Britta Uhl

Britta Uhl (Post-Doc)

Short CV

Scientific Researcher (Post-Doc)                      Jan. 2021 - present                        Goethe-University Frankfurt

PhD-Thesis                                                       Mar. 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

Research interests

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. 

LogosAt 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 ( 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?

  • Experimental setup in the Bavarian Forest National Park (Interreg)
  • Field sampling of Trichoptera using light traps
  • Field trip duration: 2-4 weeks of sampling in summer/ autumn (2 weeks August, 2 weeks September)
  • Required: Good physical condition (hard work in the field including carrying heavy loads)

The effect of nitrogen addition on the development of lichenivorous moths (Lithosiini)

  • Rearing experiments in the laboratory
  • Duration (depending on the species development)
  • Possible Add-on experiments to check for intraspecific adaption to pollution or climate change

The effect of nitrogen addition and drought on moss and lichen communities on deadwood

  • Experimental setup planned in the Wissenschaftsgarten (still under review)
  • Managing the experimental sites and identifying moss and lichen communities

The effect of nitrogen addition and drought on deadwood colonization by beetles

  • Experimental setup planned in the Wissenschaftsgarten (still under review)
  • Managing the experimental sites, applying sticky tapes and identifying beetles 


Saproxylic beetles diversity in correlation to deadwood structural heterogeneity

  • Experimental setup in the Bavarian Forest National Park (Interreg)
  • Field sampling of beetles using pitfall traps
  • Field trip duration 1.8.2022 – 15.9.2022
  • Required: Good physical condition (hard work in the field also on rainy days)

Is Insect diversity more dependent on local deadwood enrichment vs. regional deadwood amount?

  • Experimental setup in the Bavarian Forest National Park (Interreg)
  • Field sampling of flying insects using flight interception traps
  • Field trip duration: 2-4 weeks of sampling in summer/autumn (2 weeks August, 2 weeks September)
  • Afterwards: Analysis in the laboratory (DNA-based identification)
  • Required: Good physical condition (hard work in the field also on rainy days)

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.

Selected research

  • Uhl, B., Wölfling, M., Fiala, B., & Fiedler, K. (2016). Micro-moth communities mirror environmental stress gradients within a Mediterranean nature reserve. Basic and Applied Ecology, 17(3), 273-281.
  • Wölfling, M., Becker, M. C., Uhl, B., Traub, A., & Fiedler, K. (2016). How differences in the settling behaviour of moths (Lepidoptera) may contribute to sampling bias when using automated light traps. European Journal of Entomology, 113, 502.
  • Wölfling, M., Uhl, B., & Fiedler, K. (2019). Multi-decadal surveys in a Mediterranean forest reserve–do succession and isolation drive moth species richness? Nature Conservation, 35, 25.
  • Uhl, B., Wölfling, M., & Fiedler, K. (2020). Understanding small-scale insect diversity patterns inside two nature reserves: the role of local and landscape factors. Biodiversity and Conservation, 29(7), 2399-2418.
  • Uhl, B., Wölfling, M., & Fiedler, K. (2020). Local, forest stand and landscape-scale correlates of plant communities in isolated coastal forest reserves. Plant Biosystems-An International Journal Dealing with all Aspects of Plant Biology, 1-13.
  • Wölfling, M., Uhl, B., & Fiedler, K. (2020). Ecological Drift and Directional Community Change in an Isolated Mediterranean Forest Reserve—Larger Moth Species Under Higher Threat. Journal of Insect Science, 20(5), 7.
  • Uhl, B., Wölfling, M., & Fiedler, K. (2021). From forest to fragment: compositional differences inside coastal forest moth assemblages and their environmental correlates. Oecologia, 195(2), 453-467.
  • Uhl, B., Wölfling, M., & Fiedler, K. (2021). Qualitative and quantitative loss of habitat at different spatial scales affects functional moth diversity. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, online first: