Britta Uhl (Post-Doc)
Scientific Researcher (Post-Doc) Jan. 2021 - present Goethe-University Frankfurt
2015 – Apr. 2021 University
of Vienna Lectureship Jul.
2015 – Oct. 2019 University of Würzburg
M.Sc. Biology Oct. 2012 – Dec. 2014 University of Würzburg
B.Sc. Biology Oct. 2009 – Sep, 2012 University of Würzburg
Most of the present world's terrestrial ecosystems are influenced by anthropogenic actions. On a local scale, the loss of near-natural areas and ongoing intensification of management practices has led to biodiversity decline. On a larger scale, landscape simplification poses a challenge for biodiversity conservation, as the loss of a diverse landscape mosaic, composed of different near-natural areas, can also affect communities within nature reserves and so counteract local efforts for keeping biodiversity. For counteract biodiversity loss, the preservation of near-natural habitats and the amelioration of habitat quality are believed to play key roles. Promoting extensive management practices and establishing biodiversity enrichment strategies are some of the actions that are made for keeping the multifunctionality of ecosystems.
My research interests are focusing on how we can preserve biodiversity. I am investigating small-scale environmental gradients to understand how multiple local- and landscape-scale predictors are shaping biotic communities in remaining habitat patches (e.g., nature reserves). A special focus of my research is analyzing community composition and functional diversity patterns. By zooming into the functional roles of individual species or species groups, one can get particularly detailed insights into ecosystem function and environmental change.
Nocturnal Lepidoptera were often found being suitable
indicators for environmental gradients. They react immediately on environmental
change and play an important role in ecosystems as pollinators, herbivores and prey
for e.g., birds and bats. Being a lepidopterologist myself, I mainly work with
moth communities. However, different taxa may react differently to environmental
change. Because of this, I am also interested in cross-taxonomic studies
including multiple species assemblages.
At the moment, I am involved in a European project, which aims at promoting biodiversity in the Bavarian Forest and Šumava National Park (Forschungsprojekt: Pilze, Flechten und Moose im Nationalpark Bayerischer Wald (bayern.de)). Various biodiversity support strategies are implemented e.g., enhancing the amount of deadwood, supporting rare tree species, or promoting forest structural heterogeneity. Their effect on biodiversity will be monitored, with a special focus on insects, fungi, lichens and mosses. Our knowledge about these taxa to date is still quite limited, although they are highly diverse and play major roles in ecosystem processes. Using a combination of classical and modern methods, we aim to get a deeper insight into these species groups and their ecological needs. The interdisciplinary collaboration with local stakeholders ameliorates the networks between science and economic management. Finally, a forest nature conservation concept should be elaborated, which is intended to support nature conservation authorities as a planning instrument.
Besides, I am also working on a long-term study in Northern Italy, with a special focus on how climate change and pollution might have affected moth communities during the last twenty years. Long-term studies are urgently needed to address research questions on climate change. However, only few data sets are available that give an overview over community change throughout a larger timespan. As we conducted data on moth communities in the reserve Pineta san Vitale (Ravenna) since 1997, we already have a detailed dataset spanning more than 20 years of time. Our ongoing research analyzes the link between moth community change, temperature and precipitation. Furthermore, we want to find out if any directional physiological changes during that time have occurred within species.
At the moment, I am looking for Bachelor and Master students who are interested in the following topics:
Assessing Trichopteran diversity in the Bavarian National Park. Are light traps suitable to get an overview of occurring species?
The effect of nitrogen addition on the development of lichenivorous moths (Lithosiini)
The effect of nitrogen addition and drought on moss and lichen communities on deadwood
The effect of nitrogen addition and drought on deadwood colonization by beetles
Saproxylic beetles diversity in correlation to deadwood structural heterogeneity
Is Insect diversity more dependent on local deadwood enrichment vs. regional deadwood amount?
Of course, there are many other possibilities for writing your Thesis in our working group. If you have a specific interest or research question in the field of conservation biology, feel free to contact me.