Dr. Sebastian T. Meyer

Chair for Terrestrial Ecology

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

Phone: +49.8161.71.4219
Fax:     +49.8161.71.4427
E-mail: Sebastian.T.Meyer[at]tum.de

Curriculum vitae

2011- present Post-doc TU Munich
2009- 2011 Post-doc Friedrich Schiller University Jena
2008- 2009 Post-doc University of Kaiserslautern
2008 Doctoral degree (summa cum laude) University of Kaiserslautern
2004- 2008 Doctoral project “Ecosystem engineering in fragmented forests: Edge-mediated hyper-abundance of leaf-cutting ants and resulting impacts on forest structure, microclimate, and regeneration” University of Kaiserslautern and University of Recife, Brazil
2004 Diploma Biology University of Kaiserslautern
2003- 2004 Diploma project “Herbivory and Drought Stress - Interactive effects of plant stress and feeding by leaf-cutting ants” University of Kaiserslautern
2003 Research internship “Drought resistance of tropical tree seedling” (DAAD Fellowship) Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI); Panama
2002- 2003 Research assistant in Case-study on the radioactive contamination of wild boars. Forschungsanstalt für Waldökologie und Forstwirtschaft, Trippstadt, Germany
2001- 2004 Studying Biology University of Kaiserslautern
2000- 2001 Studying Biochemisty, Molecular Biology and Genetics University of Wales, College Cardiff; UK
2000 Vordiplom Biology Johannes-Gutenberg-University Mainz

Research interest

My research focuses on the question how species rich ecosystems differ from species poor systems in their properties and functioning. I am especially interested in plant animal interactions and try to understand the reciprocal effects between herbivores, their natural enemies, and plant diversity. More applied aspects of my research investigate how these interactions, and ecosystem functions in general, are altered by human activities like forest fragmentation, land-use, and species introductions.

Current Projects

The Jena Experiment (www.the-jena-experiment.de)
As synthesis post-doc of one of the largest Biodiversity Experiments, I analyze how plant diversity changes functions and properties ranging from abiotic conditions to species interactions, from above- to belowground, and from plants to top predators. These analyses are based on a large pool of data collected during the last 12 years by members of the research unit. In addition, I measure rates of herbivory and predation investigating their relationship to plant diversity and plant traits. These measurements are currently conducted within the doctoral thesis of Lionel Hertzog.

Rapid measurements of ecosystem functions
Quantifying ecosystem functioning is important for both fundamental and applied ecological research. However, there is currently a gap between the data available and the data needed to address topical questions, such as the drivers of functioning in different ecosystems under global change or the best management to sustain provisioning of ecosystem functions and services. To close the identified ecosystem functioning data gap, I research low-tech, easy to use, repeatable, and cost efficient methods than can be used to measure proxies of ecosystem functions. The collection of these methods for of important ecosystem functions I named Rapid Ecosystem Function Assessment (REFA). Using REFA enables standardized and comparable measurements of proxies for ecosystem functions on a large scale within and across studies. A review introducing REFA has been published in Trends in Ecology and Evolution.

Degradation of South Brazilian grasslands
Natural grasslands in south Brazil have at a large scale been converted into tree plantations or agricultural land or been severely degraded. This project, which is a cooperation between the groups for restoration ecology and terrestrial ecology at TUM, investigates the biotic composition and the ability to perform ecosystem functions at grassland sites spanning a degradation gradient. In addition, the potential of these sites for ecological restoration and suitable techniques are assessed.

The invasive plant species Tansy and Goldenrod in a cross-continent competition experiment
While Goldenrod is invasive in Europe and hypothesized to suppress native Tansy, Tansy is invasive in North America, potentially replacing Goldenrod. This doctorate project by Nafiseh Nahdavi investigates in cooperation with Ray Callaway (University of Montana) the competitive interactions between the two plants in field experiments on both continents and additional greenhouse experiments. A focus of the project is the role played by herbivores for the competitive outcome in native and introduced ranges.



Husemann, M., R. Rogers, S. Meyer and J. C. Habel. 2017. “Publicationism” and scientists’ satisfaction depend on gender, career stage and the wider academic system. Palgrave Communications 3:17032. PDF


Craven, D., F. Isbell, P. Manning, J. Connolly, H. Bruelheide, A. Ebeling, C. Roscher, J. Van Ruijven, A. Weigelt, B. Wilsey, C. Beierkuhnlein, E. De Luca, J. N. Griffin, Y. Hautier, A. Hector, A. Jentsch, J. Kreyling, V. Lanta, M. Loreau, S. T. Meyer, A. S. Mori, S. Naeem, C. Palmborg, H. W. Polley, P. B. Reich, B. Schmid, A. Siebenkäs, E. Seabloom, M. P. Thakur, D. Tilman, A. Vogel and N. Eisenhauer. 2016. Plant diversity effects on grassland productivity are robust to both nutrient enrichment and drought. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences 371:20150277. PDF

Hertzog, L. R., A. Ebeling, S. T. Meyer, N. Eisenhauer, C. Fischer, A. Hildebrandt, C. Wagg and W. W. Weisser. 2016. High Survival of Lasius niger during Summer Flooding in a European Grassland. PLoS ONE 11:e0152777. PDF

Hertzog, L. R., S. T. Meyer, W. W. Weisser and A. Ebeling. 2016. Experimental Manipulation of Grassland Plant Diversity Induces Complex Shifts in Aboveground Arthropod Diversity. PLoS ONE 11:e0148768. PDF

Koch, C., T. Conradi, M. M. Gossner, J. M. Hermann, J. Leidinger, S. T. Meyer, G. E. Overbeck, W. W. Weisser and J. Kollmann. 2016. Management intensity and temporary conversion to other land-use types affect plant diversity and species composition of subtropical grasslands in southern Brazil. Applied Vegetation Science 19:589-599.

Lefcheck, J. S., S. J. Brandl, P. L. Reynolds, A. R. Smyth and S. T. Meyer. 2016. Extending Rapid Ecosystem Fuction Assessments to Marine Ecosystems: A Reply to Meyer. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 331:251-253. PDF

Meyer, S. T., A. Ebeling, N. Eisenhauer, L. Hertzog, H. Hillebrand, A. Milcu, S. Pompe, M. Abbas, H. Bessler, N. Buchmann, E. De Luca, C. Engels, M. Fischer, G. Gleixner, A. Hudewenz, A.-M. Klein, H. De Kroon, S. Leimer, H. Loranger, L. Mommer, Y. Oelmann, J. M. Ravenek, C. Roscher, T. Rottstock, C. Scherber, M. Scherer-Lorenzen, S. Scheu, B. Schmid, E.-D. Schulze, A. Staudler, T. Strecker, V. Temperton, T. Tscharntke, A. Vogel, W. Voigt, A. Weigelt, W. Wilcke and W. W. Weisser. 2016. Effects of biodiversity strengthen over time as ecosystem functioning declines at low and increases at high biodiversity. Ecosphere 7:e01619. PDF

Schroeder-Georgi, T., C. Wirth, K. Nadrowski, S. T. Meyer, L. Mommer and A. Weigelt. 2016. From pots to plots: Hierarchical trait-based prediction of plant performance in a mesic grassland. Journal of Ecology 104:206-218. PDF

Zytynska, S. E., S. T. Meyer, S. Sturm, W. Ullmann, M. Mehrparvar and W. W. Weisser. 2016. Secondary bacterial symbiont community in aphids responds to plant diversity. Oecologia 180:735-747. PDF


Isbell, F., D. Craven, J. Connolly, M. Loreau, B. Schmid, C. Beierkuhnlein, T. M. Bezemer, C. Bonin, H. Bruelheide, E. De Luca, A. Ebeling, J. N. Griffin, Q. Guo, Y. Hautier, A. Hector, A. Jentsch, J. Kreyling, V. Lanta, P. Manning, S. T. Meyer, A. S. Mori, S. Naeem, P. A. Niklaus, H. W. Polley, P. B. Reich, C. Roscher, E. W. Seabloom, M. D. Smith, M. P. Thakur, D. Tilman, B. F. Tracy, W. H. Van Der Putten, J. Van Ruijven, A. Weigelt, W. W. Weisser, B. Wilsey and N. Eisenhauer. 2015. Biodiversity increases the resistance of ecosystem productivity to climate extremes. Nature 526:574-577. Link to Nature

Meyer, S. T., C. Koch and W. W. Weisser. 2015. Towards a standardized Rapid Ecosystem Function Assessment (REFA). Trends in Ecology and Evolution 30:390-397. PDF

Overbeck, G. E., E. Vélez-Martin, F. R. Scarano, T. M. Lewinsohn, C. R. Fonseca, S. T. Meyer, S. C. Müller, P. Ceotto, L. Dadalt, G. Durigan, G. Ganade, M. M. Gossner, D. L. Guadagnin, K. Lorenzen, C. M. Jacobi, W. W. Weisser and V. D. Pillar. 2015. Conservation in Brazil needs to include non-forest ecosystems. Diversity and Distributions 21:1455-1460. PDF

Stephan, J. G., R. Wirth, I. R. Leal and S. T. Meyer. 2015. Spatially Heterogeneous Nest-Clearing Behavior Coincides with Rain Event in the Leaf-Cutting Ant Atta cephalotes (L.) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Neotropical Entomology 44:123-128. PDF


Ebeling, A., S. T. Meyer, M. Abbas, N. Eisenhauer, H. Hillebrand, M. Lange, C. Scherber, A. Vogel, A. Weigelt and W. W. Weisser. 2014. Plant Diversity Impacts Decomposition and Herbivory via Changes in Aboveground Arthropods. PLoS ONE 9:e106529. PDF

Gossner, M. M., W. W. Weisser, and S. T. Meyer. 2014. Invertebrate herbivory decreases along a gradient of increasing land-use intensity in German grasslands. Basic and Applied Ecology 15:347-352. PDF

Loranger, H., W. Weisser, A. Ebeling, T. Eggers, E. De Luca, J. Loranger, C. Roscher, and S. Meyer. 2014. Invertebrate herbivory increases along an experimental gradient of grassland plant diversity. Oecologia 174:183-193. PDF

Mahdavi-Arab, N., S. T. Meyer, M. Mehrparvar and W. W. Weisser. 2014. Complex Effects of Fertilization on Plant and Herbivore Performance in the Presence of a Plant Competitor and Activated Carbon. PLoS ONE 9:e103731. PDF

Turcotte, M. M., C. J. M. Thomsen, G. T. Broadhead, P. V. A. Fine, R. M. Godfrey, G. P. A. Lamarre, S. T. Meyer, L. A. Richards, and M. T. J. Johnson. 2014. Percentage leaf herbivory across vascular plant species. Ecology 95:788-788. PDF


Allan, E., W. Weisser, M. Fischer, E.-D. Schulze, A. Weigelt, C. Roscher, J. Baade, R. Barnard, H. Beßler, N. Buchmann, A. Ebeling, N. Eisenhauer, C. Engels, A. F. Fergus, G. Gleixner, M. Gubsch, S. Halle, A. Klein, I. Kertscher, A. Kuu, M. Lange, X. Roux, S. Meyer, V. Migunova, A. Milcu, P. Niklaus, Y. Oelmann, E. Pašali?, J. Petermann, F. Poly, T. Rottstock, A. W. Sabais, C. Scherber, M. Scherer-Lorenzen, S. Scheu, S. Steinbeiss, G. Schwichtenberg, V. Temperton, T. Tscharntke, W. Voigt, W. Wilcke, C. Wirth, and B. Schmid. 2013. A comparison of the strength of biodiversity effects across multiple functions. Oecologia 173:223-237. PDF

Habel, J. C., M. M. Gossner, S. T. Meyer, H. Eggermont, L. Lens, J. Dengler, and W. W. Weisser. 2013. Mind the gaps when using science to address conservation concerns. Biodiversity and Conservation 22:2413-2427. PDF

Loranger, J., S. T. Meyer, B. Shipley, J. Kattge, H. Loranger, C. Roscher, C. Wirth, and W. W. Weisser. 2013. Predicting invertebrate herbivory from plant traits: polycultures show strong non-additive effects. Ecology 94:1499-1509. PDF

Meyer, S. T., M. Neubauer, E. J. Sayer, I. R. Leal, M. Tabarelli, and R. Wirth. 2013. Leaf-cutting ants as ecosystem engineers: topsoil and litter perturbations around Atta cephalotes nests reduce nutrient availability. Ecological Entomology 38:497-504. PDF

Milcu, A., E. Allan, C. Roscher, T. Jenkins, S. T. Meyer, D. F. B. Flynn, H. Bessler, F. Buscot, C. Engels, M. Gubsch, S. König, A. Lipowsky, J. Loranger, C. Renker, C. Scherber, B. Schmid, E. Thébault, T. Wubet, W. W. Weisser, S. Scheu, and N. Eisenhauer. 2013. Functionally and phylogenetically diverse plant communities key to soil biota. Ecology 94:1878–1885. PDF

Overbeck, G. E., J.-M. Hermann, B. O. Andrade, I. I. Boldrini, K. Kiehl, A. Kirmer, C. Koch, J. Kollmann, S. T. Meyer, S. C. Müller, C. Nabinger, G. Pilger, J. P. P. Trindade, E. Vélez, E. Walker, D. G. Zimmermann, and V. D. Pillar. 2013. Restoration ecology in Brazil – time to step out of the forest; Ecologia de restauração no Brasil – mais do que plantar árvores? Sociedade & Natureza 11:92-95. PDF


Loranger, J., S. T. Meyer, B. Shipley, J. Kattge, H. Loranger, C. Roscher, and W. W. Weisser. 2012. Predicting invertebrate herbivory from plant traits: evidence from 51 grassland species in experimental monocultures. Ecology 93:2674-2682. PDF

Ribeiro Neto, J. D., B. X. Pinho, S. T. Meyer, R. Wirth, and I. R. Leal. 2012. Drought stress drives intraspecific choice of food plants by Atta leaf-cutting ants. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 144:209-215. PDF


Dohm, C., I. R. Leal, M. Tabarelli, S. T. Meyer, and R. Wirth. 2011. Leaf-cutting ants proliferate in the Amazon: an expected response to forest edge? Journal of Tropical Ecology 27:645-649. PDF

Meyer, S. T., I. R. Leal, M. Tabarelli, and R. Wirth. 2011. Ecosystem engineering by leaf-cutting ants: nests of Atta cephalotes drastically alter forest structure and microclimate. Ecological Entomology 36:14-24. PDF

Meyer, S. T., I. R. Leal, M. Tabarelli, and R. Wirth. 2011. Performance and fate of tree seedlings on and around nests of the leaf-cutting ant Atta cephalotes: Ecological filters in a fragmented forest. Austral Ecology 36:779-790. PDF


Meyer, S. T., I. R. Leal, and R. Wirth. 2009. Persisting hyper-abundance of leaf-cutting ants (Atta spp.) at the edge of an old Atlantic Forest fragment. Biotropica 41:711-716. PDF


Meyer, S. T. 2008. Ecosystem engineering in fragmented forests - Edge-mediated hyper-abundance of leaf-cutting ants and resulting impacts on forest structure, microclimate and regeneration. Doctoral Thesis. University of Kaiserslautern, Kaiserslautern, Germany. PDF

Wirth, R., S. T. Meyer, I. R. Leal, and M. Tabarelli. 2008. Plant-herbivore interactions at the forest edge. Progress in Botany 69:423-448. PDF


Wirth, R., S. T. Meyer, W. R. Almeida, M. V. Araújo Jr., V. S. Barbosa, and I. R. Leal. 2007. Increasing densities of leaf-cutting ants (Atta spp.) with proximity to the edge in a Brazilian Atlantic forest. Journal of Tropical Ecology 23:501-505. PDF


Meyer, S. T., F. Roces, and R. Wirth. 2006. Selecting the drought stressed: effects of plant stress on intraspecific and within-plant herbivory patterns of the leaf-cutting ant Atta colombica. Functional Ecology 20:973-981. PDF