Soil Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning


Global Litter Invertebrate Decomposition Experiment

Dr. Volkmar Wolters
Department of Animal Ecology and Systematic Zoology
Justus-Liebig-University of Giessen
Heinrich-Buff-Ring 26-32
D-35392 Giessen
Tel.: (49) 641 99 35700
Fax: (49) 641 99 35709


Volkmar Wolters studied biology with special emphasis on zoology and animal ecology. He received a PhD with a thesis on animal ecology in 1985. He became Associate Professor at the University of Goettingen and then, Chair of ecology at the University of Mainz in 1993. Since late 1994, Wolters has been head of the Department of Zoology at the University of Giessen leading the animal ecology group. He has been engaged in animal ecology and ecosystem research over the past 20 years. He has long-term ecosystem research experience as the coordinator of the soil ecology group at the Forest Research Centre Göttingen, FRG (1989-1993) and as a coordinator of the Environmental Research Centre Mainz, FRG (1992-1994). He is member of the Scientific Steering Committee of IGBP-GCTE and leader of GCTE activity 4.2. (Global change effects on biodiversity), which is also part of DIVERSITAS (programme element 1). He has recently been appointed as a coordinator of a large biodiversity programme (BIOLOG) funded by the German Government.

Volkmar Wolters expertise is in invertebrate diversity, animal/microbial interactions, landscape ecology, and ecosystem research. He has coordinated projects such as GLOBIS and DEGREE within the 4th framework of the EU, participated in CANIF (4th framework) and now participates in FORCAST (5th framework, part of CARBOEUROPE Cluster). The Department of Animal Ecology runs several ecosystem scale experiments across Europe and in Germany. Wolters currently runs seven funded projects. Two projects funded by the German Research Council (DFG) and another project funded by the German Ministry of Science (BMBF). One DFG project focuses on the effect of soil biota on plant resistance to stress (SAR Research Group). Together with three colleagues, he has recently succeeded in applying for the DFG Schwerpunktprogramm entitled, 'Stabilization of organic substances in soil: mechanisms and regulation.' Within this programme he runs a project on the stabilization of organic substances by soil biota. Another BMBF project led by Wolters is on soil biodiversity and sustainable forestry.

Some recent publications:

Dauber J, Wolters V (2000) Microbial activity and functional diversity in the mounds of three different ant species. Soil Biology & Biochemistry 32, 93-99.

Dauber J, Wolters V (2000) Species richness of ants in the land use mosaic of a marginal landscape. Mitt. Dtsch. Ges. allg. angew. Ent. 12, 281-284. (German with English summary)

Pfaff S, Wolters V (1999) The impact of agricultural management on diurnal lepidopteran communities in a mosaic landscape. EcoSys Suppl. Bd. 28, 159-167.

Hooper DU, Bignell DE, Brown VK, Brussaard L, Dangerfield JM, Wall DH,. Wardle; DA Coleman DC, Giller KE, Lavelle P, van der Putten WH, de Ruiter PC, Rusek J, Silver WL, Tiedje JM, Wolters V (2000) Interactions between above and belowground biodiversity in terrestrial ecosystems: patterns, mechanisms, and feedbacks. BioScience 50, 1049-1061.

Potthoff M, Joergensen RG, Wolters V (2001) Short-term effects of earthworm activity and straw amendment on the microbial C and N turnover in a remoistened soil after summer drought. Soil Biology & Biochemistry 33, 583-591.

Troumbis A, Beier C, Wolters V, Peter D: Terrestrial ecosystem research in Europe: Lessons from the European Union's research policy 1996-2001. Environmental Science & Policy, in press

Wolters V (2000) Invertebrate control of soil organic matter stability. Biology and Fertility of Soils 31, 1-19.

Wolters V, Silver WL, Bignell DE, Coleman DC, Lavelle P, van der Putten WH, de Ruiter PC, Rusek J, Wall DH, Wardle DA, Brussaard L, Dangerfield JM, Brown VK, Giller KE, Hooper DU, Sala O, Tiedje JM, van Veen JA (2000) Effects of global changes on above- and belowground biodiversity in terrestrial ecosystems: Implications for ecosystem functioning. BioSience 50, 1089-1098.

Wolters V, Pflug A, Taylor AR, Schroeter D: Diversity and role of the decomposer food web. In: Schulze E-D (ed) Carbon and Nitrogen Cycling in European Forest Ecosystems. Ecological Studies 142, Springer-Verlag, Heidelberg, pp. 366-381.



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This webpage is funded by the Soil Science Society of America.

Please contact the GLIDE headquarters (email: if you have any comments or questions.

GLIDE was a project of the International Biodiversity Observation Year 2001-2002

This material is based upon work supported in part by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 98 06437 Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.


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This page was last updated on February 1, 2005

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