Dr. Nadja Simons (geb. Hersacher)

Chair for Terrestrial Ecology

Department of Ecology and Ecosystemmanagement
Technische Universität München
Hans-Carl-von-Carlowitz-Platz 2
D-85350 Freising-Weihenstephan

Room:  1.1.2.3
Phone: +49.8161.71.3713
Fax:     +49.8161.71.4427
E-mail: nadja.simons[at]tum.de

Curriculum vitae

Since 07/2015 Postdoc at the Chair of Terrestrial Ecology, TU München within the BioHolz Project
10/2011- 05/2015 PhD student at the Chair of Terrestrial Ecology, TU München within the Biodiversity Exploratories. Thesis: Effects of land-use intensity on arthropod diversity and community structure in grassland
08/2011 Masterthesis at the Department of Plant Ecology and the Department of Animal Ecology, Justus Liebig University Giessen. Title: "Impact of elevated CO2 and increasing temperature on plant phenology, community structure and plant-pollinator interactions in a temperate grassland" Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Ludger Grünhage, Dr. Tim Diekötter
10/2009- 09/2011 Studies of Biology at the Justus Liebig University Giessen. Specialization in Animal and Plant Ecology
07/2009 Bachelorthesis at the Department of Functional Ecology in Plants, Carl-von-Ossietzky-University Oldenburg. Title: "Lightfleck-usage by epiphytes and terrestrial plants in a tropical understorey". Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Gerhard Zotz
03/2009- 04/2009 Field research on Barro Colorado Island, Panama (at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute)
10/2006- 09/2009 Studies of Biology at the Carl-von-Ossietzky-University Oldenburg
09/2005- 08/2006 Gap year for voluntary work in the environmental sector on the East Frisian Island Wangerooge at the Conservation and research community Mellumrat e. V., www.mellumrat.de

Research interest

My research interests cover different aspects of human-induced changes on biodiversity and community structure. For my master thesis, I evaluated how an increase in atmospheric levels of CO2 will affect the phenology (in particular onset of flowering) of temperate grassland plant species. I found that the onset of flowering shifted in some species towards an earlier flowering start under elevated levels of CO2, which led to a higher number of pollinator interactions for those individuals in comparison with individuals under ambient levels of CO2.

During my PhD within the Biodiversity Exploratories, I evaluated the effects of management intensity on biodiversity in grasslands with a focus on arthropod (insects and spiders) diversity and arthropod community structure. I could show that the reduction in arthropod species richness under intensive grassland management is driven by changes in the plant community for herbivorous arthropods and by changes in the insect community for predatory arthropods. I also found that the community structure in arthropods shifts towards a stronger dominance of the most abundant species within the community and a smaller number of rare species. I could show that the species with the smallest distribution within the study regions are threatened most by intensive land use. Furthermore, I found that the trait composition of species shifts from low to high land-use intensity, with communities under intensive land use being on average smaller and having a better dispersal ability. Additionally, I evaluated how single species’ abundances change with land-use intensity and how this information could be used to inform management decisions.

Since 2015, I work in a newly established project (BioHolz Projekt), which aims at assessing and quantifying ecosystem services delivered by deadwood in managed forests in order to inform forest managers on how they can integrate biodiversity conservation within their management. Within this project, I’ll develop production functions for different ecosystem services based on the amount of deadwood available in a forest and the forest management strategy. These production functions will be implemented within the program InVEST (http://www.naturalcapitalproject.org/) which is used to map ecosystem services on a landscape scale. Additionally to informing management decisions, we want to better understand how biodiversity as an ecosystem service can be promoted and how higher levels of biodiversity in turn increases other ecosystem services.

Projects

Publications

2017

Simons, N. K. and W. W. Weisser. 2017. Agricultural intensification without biodiversity loss is possible in grassland landscapes. Nature Ecology & Evolution. DOI:10.1038/s41559-017-0227-2. In der Presse. PDF

Simons, N. K., T. Lewinsohn, N. Blüthgen, F. Buscot, S. Boch, R. Daniel, M. M. Gossner, K. Jung, K. Kaiser, J. Müller, D. Prati, S. C. Renner, S. A. Socher, I. Sonnemann, C. N. Weiner, M. Werner, T. Wubet, S. Wurst and W. W. Weisser. 2017. Contrasting effects of grassland management modes on species-abundance distributions of multiple groups. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 237:143-153. PDF

2016

Blüthgen, N., N. K. Simons, K. Jung, D. Prati, S. C. Renner, S. Boch, M. Fischer, N. Hölzel, V. H. Klaus, T. Kleinebecker, M. Tschapka, W. W. Weisser and M. M. Gossner. 2016. Land use imperils plant and animal community stability through changes in asynchrony rather than diversity. Nature Communications 7:10697 DOI:10.1038/ncomms10697. PDF

Chisté, M. N., K. Mody, M. M. Gossner, N. K. Simons, G. Köhler, W. W. Weisser and N. Blüthgen. 2016. Losers, winners, and opportunists: How grassland land-use intensity affects orthopteran communities. Ecosphere 7:e01545. PDF

Simons, N. K., W. W. Weisser and M. M. Gossner. 2016. Multi-taxa approach shows consistent shifts in arthropod functional traits along grassland land-use intensity gradient. Ecology 97:754-764. PDF

2015

Gamez-Virues, S., D. J. Perovic, M. M. Gossner, C. Borschig, N. Bluthgen, H. De Jong, N. K. Simons, A.-M. Klein, J. Krauss, G. Maier, C. Scherber, J. Steckel, C. Rothenwohrer, I. Steffan-Dewenter, C. N. Weiner, W. W. Weisser, M. Werner, T. Tscharntke and C. Westphal. 2015. Landscape simplification filters species traits and drives biotic homogenization. Nature Communications 6:8568-8568. PDF

Gossner, M. M., N. K. Simons, R. Achtziger, T. Blick, W. H. O. Dorow, F. Dziock, F. Köhler, W. Rabitsch and W. W. Weisser. 2015. A summary of eight traits of Coleoptera, Hemiptera, Orthoptera and Araneae, occurring in grasslands in Germany. Scientific Data 2:150013-150013. PDF

Gossner, M. M., N. K. Simons, L. Höck and W. W. Weisser. 2015. Morphometric measures of Heteroptera sampled in grasslands across three regions of Germany. Ecology 96:1154-1154. PDF

2014

Simons, N. K., M. M. Gossner, T. M. Lewinsohn, S. Boch, M. Lange, J. Müller, E. Pašalic, S. A. Socher, M. Türke, M. Fischer, and W. W. Weisser. 2014. Resource-Mediated Indirect Effects of Grassland Management on Arthropod Diversity. PLoS ONE 9:e107033. PDF

Simons, N. K., M. M. Gossner, T. M. Lewinsohn, M. Lange, M. Türke, and W. W. Weisser. 2014. Effects of land-use intensity on arthropod species abundance distributions in grasslands. Journal of Animal Ecology 84:143-154. PDF

2007

Oberdiek, N. and N. Hersacher. 2007. Phänologie, Bestandsentwicklung und räumliche Verteilung der Dunkelbäuchigen Ringelgans (Branta b. bernicla) auf Wangerooge. Natur- und Umweltschutz (Zeitschrift Mellumrat) 6-2:45-51.

Conference Presentations

Simons, N. K., M. M. Gossner, and W. W. Weisser. 2014. Land-use intensity and arthropod functional diversity in grasslands. 44th Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of Germany, Austria and Switzerland, Hildesheim; 09/2014.

Hersacher, N. K., M. M. Gossner, T. M. Lewinsohn, M. Lange, E. Pasalic, M. Türke, S. Boch, J. Müller, S. Socher, D. Prati, M. Fischer, and W. W. Weisser. 2013. Land-use intensity in semi-natural grasslands indirectly affects arthropod diversity through changes in resource diversity or abundance. Presentation at the 98th Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting 2013, 4-9 Aug 2013, COS 2077-2014. http://f1000.com/posters/browse/summary/1094160

Simons, N. K., M. M. Gossner, W. W. Weisser, and T. M. Lewinsohn. 2013. Land-use intensity in semi-natural grasslands indirectly affects arthropod diversity through changes in resource diversity or abundance. 43rd Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of Germany, Austria and Switzerland, Potsdam; 09/2013.

Simons, N. K., M. M. Gossner, and W. W. Weisser. 2012. Effects of grassland management on functional arthropod diversity. 42nd Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of Germany, Austria and Switzerland; 09/2012.

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