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Dr. Jan Helbach


 Curriculum vitae

since July 2016  PhD–Candidate at the DFG Research training group "Conservation of Forest Biodiversity (ConFoBi)"

2015  Internship at NABU Natural Reserve Centre Wollmatinger–Reed, Responsibilities:  Survey of threatened species, monitoring and control of invasive species, landscape conservancy,

2012 – 2015  M.Sc. Geoecology at Eberhard Karls University, Tübingen, Main focus: Botany, Zoology, Ecology.

2010 – 2012  B.Sc. Geoecology at Eberhard Karls University, Tübingen

2009  Bachelor thesis, Photocatalytical activity of a new media based on titanium dioxide, Institut Universitaire de Technologie 1 Grenoble, France.

2006 – 2009  B.Sc. Chemical Engineering, Münster University of Applied Sciences, Main focus: Applied Chemistry.


 Research Interests

Generally, I want to identify drivers promoting biodiversity in natural or near natural environments and how we can conserve them. Due to their management by humans, forests can occur in many different shapes whereby those are an interesting study site. Beside my PhD I am interested in factors which harm rare and sensitive ecosystems such as fens bogs or reeds by invasive plants or climate change. In these cases I am looking on the plant community scale to detect changes in spatial and temporal scales.


 Current Research Projects

As a PhD-candidate of the DFG research training group ConFoBi my aim is to study plant diversity of managed forest ecosystems.

Forests are near natural ecosystems in central Europe. They still cover large areas and assume a wide range of ecosystem services like serving habitats for a lot of different kinds of species, filtering the air, store carbon dioxide and many other benefits.

My contribution to the project is to investigate the conditions which lead retention forestry to a higher plant diversity and how retention forestry can be an instrument for conserving this diversity in temperate forests. I will have a closer look on how "Habitat Trees" and “Standing dead wood” will influence their environment and if they increase heterogeneity in their surroundings.


 Past Research Projects

Soil biota and resistance of plant communities to invasion under increased environmental variability, Chair of Plant Evolutionary Ecology, Eberhard Karls University Tübingen



Knuff, A., Staab, M., Frey, J., Helbach, J. & Klein, A.M. (2019): Plant composition, not richness, drives occurrence of specialist herbivores. Ecological Entomology. doi: 10.1111/een.12767.

Gustafsson, L., Bauhus, J., Asbeck, T., Augustynczik, A.L.D., Basile, M., Frey, J., Gutzat, F., Hanewinkel, M., Helbach, J., Jonker, M., Knuff, A., Messier, C., Penner, J., Pyttel, P., Reif, A., Storch, F., Winiger, N., Winkel, G., Yousefpour, R., Storch, I., 2019. Retention as an integrated biodiversity conservation approach for continuous-cover forestry in Europe. Ambio. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13280-019-01190-1




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