Maximilian Vollstädt












Maximilian Vollstädt

Ph.D. student


Fields of Interest

- Community Ecology     
- Habitat fragmentation and land-use change
- Mutualistic Interaction Networks
- Functional Diversity
- Animal Behavior
- Tropical Ecology

We are currently facing massive changes in land-use intensity all over the world and especially in tropical areas. These changes can have tremendous impacts on species and many go (locally) extinct. It is crucially important to understand the mechanisms underlying these species extinctions and also the effects of species loss on distinct ecosystems in order to be able to develop and give guidelines as to how we can keep developing as a society and still protect biodiversity worldwide.

In my own research I am interested in the effects of anthropogenic land use activities and climate change on community ecology and ecosystem functions. Currently I focus on diversity of tropical rainforest birds and their mutualistic interaction networks.

For my diploma thesis I captured birds in different fragments of tropical lowland rainforest in Costa Rica. I took blood samples to investigate the impact of human land use and resulting habitat degradation on the prevalence of blood parasites of four different bird species.

Currently I am working on my PhD thesis within the DFG funded Research Unit FOR1246: „Kilimanjaro ecosystems under global change: Linking biodiversity, biotic interactions and biogeochemical ecosystem processes“. The topic of my research is:  „Effects of climate and land use on functional diversity of birds and bats and on their mutualistic interaction networks“. I am implementing different methods and approaches aiming at understanding both how climatic factors such as rainfall and temperature, as well as land-use change affect the mutualistic interaction networks of frugivorous and nectarivorous birds and bats with fruiting and flowering plants. In another project, I am looking at the phylogenetic and functional diversity of birds, bats and their plant resources, to get a better understanding of the evolutionary background of the species communities on Mt. Kilimanjaro and their mutualistic interaction networks. Additionally I am using camera traps to monitor artificial clay-fruits in a more experimental approach to understand ecosystem services provided by birds

Current projects

-  Mutualistic interaction networks of frugivorous and nectarivorous birds and bats with fruiting and flowering plant species
- Functional and phylogenetic diversity of frugivorous and nectarivorous birds and bats
- Functional relationships between frugivorous birds and plant species in experimental networks
- Functional relationships between frugivores and plant species in experimental networks
- Birds and bats as arthropod predators

Key-Words: ecosystem changes, mutualistic interaction networks, birds, bats, habitat disturbance, elevational gradients, land use gradients, seed dispersal, pollination, artificial fruits, tropics

Conference contributions

Vollstädt MGR, Graiff AU, Ripperger SP, Renner SC & Tschapka M (2012) Habitatfragmentierung und Infektion von Regenwaldvögeln mit Blutparasiten (Sporozoa: Haemosporida) in Costa Rica. Poster at the 145th annual conference of the DO-G, Saarbrücken, Germany



Maximilian Vollstädt
Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre (BiK-F)
Project Area B: Biodiversity Dynamics and Climate
Georg-Voigt-Straße 14
D-60325 Frankfurt am Main
Phone: +49 69 7542 1888
Fax: +49 69 7542 1800
E-mail: maximilian.vollstaedt@senckenberg.de

Vollstädt11                     Vollstädt10