Berchtesgaden National Park comprises a large diversity of habitats including forest and open habitats which typically align along an elevational gradient. Within the forest belt natural disturbances, such as avalanches, bark beetle outbreaks, wind storms or rock slides, create temporary openings in the forest which then undergo natural succession. In addition, anthropogenic grasslands used as pastures represent permanent open habitats within the forest belt. The topic of the Thesis is to study changes in the composition of species communities and ecosystem processes along temporal (i.e. succession) and spatial (i.e. ecotones) gradients of habitat transitions. Biodiversity assessments will include a broad range of trophic levels including fungi, plants, insects and vertebrates. More general, the results from this study will help to understand how changes habitats caused by natural or anthropogenic drivers affects communities and processes and will help to guide conservation and land-use management decisions.
Your tasks include the installation of research sites, the collection of data in the field and laboratory, data analyses and writing. Berchtesgaden National Park will be the employer and place of work will be Berchtesgaden. The PhD program will be part of the graduate school of the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and you will be affiliated with the Ecosystem Dynamics and Forest Management Group (www.edfm.wzw.tum.de) at TUM.