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Impressions of Mt. Kilimanjaro and field work

Juliane Röder

PhD student


+49 (0) 6421 - 28 23381

Room C 2073

Juliane Röder by Gemma Rutten       
Research interests:

 arthropod community composition

 traits and functions

 elevation and other climate gradients

 tropical ecology 


PhD project

 Drivers of decomposition in the tropics: effects of climate and land-use on soil invertebrates

 (Supervisor Prof. Dr. Roland Brandl)

Arthropods in various sizes and shapes are some of the most important actors in ecosystem processes. Decomposition, pest control, pollination – we depend on those billions of tiny organisms, and their trillions of actions, every day. But we still know only little about the interactions determining the distribution and abundance of arthropods, especially in the tropics.  In the KiLi-Project, my main focus is on decomposition and on the contribution of arthropods to this process. Decomposition rates not only depend on climatic conditions, properties of the soil, quantity and quality of organic material, but on the activity of microbial, fungal and arthropod decomposers as well. So one of my main questions was under which conditions arthopod decomposers would influence the speed of litter decomposition. Another aim was to study characteristics of epigeic assemblages of arthropods in all major vegetation types on the southern slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro, from the savannah at 800m a.s.l., through the forest belt with camphor (Ocotea), Podocarpus and Erica trees, to the alpine Helichrysum communities around 4500m a.s.l.. Do predators really drop out faster than herbivors and decomposers towards higher elevations, as expected by a reduced food chain length in the harsh alpine environment and the life-dinner hypothesis? Can we track the presumed shortening of the food chain looking at the trophic level of spiders, strict predators?

Project affiliation

DFG research group Kilimanjaro (FOR 1246) “Kilimanjaro ecosystems under global change: Linking biodiversity, biotic interactions and biogeochemical ecosystem processes”

Effects of climate und land use change on biodiversity and ecosystem functioning of pollinators and decomposers

(subproject 7, Prof. Dr. Ingolf Steffan-Dewenter, Uni Würzburg and Prof. Dr. Roland Brandl, Uni Marburg)

KiLi Logo

Also at Marburg University:

Christine Fishaa Ngereza (Gastropoda), Sara Barup Frederiksen (Diplopoda; KiLi-project, subproject 7, PhD students AG Animal ecology)

Ecological Climatology and Remote Sensing at Mt. Kilimanjaro (KiLi-project, subproject 1, Prof. Dr. Thomas Nauss and Dr. Tim Appelhans)

DFG Logo

(Scientific) background

04/2019 - today
Project coordination for project BioHolz
  • Coordination and support for existing sampling schemes in project BioHolz
  • Deadwood experiment in close cooperation with project LandKlif
  • Database management
05/2016 - today Conference organization, press and outreach officer for the Ecological Society of Germany, Austria and Switzerland (GfÖ) and others
08/2010 – today PhD-Student / research assistant in the Animal Ecology working group
KiLi-Project - Kilimanjaro district and Mt. Kilimanjaro National Park, Tanzania
03/2018 - 10/2018
Scientific assistant, Botanical Garden Marburg & project ArnikaHessen
Raising and maintaining bumblebee colonies for pollination experiments with Arnica montana
08/2013 – 12/2013 Stipend of the Marburg University Research Academy (MARA)
10/2002 – 12/2009 Studies in Biology (graduated with diploma), University of Würzburg, Germany
Thesis: Diversity and community composition of canopy arthropods on Norway spruce (Picea abies) along an elevation gradient - Influences of climate, habitat structure and scale (Bavarian Forest National Park, Germany and Šumava National Park, Czech Republic)
01/2006 – 06/2006                            
ERASMUS semester abroad in Umeå, Sweden
Environmental archives of Lake Nydalasjön, Umea University, and alpine ecosystems at CIRC, Abisko, Sweden
02/2005 – 04/2005  
Internship in tropical ecology, Teluk Senangin, Malaysia
Nectar-secreting palm trees (Eugaissona tristis) and their mammal pollinators, field work

Key words  

 biodiversity, land-use gradients, functional traits, arthropod activity, litter decomposition, litter bags, bait lamina, pitfall traps, flight-interception traps 

Further interests

 dog training, wildlife detection dogs, playing with R, breeding mantids and other insects, drawing, great and small literature


Peters, M.K., Hemp, A., Appelhans, T., Becker, J.N., Behler, C., Classen, A., Detsch, F., Ensslin, A., Ferger, S.W., Frederiksen, S.B., Gebert, F., Gerschlauer, F., Gütlein, A., Helbig-Bonitz, M., Hemp, C., Kindeketa, W.J., Kühnel, A., Mayr, A., Mwangomo, E., Ngereza, C.F., Njovu, H.K., Otte, I., Pabst, H., Renner, M., Röder, J., Rutten, G., Schellenberger Costa, D., Sierra-Cornejo, N., Vollstädt, M.G.R., Dulle, H.I., Eardley, C.D., Howell, K.M., Keller, A., Peters, R.S., Ssymank, A., Kakengi, V., Zhang, J., Bogner, C., Böhning-Gaese, K., Brandl, R., Hertel, D., Huwe, B., Kiese, R., Kleyer, M., Kuzyakov, Y., Nauss, T., Schleuning, M., Tschapka, M., Fischer, M., Steffan-Dewenter, I.. 2019. Climate–land-use interactions shape tropical mountain biodiversity and ecosystem functions. Nature, doi: 10.1038/s41586-019-1048-z
Peters, M.K., Hemp, A., Appelhans, T., Behler, C., Classen, A., Detsch, F., Ensslin, A., Ferger, S.W., Frederiksen, S.B., Gebert, F., Haas, M., Helbig-Bonitz, M., Hemp, C., Kindeketa, W.J., Mwangomo, E., Ngereza, C.F., Otte, I., Röder, J., Rutten, G., Schellenberger Costa, D., Tardanico, J., Zancolli, G., Deckert, J., Eardley, C.D., Peters, R.S., Rödel, M.-O., Schleuning, M., Ssymank, A., Kakengi, V., Zhang, J., Böhning-Gaese, K., Brandl, R., Kalko, E.K.V., Kleyer, M., Nauss, T., Tschapka, M., Fischer, M., Steffan-Dewenter, I.. 2016. Predictors of elevational biodiversity gradients change from single taxa to the multi-taxa community level. Nature Communications, doi: 10.1038/ncomms13736
Röder, J., Detsch, F., Otte, I. Appelhans, T. , Nauss, T., Peters, Marcell K., Brandl, R.. 2016. Heterogeneous patterns of abundance of epigeic arthropod taxa along a major elevation gradient. Biotropica, doi: 10.1111/btp.12403
Peters, M.K., Mayr, A., Röder, J., Sanders, N. J., Steffan-Dewenter, I.. 2014. Variation in nutrient use by ant assemblages along an extensive elevational gradient on Mt Kilimanjaro. Journal of Biogeography, 41(12):2245-2255
Müller, J., Bae, S., Röder, J., Chao, A., Didham, R.K.. 2014. Airborne LiDAR reveals context dependence in the effects of canopy architecture on arthropod diversity. Forest Ecology and Management, 312:129-137

Röder, J., Bässler, C., Brandl, R., Dvorǎk, L., Floren, A., Gossner, M.M., Gruppe, A., Jarzabek-Müller, A., Vojtech, O., Wagner, C., Müller, J.. 2010. Arthropod species richness in the Norway Spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.) canopy along an elevation gradient. Forest Ecology and Management, 259: 1513-152

Conference contributions
Röder, J., Appelhans, T., Nauss, T., Brandl, R.. 2016. Low contribution of arthropods to decomposition along a major elevation gradient. GfÖ Marburg, Poster.
Ngereza, C.F., Brandl, R., Röder, J.. 2016. The importance of disturbed habitats for biodiversity of land snails on Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. GfÖ Marburg, Poster.
Röder, J., Brandl, R.. 2015. Heterogenous patterns of abundance of epigeic arthropod lineages along a major elevation gradient. GfÖ Göttingen, Poster.
Röder, J., Pabst, H., Brandl, R., Kuzyakov, Y.. 2013. Spatial patterns of soil microbial biomass and soil fauna activity in an African savannah. TR32-HOBE Bonn, Poster.
Classen, A., Roeder, J., Kindeketa, W., Munishi, P., Gikungu, M., Brandl, R., Steffan-Dewenter, I.. 2011. KiLi project SP7: Effects of climate and land use change on biodiversity and ecosystem functioning of pollinators and decomposers. ATBC Arusha, Poster.
Röder, J., Brandl, R., Müller, J.. 2010. Climate versus habitat structure: Drivers of arthropod communities in spruce canopy. GfÖ Gießen, Talk.

Co-supervised theses

Michael Haas, 2014. The influence of elevation on community composition and trophic position of spiders. Master thesis 
Sabrina Voswinkel, 2013. Changes of body size and community composition of spiders along an elevation gradient. Bachelor thesis


Field crew and some arthropod encounters

Zuletzt aktualisiert: 04.04.2019 · Zeuss

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