strategien für den Schutz und die nachhaltige Nutzung von Biodiversität entwickelt. In ihnen wurden auch Ziele für Wälder formuliert. Ihre Umsetzung erfordert eine effektive Vernetzung von ökologischen, ökonomischen und sozialen Aspekten nachhaltiger Waldnutzung. Das integrierte Forschungs- und Umsetzungsprojekt BioHolz liefer...
Article
The 150 grassland plots were located in three study regions in Germany, 50 in each region. The dataset describes the yearly grassland management for each grassland plot using 116 variables. General information includes plot identifier, study region and survey year. Additionally, grassland plot characteristics describe the presence and starting year...
Article
Full-text available
1.Trait‐based approaches are widespread throughout ecological research as they offer great potential to achieve a general understanding of a wide range of ecological and evolutionary mechanisms. Accordingly, a wealth of trait data is available for many organism groups, but this data is underexploited due to a lack of standardisation and heterogenei...
Article
Full-text available
Context Insect herbivores comprise the majority of macroinvertebrate communities of temperate grasslands and act as drivers for important ecosystem functions. Landscape- and local-level land use may alter species pools and dispersal possibilities and act as local environmental filters, affecting insect trait composition. Objectives While environme...
Article
Full-text available
Trait-based research spans from evolutionary studies of individual-level properties to global patterns of biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. An increasing number of trait data is available for many different organism groups, published as open access data on a variety of file hosting services. Thus, standardization between datasets is generally...
Article
Full-text available
Under natural conditions, aboveground herbivory and plant-soil feedbacks (PSFs) are omnipresent interactions strongly affecting individual plant performance. While recent research revealed that aboveground insect herbivory generally impacts the outcome of PSFs, no study tested to what extent the intensity of herbivory affects the outcome. This, how...
Article
Full-text available
Type and intensity of land‐use vary in space and time and strongly contribute to changes in richness and composition of species communities. In this study, we examined land snail communities in forests and grasslands in three regions of Germany. We aimed to quantify the extent to which snail density, diversity, and community composition in forests...
Article
Full-text available
While forest management strongly influences biodiversity, it remains unclear how the structural and compositional changes caused by management affect different community dimensions (e.g. richness, specialisation, abundance or completeness) and how this differs between taxa. We assessed the effects of nine forest features (representing stand structu...
Preprint
Full-text available
1. Trait-based approaches are widespread throughout ecological research, offering great potential for trait data to deliver general and mechanistic conclusions. Accordingly, a wealth of trait data is available for many organism groups, but, due to a lack of standardisation, these data come in heterogeneous formats. 2. We review current initiatives...
Article
Biodiversity-ecosystem function experiments test how species diversity influences fundamental ecosystem processes. Historically, arthropod driven functions, such as herbivory and pest-control, have been thought to be influenced by direct and indirect associations among species. Although a number of studies have evaluated how plant diversity affects...
Article
Grassland biodiversity in managed landscapes is threatened by land-use intensification, but is also dependent on low-intensity management. Solutions that allow for both agricultural production and species conservation may be realized either on individual grasslands, by adjusting management intensity, or at the landscape level, when grasslands are m...
Article
Intensive land use is a major cause of biodiversity loss, but most studies comparing the response of multiple taxa rely on simple diversity measures while analyses of other community attributes are only recently gaining attention. Species-abundance distributions (SADs) are a community attribute that can be used to study changes in the overall abund...
Article
Full-text available
Land use and corresponding habitat loss are major drivers of local species extinctions. Orthoptera as important grassland herbivores showed different responses to land-use intensity in different studies, and the susceptibility of this group remains unclear. We sampled annually for seven years 150 temperate grassland sites across three regions in Ge...
Article
Full-text available
Intensification of land use reduces biodiversity but may also shift the trait composition of communities. Understanding how land use affects single traits and community trait composition, helps to understand why some species are more affected by land use than others. Trait-based analyses are common for plants, but rare for arthropods. We collected...
Article
Full-text available
Human land use may detrimentally affect biodiversity, yet long-term stability of species communities is vital for maintaining ecosystem functioning. Community stability can be achieved by higher species diversity (portfolio effect), higher asynchrony across species (insurance hypothesis) and higher abundance of populations. However, the relative im...
Data
Supplementary Figures 1–6 and Supplementary Tables 1–5
Article
Intensification of land use reduces biodiversity but may also shift the trait composition of communities. Understanding how land use affects single traits and community trait composition, helps to understand why some species are more affected by land use than others. Trait-based analyses are common for plants, but rare for arthropods. We collected...
Article
Full-text available
Biodiversity loss can affect the viability of ecosystems by decreasing the ability of communities to respond to environmental change and disturbances. Agricultural intensification is a major driver of biodiversity loss and has multiple components operating at different spatial scales: from in-field management intensity to landscape-scale simplifica...
Conference Paper
Meeting both the food demand of a rising human population and conservation tar-gets for biodiversity in agricultural landscapes, has sparked a debate on whether both demands should be targeted on the same area of land by extensive manage-ment (land sharing), or targeted on separate areas by increasing management in-tensity on one part and preservin...
Article
Trait-based approaches have increased significantly in community ecology during the last decade. This is not least because studies on biodiversity?ecosystem functioning relationships became a major topic in ecology. Species' functions in ecosystems are mediated by their traits. For a better understanding of the relationships between environmental d...
Article
Full-text available
Analyses of species traits have increased our understanding of how environmental drivers such as disturbances affect the composition of arthropod communities and related processes. There are, however, few studies on which traits in the arthropod community are affected by environmental changes and which traits affect ecosystem functioning. The assem...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Intensive land use decreases diversity and affects ecosystem processes in many ecosystems, including grasslands. To understand how communities respond to land-use intensification and the consequences of such changes for ecosystem processes, trait-based approaches have been proposed. Here we tested the effect of land-use intensification including fe...
Article
Full-text available
Intensive land use is a driving force for biodiversity decline in many ecosystems. In semi-natural grasslands, land-use activities such as mowing, grazing and fertilization affect the diversity of plants and arthropods, but the combined effects of different drivers and the chain of effects are largely unknown. In this study we used structural equat...
Article
1.As a rule, communities consist of few abundant and many rare species, which is reflected in the characteristic shape of species abundance distributions (SADs). The processes that shape these SADs have been a longstanding problem for ecological research. Although many studies found strong negative effects of increasing land-use intensity on divers...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Land‐use intensification is one of the major drivers for biodiversity loss in many ecosystems. In seminatural grasslands cutting, grazing and fertilization have been shown to affect the diversity of plants and arthropods but the interactions between these drivers and the chain of effects are little known. In this study we tested whether increased l...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Background / Purpose: Testing the effect of land-use intensity on the diversity of arthropod communities in managed grasslands. Specifically, looking at effect cascades from management to arthropod herbivores and predators through changes in their respective resource (i.e. plants and herbivores respectively). Main conclusion: Plant diversity i...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Background/Questions/Methods Land-use intensification is one of the major drivers for biodiversity loss in many ecosystems. In semi-natural grasslands, land-use components such as cutting, grazing and fertilization have been shown to affect the diversity of plants and arthropods, but the interactions between these drivers and the chain of effects a...
Thesis
Full-text available
Increasing mean temperature and higher concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) have already led to changes in ecosystem structure and ecological interactions, which are projected to become even more pronounced in the future. In this thesis, the effects of both increasing temperatures until 2100 and an increase of CO2 by 22 % were evaluate...
Thesis
Photosynthetic response to different light intensities as well as to changing light was measured in plants from a tropical understorey on Barro Colorado Island. Comparison was made between epiphytes and terrestrial plants from the same families and habitat. It was hypothesised that epiphytes have generally a more pronounced water-saving behaviour t...

Network

Cited By

Projects

Projects (7)
Project
The BioDivKultur project, in which biologists work together with humanities and social scientists, is dedicated to value attitudes, utilization interests, options for action and regulatory possibilities in the design and maintenance of green spaces. The aim is to investigate and test how biodiversity as a value and as an interest in use can become more effective in communicative, political and practical terms in the design of green spaces (understood as the establishment of multi-layered "Biodiversitätskulturen"). More information: https://biodivkultur.de/
Project
Urban green space is often dominated by low diversity plantings of non-native ornamental shrubs or short mowed lawns. Replacing these plantings by urban meadows consisting of native herb and grass species increases plant diversity and may also strongly change environmental conditions for plant-feeding arthropods and higher trophic levels. We investigate the effects of replacement of ornamental roadside shrubs by native flower meadows on arthropod diversity and arthropod functional groups. We compare arthropod communities from newly created meadow patches and from original shrubby vegetation, and we assess effects of patch size, patch age, mowing regimes and plant diversity on arthropod community composition. Collaboration with: https://www.riedstadt.de/gruenflaechen/english-version-redesigning-innerurban-green-areas.html