Dr. Sebastian Seibold

Chair for Terrestrial Ecology

Department of Ecology and Ecosystemmanagement
Technische Universität München
Hans-Carl-von-Carlowitz-Platz 2
D-85350 Freising-Weihenstephan

E-mail: sebastian-seibold[at]gmx.de

Curriculum vitae

06/2016- present Visiting Postdoc at Marc Cadotte Lab, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada
02/2016- 05/2016 Visiting scientist at US Forest Service, Southern Research Station Athens, GA, USA
01/2016- present Postdoctoral researcher at Technische Universität München, Department of Ecology and Ecosystem Management, Chair for Terrestrial Ecology;
Funding: P.R.I.M.E. fellowship of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) financed by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the EU Marie-Curie-Program
04/2011- present Consultant for ornithology
01/2013- 12/2015 PhD at Technische Universität München: “Biodiversity of dead-wood dependent insects – effects of forest management and prospects of conservation“ (supervised by PD Dr. Jörg Müller);
Funding: PhD-scholarship of the German Environmental Foundation (DBU)
10/2010- 06/2012 M.Sc. Forestry and Wood Science at Technische Universität München. Thesis: “Influence of altitude, vegetation and human activities on nest predation rates of ground-breeding non-passerine forest birds” (supervised by PD Dr. Jörg Müller)
11/2009- 12/2009 Research semester at University of Stellenbosch, South Africa
10/2006- 09/2009 B.Sc. in Forest Science and Resource Management at Technische Universität München. Thesis: “Effects of suppression of the alien invasive plant species Amorpha fruticosa by traditional land use methods in the Croatian Nature Park Lonjsko Polje” (supervised by Prof. Dr. Anton Fischer)

Research interest

I am broadly interested in ecology and diversity patterns of forest taxa and the ecosystem processes they are involved in. Particularly interesting are effects of forest management and natural disturbances on forest biodiversity and ecosystem processes and how conservation measures can be integrated in forest management. I am currently focusing on how saproxylic taxa, mostly insects (beetles, heteropterans, termites, …) and fungi, colonize dead wood, how they interact and how they influence wood decomposition. Here, it is particularly interesting to evaluate the role of taxonomic diversity and functional and phylogenetic properties of species assemblages for ecosystem functioning and interactions between different taxa. Other species groups I regularly work with are birds, epigeal arthropods and bats. My studies, for which I frequently use experimental approaches, aim at improving our understanding of basic ecology and deriving recommendations for conservation.

Current projects

Biotic agents of wood decomposition relative to global climate

Biotic agents of wood decomposition relative to global climate

I coordinate a network of more than 35 research groups who started in 2015 to install more than 50 sites worldwide to study the role of insects and microbes relative to global climate gradients. The sites are distributed along a temperature gradient from the boreal zone to the tropics and a precipitation gradient from subdesert to rainforest. Dead wood was exposed unprotected and in cages that exclude insects to study their role in the decomposition process.

Bavarian Forest Dead Wood Experiment

In 2012, 800m³ of logs and 5000 branches were added to 190 experimental plots in the Bavarian Forest National Park. Since then, more than 400,000 invertebrate specimen and 2,000 fungal species have been sampled. These data have been used to analyze the role of microclimate, dead-wood amount and dead-wood diversity as well as the spatial distribution of dead wood on saproxylic beetles and heteropterans, epigeal arthropods and wood-decaying fungi. Future work will focus on interactions between saproxylic beetles, wood-decaying fungi and bacteria and their role for wood decomposition. Furthermore, effects of dead wood on nutrient dynamics and litter decomposition are evaluated.

Bavarian Forest Dead Wood Experiment

Ecosystem functioning in forests – How species and functional diversity drive the decomposition of woody debris

I established a mesocosm-experiment in the Bavarian Forest National Park to study the role of species richness and functional composition of saproxylic beetle communities for wood decomposition. Beetles were collected in the wild to create specific communities colonizing fresh dead wood.

Ecosystem functioning in forests – How species and functional diversity drive the decomposition of woody debris

Wood decomposition, insects and termites in subtropical US forest

In cooperation with PhD Michael D. Ulyshen (USDA Forest Service, Athens, USA), I work on several experiments studying effects of termites and saproxylic beetles on wood decomposition, nitrogen dynamics, ectomycorrhizae and tree growth in subtropical forests in Southeastern USA. Here, we particularly focus on experimental methods in this research field.

Wood decomposition, insects and termites in subtropical US forest



Heikkala, O., S. Seibold, M. Koivula, P. Martikainen, J. Müller, S. Thorn and J. Kouki. 2016. Retention forestry and prescribed burning result in functionally different saproxylic beetle assemblages than clear-cutting. Forest Ecology and Management 359:51-58. PDF

Koban, M. B., M. M. Gossner, J. Müller, J. L. M. Steidle, C. Bässler, T. Hothorn, S. B. Unsicker and S. Seibold. 2016. Short-distance attraction of saproxylic Heteroptera to olfactory cues. Insect Conservation and Diversity DOI:10.1111/icad.12161. PDF

Seibold, S., C. Bässler, P. Baldrian, L. Reinhard, S. Thorn, M. D. Ulyshen, I. Weiß and J. Müller. 2016. Dead-wood addition promotes non-saproxylic epigeal arthropods but effects are mediated by canopy openness. Biological Conservation. accepted PDF

Seibold, S., C. Bässler, R. Brandl, B. Büche, A. Szallies, S. Thorn, M. D. Ulyshen and J. Müller. 2016. Microclimate and habitat heterogeneity as the major drivers of beetle diversity in dead wood. Journal of Applied Ecology DOI: 10.1111/1365-2664.12607. PDF

Stoklosa, A. M., M. D. Ulyshen, Z. Fan, M. Varner, S. Seibold and J. Müller. 2016. Effects of mesh bag enclosure and termites on fine woody debris decomposition in a subtropical forest. Basic and Applied Ecology DOI:10.1016/j.baae.2016.03.001. PDF

Thorn, S., C. Bässler, H. Bußler, D. B. Lindenmayer, S. Schmidt, S. Seibold, B. Wende and J. Müller. 2016. Bark-scratching of storm-felled trees preserves biodiversity at lower economic costs compared to debarking. Forest Ecology and Management 364:10-16. PDF

Thorn, S., C. Bässler, M. Bernhardt-Römermann, M. Cadotte, C. Heibl, H. Schäfer, S. Seibold and J. Müller. 2016. Changes in the dominant assembly mechanism drive species loss caused by declining resources. Ecology Letters 19:163-170. PDF

Thorn, S., H. Bußler, M.-A. Fritze, P. Goeder, J. Müller, I. Weiß and S. Seibold. 2016. Canopy closure determines arthropod assemblages in microhabitats created by windstorms and salvage logging. Forest Ecology and Management 381:188-195. PDF

Thorn, S., S. A. B. Werner, J. Wohlfahrt, C. Bässler, S. Seibold, P. Quillfeldt and J. Müller. 2016. Response of bird assemblages to windstorm and salvage logging - Insights from analyses of functional guild and indicator species. Ecological Indicators 65:142-148. PDF

Ulyshen, M. D., J. Müller and S. Seibold. 2016. Bark coverage and insects influence wood decomposition: Direct and indirect effects. Applied Soil Ecology 105:25-30. PDF


Müller, J., S. Thorn, R. Baier, K. Sagheb-Talebi, H. V. Barimani, S. Seibold, M. D. Ulyshen and M. M. Gossner. 2015. Protecting the forests while allowing removal of damaged trees may imperil saproxylic insect biodiversity in the Hyrcanian beech forests of Iran. Conservation Letters DOI:10.1111/conl.12187. PDF

Seibold, S., R. Brandl, J. Buse, T. Hothorn, J. Schmidl, S. Thorn and J. Müller. 2015. Association of extinction risk of saproxylic beetles with ecological degradation of forests in Europe. Conservation Biology 29:382-390. PDF

Seibold, S., C. Bässler, R. Brandl, M. M. Gossner, S. Thorn, M. D. Ulyshen and J. Müller. 2015. Experimental studies of dead-wood biodiversity - A review identifying global gaps in knowledge. Biological Conservation 191:139-149. PDF1, PDF2

Thorn, S., H. H. Hacker, S. Seibold, H. Jehl, C. Bässler and J. Müller. 2015. Guild-specific responses of forest Lepidoptera highlight conservation-oriented forest management – Implications from conifer-dominated forests. Forest Ecology and Management 337:41-47. PDF

Winter, M.-B., C. Ammer, R. Baier, D. C. Donato, S. Seibold and J. Müller. 2015. Multi-taxon alpha diversity following bark beetle disturbance: Evaluating multi-decade persistence of a diverse early-seral phase. Forest Ecology and Management 338:32-45. PDF


Seibold, S., C. Bässler, P. Baldrian, S. Thorn, J. Müller, and M. M. Gossner. 2014. Wood resource and not fungi attract early-successional saproxylic species of Heteroptera – an experimental approach. Insect Conservation and Diversity 7:533-542. PDF


Seibold, S., A. Hempel, S. Piehl, C. Bässler, R. Brandl, S. Rösner and J. Müller. 2013. Forest vegetation structure has more influence on predation risk of artificial ground nests than human activities. Basic and Applied Ecology 14:687-693. PDF

Seibold, S., J. Buchner, C. Bässler and J. Müller. 2013. Ponds in acidic mountains are more important for bats in providing drinking water than insect prey. Journal of Zoology 290:302-308. PDF

Articles in non-peer-reviewed journals

Seibold, S. and F. Leibl. 2015. Vier bundesweite Eckpfeiler gegen den Artenschwund bei Totholzbewohnern. AFZ-Der Wald 8:23-24.

Thorn, S., M.-B. Winter, H. Bussler and S. Seibold. 2014. Forstdiensthütten als wichtige Quartiere im Bergwald. AFZ-Der Wald 9:31-32.

Müller, J., S. Seibold, S. Werner and S. Thorn. 2014. Die Rückkehr des Habichtskauzes in den Bayerischen Wald. Der Falke, Sonderheft 47-49.

Müller, J., S. Seibold and S. Thorn. 2014. Fledermausforschung im Nationalpark Bayerischer Wald. AFZ-Der Wald 9:29-30.

Seibold, S. and A. Fischer. 2013. Suppression of alien invasive species by traditional land use forms: Amorpha fruticosa L. in the Croatian nature park Lonjsko Polje. Sauteria 20:265-276.

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