Matthias Schleuning

PD Dr. Matthias Schleuning

Senior scientist
Head of Senior Scientist Group 'Functional Ecology and Global Change'

Fields of interest

I am fascinated by interactions between organisms, especially if they are mutually beneficial for both partners*. To disentangle webs of interacting organisms, I study species interactions in ecological communities along anthropogenic gradients and across large spatial scales. My research aims at the identification of the major ecological and evolutionary drivers of species interactions and at a better understanding of the functional importance of species interactions for entire ecosystems. I hope that this work will help to improve predictions of the consequences of species loss for ecosystem functioning. (*I usually become enthusiastic if one of the interaction partners has wings and a beak.)

- Mutualistic plant-animal networks
- Biodiversity and ecosystem functioning
- Functional diversity of ecological communities
- Pollination and seed dispersal by animals
- Plant demography

- Observational and experimental field studies
- Meta-analyses across large spatial scales
- Trait-based network analysis
- Structural equation modeling

Study areas
- Tropical Andes
- Tropical and subtropical Africa
- Germany

Google Scholar Profile

Researcher ID H-2154-2015

ResearchGate Profile

Short CV


Associate Editor for Functional Ecology

Recent publications:

Ferger, S.W., Peters, M.K., Appelhans, T., Detsch, F., Hemp, A., Nauss, T., Otte, I., Böhning-Gaese, K. & Schleuning, M. (online early). Synergistic effects of climate and land use on avian beta-diversity. Diversity and Distributions, doi: 10.1111/ddi.12615.

Dalsgaard, B., Schleuning, M., Maruyama, P.K., Dehling, D.M., Sonne, J., Vizentin‐Bugoni, J., Zanata, T.B., Fjeldså, J., Böhning‐Gaese, K. & Rahbek, C. (online early). Opposed latitudinal patterns of network‐derived and dietary specialization in avian plant‐frugivore interaction systems. Ecography, online early, doi: 10.1111/ecog.02604. [highlighted on the Ecography blog]

Vollstädt, M.G.R., Ferger, S.W., Hemp, A., Howell, K.M., Töpfer, T., Böhning-Gaese, K. & Schleuning, M. (2017). Direct and indirect effects of climate, human disturbance and plant traits on avian functional diversity. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 26, 963-972.

Donoso, I., Schleuning, M., García, D. & Fründ, J. (2017). Defaunation effects on plant recruitment depend on size matching and size trade-offs in seed-dispersal networks. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 284, 20162664.

Bender, I.M.A., Kissling, W.D.K., Böhning-Gaese, K., Hensen, I., Kühn, I., Wiegand, T., Dehling, D.M. & Schleuning, M. (2017). Functionally specialised birds respond flexibly to seasonal changes in fruit availability. Journal of Animal Ecology, 86, 800-811.

Muñoz, M.C., Schaefer, H.M., Böhning-Gaese, K. & Schleuning, M. (2017). Importance of animal and plant traits for fruit removal and seedling recruitment in a tropical forest. Oikos, 126, 823-832.

Press coverage:

Interaction Networks
Picky fruit-eating birds are more flexible [English]
Science Daily, 11 May 2017
Domino-Effekt beim Artensterben [German]
Spiegel Online, 6 January 2017
Fataler Domino-Effekt [German]
Frankfurter Rundschau, 5 January 2017
The loss of plant species triggers the extinction of animals [English]
Science Daily, 4 January 2017
Flexible Tropen-Arten [German]
Neue Züricher Zeitung (CH) - Print und Online, 26 September 2012
Tropische Artenvielfalt macht Vögel nicht zu Spezialisten [German]
Der Standard (A), 21 September 2012

Conservation biology
Warum tropische Wälder dringend große Vögel brauchen [German]
Der Standard (A), 24 December 2016
Loss of large fruit-eating birds threatens tropical forests [English]
Science Daily, 7 December 2016
Ants plant rainforests, one seed at a time [English], 14 April 2014
Ants help plant tomorrow's rainforests [English]
Science Magazine, 21 March 2014
Biodiversity = More (and Better) Coffee [English]
The Scientist, 11 February 2014
Functional Fragments [English]
Conservation Magazine, 29 November 2011
Überraschender Nutzen - Auch Regenwaldinseln erfüllen ökologische Funktionen [German]
Deutschlandfunk (D), 16 December 2011
Nützlicher Flickenteppich [German]
Welt (D), 28 November 2011
Selbst fragmentierter Wald behält seine ökologischen Funktionen [German]
Der Standard (A), 25 November 2011

Phone: 069 7542 1892