DBG · Promoting young researchers

Malte L. Weber (Carl von Ossietzky-Universität Oldenburg)

Malte L. Weber's Master thesis was awarded with the Prize for the Best Plant Science Master Thesis, which was carried out at Carl von Ossietzky-Universität Oldenburg in the year 2022 with the title:

Detritus-filled crotches – an overlooked tree-related microhabitat in Central Europe

The theses systematically describes the fauna associated with crown microsoils in tree crotches in central Europe for the first time.

In the field of biodiversity research, tree-related microhabitats in the temperate zone have received substantial interest in the last decade, but one particular microhabitat type, crown microsoils in tree crotches, has largely escaped the attention of scientists. We present a study from Central Europe that focused on the meso- and macrofauna in this microhabitat type. In twelve crotches we found more than 3000 individual animals out of 14 orders, encompassing all major elements of the terrestrial soil decomposer food web. Collembola accounted for more than 50 % of the total. As expected, taxon richness correlated with habitat size. We conclude that this is an ideal natural system to study fundamental ecological questions of faunal community assembly.


Malte L. Weber conducted this work at the Institute for Biology and Environmental Sciences in the Functional Ecology of Plants lab with Prof. Dr. Gerhard Zotz.

......... Photo: Gerhard Zotz