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

Phone: +49.8161.71.3713
Fax:     +49.8161.71.4427
E-mail: sebastian.seibold[at]tum.de

Curriculum vitae

Since 01/2016 Postdoc at the Chair for Terrestrial Ecology, Technische Universität München
06/2016- 04/2017 Postdoc at the University of Toronto in the group of Prof. Marc W. Cadotte, Toronto, Canada (funded by DAAD P.R.I.M.E. scholarship)
02/2016- 04/2016 Postdoc at the Southern Research Station of the US Forest Service, Department of Agriculture, with Dr. Michael D. Ulyshen, Athens, Georgia, USA (funded by DAAD P.R.I.M.E. scholarship)
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

Most of my research has focused on drivers of biodiversity in forest ecosystems, but my work in the “Biodiversity Exploratories” has allowed me to expand my expertise more and more to grassland ecosystems. A major goal of my research is to provide the basis for evidence-based conservation strategies. I am particularly interested in effects of forest management (e.g. harvesting, deadwood management or insecticide application) and natural disturbances on forest biodiversity and ecosystem processes. Deadwood has been a major study system and I am studying for example how saproxylic insects 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. To unravel underlying mechanisms and to test hypotheses, I use existing gradients as well as field experiments, such as manipulations of species communities in mesocosms or large-scale manipulations of deadwood. My main species groups are saproxylic insects, birds and bats, but collaboration with other scientists is a great opportunity to assess also other taxonomic groups, such as plants or fungi, and to approach biodiversity in a comprehensive way.

Current projects

Together with Didem Ambarli, I coordinate the long-term arthropod monitoring of the Biodiversity Exploratories. Using those data, we have analyzed temporal trends in arthropod populations in grasslands and forests (Seibold et al. 2019). More broadly, we study effects of land-use intensity on arthropod communities and arthropod-related ecosystem processes. 

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



Bae, S., S. R. Levick, L. Heidrich, P. Magdon, B. F. Leutner, S. Wöllauer, A. Serebryanyk, T. Nauss, P. Krzystek, M. M. Gossner, P. Schall, C. Heibl, C. Bässler, I. Doerfler, E.-D. Schulze, F.-S. Krah, H. Culmsee, K. Jung, M. Heurich, M. Fischer, S. Seibold, S. Thorn, T. Gerlach, T. Hothorn, W. W. Weisser and J. Müller. 2019. Radar vision in the mapping of forest biodiversity from space. Nature Communications 10:4757. DOI:Doi.10.1038/s41467-019-12737-x

Friess, N., J. C. Müller, P. Aramendi, C. Bässler, M. Brändle, C. Bouget, A. Brin, H. Bussler, K. B. Georgiev, R. Gil, M. M. Gossner, J. Heilmann-Clausen, G. Isacsson, A. Krištín, T. Lachat, L. Larrieu, E. Magnanou, A. Maringer, U. Mergner, M. Mikoláš, L. Opgenoorth, J. Schmidl, M. Svoboda, S. Thorn, K. Vandekerkhove, A. Vrezec, T. Wagner, M.-B. Winter, L. Zapponi, R. Brandl and S. Seibold. 2019. Arthropod communities in fungal fruitbodies are weakly structured by climate and biogeography across European beech forests. Diversity and Distributions 25:783-796.

Habel, J. C., W. Ulrich, N. Biburger, S. Seibold and T. Schmitt. 2019. Agricultural intensification drives butterfly decline. Insect Conservation and Diversity 12:289-295. PDF

Hagge, J., C. Bässler, A. Gruppe, B. Hoppe, H. Kellner, F.-S. Krah, J. Müller, S. Seibold, E. Stengel and S. Thorn. 2019. Bark coverage shifts assembly processes of microbial decomposer communities in dead wood. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 286:20191744.

Hagge, J., S. Seibold and A. Gruppe. 2019. Beetle biodiversity in anthropogenic landscapes with a focus on spruce plantations, Christmas tree plantations and maize fields. Journal of Insect Conservation 23:565-572. PDF

Heinze, J., N. K. Simons, S. Seibold, A. Wacker, G. Weithoff, M. M. Gossner, D. Prati, T. M. Bezemer and J. Joshi. 2019. The relative importance of plant-soil feedbacks for plant-species performance increases with decreasing intensity of herbivory. Oecologia 190:651-664.

Leidinger, J., S. Seibold, W. W. Weisser, M. Lange, P. Schall, M. Türke and M. M. Gossner. 2019. Effects of forest management on herbivorous insects in temperate Europe. Forest Ecology and Management 437:232-245. PDF

Leroy, B. M. L., M. M. Gossner, F. P. M. Lauer, R. Petercord, S. Seibold, J. Jaworek and W. W. Weisser. 2019. Assessing Insecticide Effects in Forests: A Tree-Level Approach Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. Journal of Economic Entomology 112:2686-2694.

Penone, C., E. Allan, S. Soliveres, M. R. Felipe-Lucia, M. M. Gossner, S. Seibold, N. K. Simons, P. Schall, F. Plas, P. Manning, R. D. Manzanedo, S. Boch, D. Prati, C. Ammer, J. Bauhus, F. Buscot, M. Ehbrecht, K. Goldmann, K. Jung, J. Müller, J. C. Müller, R. Pena, A. Polle, S. C. Renner, L. Ruess, I. Schönig, M. Schrumpf, E. F. Solly, M. Tschapka, W. W. Weisser, T. Wubet and M. Fischer. 2019. Specialisation and diversity of multiple trophic groups are promoted by different forest features. Ecology Letters 22:170-180. PDF

Seibold, S., M. M. Gossner, N. K. Simons, N. Blüthgen, J. Müller, D. Ambarli, C. Ammer, J. Bauhus, M. Fischer, J. C. Habel, K. E. Linsenmair, T. Nauss, C. Penone, D. Prati, P. Schall, E.-D. Schulze, J. Vogt, S. Wöllauer and W. W. Weisser. 2019. Arthropod decline in grasslands and forests is associated with landscape-level drivers. Nature 574:671-674. DOI:10.1038/s41586-019-1684-3

Seibold, S., J. Müller, P. Baldrian, M. W. Cadotte, M. Štursová, P. H. W. Biedermann, F.-S. Krah and C. Bässler. 2019. Fungi associated with beetles dispersing from dead wood – Let's take the beetle bus! Fungal Ecology 39:100-108.


Doerfler, I., M. M. Gossner, J. Müller, S. Seibold and W. W. Weisser. 2018. Deadwood enrichment combining integrative and segregative conservation elements enhances biodiversity of multiple taxa in managed forests. Biological Conservation 228:70-78.

Cuadros-Casanova, I., C. Zamora, W. Ulrich, S. Seibold and J. C. Habel. 2018. Empty forests: safeguarding a sinking flagship in a biodiversity hotspot. Biodiversity and Conservation DOI:10.1007/s10531-018-1548-4. PDF

Eckelt, A., J. Müller, U. Bense, H. Brustel, H. Bußler, Y. Chittaro, L. Cizek, A. Frei, E. Holzer, M. Kadej, M. Kahlen, F. Köhler, G. Möller, H. Mühle, A. Sanchez, U. Schaffrath, J. Schmidl, A. Smolis, A. Szallies, T. Németh, C. Wurst, S. Thorn, R. H. B. Christensen and S. Seibold. 2018. “Primeval forest relict beetles” of Central Europe: a set of 168 umbrella species for the protection of primeval forest remnants. Journal of Insect Conservation 22:15-28. PDF

Friess, N., J. Müller, P. Aramendi, C. Bässler, M. Brändle, C. Bouget, A. Brin, H. Bussler, K. B. Georgiev, R. Gil, M. M. Gossner, J. Heilmann-Clausen, G. Isacsson, A. Krištín, Lachat, T., Larrieu, L., E. Magnanou, A. Maringer, U. Mergner, M. Mikoláš, L. Opgenoorth, J. Schmidl, M. Svoboda, S. Thorn, K. Vandekerkhove, A. Vrezec, T. Wagner, M.-B. Winter, L. Zapponi, R. Brandl and S. Seibold. 2018. The species-rich arthropod communities in fungal fruitbodies are weakly structured by climate and biogeography across European beech forests. Diversity & Distribution. Accepted.

Habel, J. C., S. Seibold, W. Ulrich and T. Schmitt. 2018. Seasonality overrides differences in butterfly species composition between natural and anthropogenic forest habitats. Animal Conservation 21:405-413. PDF

Krah, F.-S., S. Seibold, R. Brandl, P. Baldrian, J. Müller and C. Bässler. 2018. Independent effects of host and environment on the diversity of wood-inhabiting fungi. Journal of Ecology 106:1428-1442. PDF

Müller, J., H. B. Varandi, M. R. Babaii, M. E. Farashiani, K. Sageb-Talebi, F. Lange, M. M. Gossner, A. Jarzabek-Müller, N. Roth, S. Thorn and S. Seibold. 2018. The diversity of saproxylic insects (Coleoptera, Heteroptera) on four tree species of the Hyrcanian forest in Iran. Journal of Insect Conservation 22:607-625. PDF

Seibold, S., M. W. Cadotte, J. S. Macivor, S. Thorn and J. Müller. 2018. The necessity of multi-trophic approaches in community ecology. Trends in Ecology and Evolution. DOI:10.1016/j.tree2018.1007.1001.

Seibold, S., J. Hagge, J. Müller, A. Gruppe, R. Brandl, C. Bässler and S. Thorn. 2018. Experiments with dead wood reveal the importance of dead branches in the canopy for saproxylic beetle conservation. Forest Ecology and Management 409:564-570. PDF

Seibold, S. and S. Thorn. 2018. The Importance of Dead-Wood Amount for Saproxylic Insects and How It Interacts with Dead-Wood Diversity and Other Habitat Factors. in: Saproxylic Insects: Diversity, Ecology and Conservation. M. D. Ulyshen. Cham, Springer International Publishing. 607-637.


Kirchenbaur, T., T. Fartmann, C. Bässler, F. Löffler, J. Müller, C. Strätz and S. Seibold. 2017. Small-scale positive response of terrestrial gastropods to dead-wood addition is mediated by canopy openness. Forest Ecology and Management 396:85-90. PDF

Müller, J., R. Brandl, M. Brändle, B. Förster, B. C. De Araujo, M. M. Gossner, A. Ladas, M. Wagner, M. Maraun, P. Schall, S. Schmidt, M. Heurich, S. Thorn and S. Seibold. 2017. LiDAR-derived canopy structure supports the more-individuals hypothesis for arthropod diversity in temperate forests. Oikos DOI:10.1111/oik.04972. PDF

Seibold, S., C. Bässler, R. Brandl, L. Fahrig, B. Förster, M. Heurich, T. Hothorn, F. Scheipl, S. Thorn and J. Müller. 2017. An experimental test of the habitat-amount hypothesis for saproxylic beetles in a forested region. Ecology 98:1613-1622. PDF

Thorn, S., C. Bässler, R. Brandl, P. J. Burton, R. Cahall, J. L. Campbell, J. Castro, C.-Y. Choi, T. Cobb, D. C. Donato, E. Durska, J. B. Fontaine, S. Gauthier, C. Hebert, T. Hothorn, R. L. Hutto, E.-J. Lee, A. B. Leverkus, D. B. Lindenmayer, M. K. Obrist, J. Rost, S. Seibold, R. Seidl, D. Thom, K. Waldron, B. Wermelinger, M.-B. Winter, M. Zmihorski and J. Müller. 2017. Impacts of salvage logging on biodiversity: a meta-analysis. Journal of Applied Ecology. DOI:10.1111/1365-2664.12945. PDF

Ulyshen, M. D., R. Shefferson, S. Horn, M. K. Taylor, B. Bush, C. Brownie, S. Seibold and M. S. Strickland. 2017. Below- and above-ground effects of deadwood and termites in plantation forests. Ecosphere 8:e01910. PDF

Winter, M.-B., C. Bässler, M. Bernhardt-Römermann, F.-S. Krah, H. Schaefer, S. Seibold and J. Müller. 2017. On the structural and species diversity effects of bark beetle disturbance in forests during initial and advanced early-seral stages at different scales. European Journal of Forest Research 136:357-373. PDF


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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