Plant Ecology Group

A warm welcome to the Plant Ecology working group website, led by Prof. Dr. Katja Tielbörger! Here you can find information to our main research topics, our teaching, our staff, job announcements and news. Ms Tielbörger is also head of the Botanical Garden.

If you want to get us to know us better, join one of our regular group seminars which we have together with the Plant Evolutionary Ecology group! Here we're presenting our work and theses which give a great insight into the highly active and diverse range of research topics.

Enjoy exploring our working group website and feel free to contact anyone if you are interested in finding out anymore about any particular topics, or if you want to pay us a visit. We are highly encouraging in accepting new student thesis projects, as well as new ideas for PhD and post-doc possibilities.




A very warm welcome to Maxi, who is (re-) joining the group as PostDoc in the DRIeR project.


After almost 9 years Mark is leaving the group and heads towards Namibia. We wish you all the best and thank you for all your great work as lecturer, supervisor and scientist and even more so for being great company!


Mark co-authored an article on responses of burrowing mammals to contrasting rangeland management. You can find it at the newly established Namibian Journal of Environment. The paper is a result of Mark's time in Namibia last year. Well done!


The Plant Ecology group wishes all students and colleagues a good start and a successful 2018!


Michal, Dorothee, Maja and Katja have a new article in Nature Communications on 'Decision-making in plants under competion', you can read the article here


The recently published article of Mark Bilton is receiving media interest. Congratulations Mark!
Here are some of the outlets that picked up the article: 1, 2, 3


A large delegation of the group is visiting this year's joint confrence of the GFÖ and BES in Ghent, Belgium. Have fun and we wish you many fruitful discussions!


Congratulations to Mark Bilton on his new article on long-term responses of climatic niche groups to experimental warming and drought. The article was published today in New Phytologist.


A very warm welcome to our guest Dr. Anje-Margriet Neutel from the British Antarctic Survey. Anje is a collaborator of Korinna and will be giving a talk on "Making sense of a multitude of feedbacks in ecological communities" within this week's EvE Seminar (Wednesday, 22nd of November). Welcome!


The new experiment within the HEDGE2 project on plant traits responses to common grassland management practices at Heuberger Tor is finally set up. In the last weeks 2880 pots were dug into the heavy soil and sown with 30 common grassland species. Ronja is very thankful for the help of everyone involved and is eagerly awaiting germination of seeds...


A warm welcome to Allan Kandjai from the Namibian University of Science and Technology. Allan is working in the OPTIMASS project and is visiting us for two weeks to work on his masters thesis. Welcome Allan!


We wish all students a good and fresh start for the winter term!


Jan Ruppert co-authored an article in Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment on drivers of important ecosystem services in West African savannas.


Jan returned after a very succesful site selection and workshop trip in Namibia held within the NamTip project.


We are currently offering a position for a Post-Doctoral Researcher in Ecology/Ecohydrology. For information about the position and application details, please refer here.


Katja and Cornelia returned from a highly successful series of stakeholder workshops in Jordan, Palestine, and Israel held within the CASCADE project.


We would like to welcome Korinna Allhoff, our new Assistant Professor. Korinna is an expert on modelling ecological networks.  She has a particular interest on (long-term) responses of ecological networks to changing environmental conditions, such as global change or increasing rates of invasive species. Welcome!!


The CASCADE and NamTip consortia have picked up their work on these new projects during their respective Kick-Off meetings in Tübingen and Frankfurt, respectively. We are looking forward to a hopefully succesful pre-phase in both projects!


Welcome to Edwin Mudongo, a PhD student from Botswana. Edwin works on drought and grazing impacts on Savanna rangelands in South Africa and is co-supervised in our group.


More guests arrived: Again a very warm welcome to Dr. Madhur Anand from the University of Guelph, Canada. Dr. Anand is a renowed Global Change ecologist and will be spending her sabbatical with us and be around for 3 months.

Also a warm welcome to Thabang Maphanga, a Msc student from the Univeristy of Limpopo, South Africa, who is working on Smart Monitoring of Vegetation and will be staying for 2 months.


A very warm welcome to Dr. Cornelia Claus who has just joined our group! Cornelia will managing the CASCADE project. Welcome!


Michal's and Katja's project on 'Pavlovian conditioning in plants' is featured in the current issue of the Spiegel (20/2017) as well as on Spiegel Plus. Well done!


A large delegation of the group is attending the PopBio 2017, themed "Population Biology in a Changing World", in Halle/Saale this week. Enjoy!


Deeokjoo Son, a plant ecologist from Korea, will be visiting the our group in mid May for several weeks. If you are interested in meeting her, just let us know, or approach her in person.
Welcome Deeokjoo!


Three new students arrived: Maike Domogalla, Julia Fischer and Luzia Tiggemann are joinging the group for their respective theses - A warm welcome!


Jan Ruppert and Katja Tielbörger are part of a recently funded NamTip project within the BioTip call of the BMBF. NamTip investigates ecological tipping points in rangelands of Namibia and can, if successfully evaluated after the 1st year, lead into a longer project. The project is a cooperation of several German and Namibian research institutes.


Katja Tielbörger and a team of around 15 researchers from Germany, Belgium Palestine, Jordan, and Israel receive funding for transdiciplinary research. CASCADE addresses the multilateral relationship between biodiversity, climate change, and society, focusing on unwanted feedbacks in social-ecological systems (SES). If we are successfully evaluated after a one pre-year, we may be granted a larger project running for longer - Cross fingers!


Liesbeth vd Brink is off to Chile again. Safe journey!
Liesbeth is performing her PhD within the EarthShape project, studying biotic and abiotic controls of vegetation along Chile's climate gradient.


Ruichang Zhang successfully defended his PhD on intraspecific facilitation - Congratulations!


Maxi Herberich just got the first article from her PhD accepted in Ecological Modelling. Congratulations! Maxi works on an individual-based plant traits model.


New course: Botanik 2 (Flora und Vegetation Südwestdeutschlands)


New topics for Bachelor and Master thesis online! Find them here!


We are currently offering a PhD position (65% TV-L E13) within the HEDGE project. For information about the position and application details, please refer here.


Now Angela Gürtel works with us as our new Secretary. A warm welcome!


We are currently offering a Lecturer / Assistant Professor position (100% TV-L E13) in our group. For information about the position and application details, please refer here.


Jan Ruppert co-authored an article on effects of rangeland management on vegetation performance and condition in two South African biomes.


Jun Shi successfully defended his PhD - CONGRATULATIONS!
Jun will stay with us for a bit longer, but we already now would like to wish him the best for his future career!


Mark Bilton has just published an article in Advances in Ecological Research on climate change induced shifts in vegetation patterns across various ecosystems.


We are currently offering a 75% TV-L E6 position for our secretary and group administration ("Verwaltungsangestellte"). For information about the position and application details, please refer here.


Katja Tielbörger successful in new BMBF-BioTip call with the project CASCADE - we received funding for a transdiciplinary group composed of approx. 15 researchers from Germany, Belgium Palestine, Jordan, and Israel. If we are successfully evaluated after one year, we may be granted a large project running for longer. Cross fingers!


Mark Bilton got his new DFG-project approved and will be investigating the role of very complex traits for plant response to drought and grazing. Congratulations! We will be collaborating closely with Bettina Engelbrecht's group at Bayreuth University.


Jan Ruppert and Katja Tielbörger are part of a newly granted project within the BioTip call of the BMBF. The project NamTip will investigate tipping points in rangelands of Namibia and can, if successfully evaluated, lead into a longer project. The project is coordinated by Anja Linstädter from the University of Cologne.


Proud to announce that Jan Ruppert is giving a keynote lecture at the 10th International Rangeland Congress in Saskatoon, Canada. Taking place between July 16-22, Jan will give a presentation to this large meeting entitled: "Climate Change in Global Rangelands: A Dryland Ecologist's Perspective on Trends in Forage Quantity and Quality"


We are currently offering two technician positions in our group. Please check the details in the posting. Closing date: 25.06.2016 or until the positions have been filled.


The Integrated Water Resources Management book has been published and is now available here. It is packed with several contributions from the group:


Tielbörger K, Claus C, Schloz D, Twite R, Al-Karablieh E, Salman A, Jayyousi A, Alpert P 2016: Sustainable Water and Land Management under Global Change – The GLOWA Jordan River Project. Pp 721-747.


Onigkeit J, Simon K-H, Alcamo J, Tielbörger K 2016: Participatory scenario development as a method to integrate science and IWRM – lessons learnt from a case study in the Jordan River region. Pp 269-301.


Bonzi C, Onigkeit J, Hoff H, Joyce B, Tielbörger K 2016: Analysing stakeholder driven scenarios with a transboundary water planning tool for IWRM in the Jordan River basin. Pp 413-433.


All in: Borchardt D et al. (eds.): Integrated Water Resources Management: Concept, Research and Implementation. Springer (Berlin-Heidelberg).


We congratulate Maximilane Herberich (2nd prize student posters) and Anubhav Mohiley (2nd prize students presentation) for their excellent performance at this year's PopBio Conference. WELL DONE!


Seven delegates from the group are visiting this year's PopBio Conference in Třeboň, Czech Republic, presenting the diverse research in plant ecology from our group.


We are looking for Bachelor and Master students to start our project: Can plants learn? Pavlovian conditioning without a brain. Please contact Michal Gruntman!


Liesbeth van den Brink is currently in Olmué, Chile, attending the kick off meeting for the DFG priority programme "EarthShape". Liesbeth is a PhD student in our department, investigating climate change impacts in Chile.


Mark. C. Bilton has just published his article in PPEES, showing how the use of Climatic Niche Groups can reveal strong patterns explaining species composition shifts in relation to climate change. CONGRATULATIONS !


A warm welcome to Jan Ruppert who has joined our department as an Assistant Professor. He is a plant ecologist with a strong interest in dryland ecosystems (including South Africa), climate change and grazing impacts. WELCOME !!


Michal Gruntman and Anubhav Mohiley are in Mainz attending the 4th Annual Meeting of the DFG priority programme "Adaptomics" 1529. Presenting work related to heavy metal hyperaccumulation in Brassicaceae.


CONGRATULATIONS New VW foundation grant approved - Michal Gruntman and Katja Tielbörger have received a grant for their innovative project "Pavlovian Plants". A fascinating project which will investigate if plants can be conditioned to react to certain responses. The project has received widespread media and online attention.

Mail contact


University of Tübingen

Department of Plant Ecology
Institute of Evolution and Ecology


Auf der Morgenstelle 5
D-72076 Tuebingen




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