Alexander Neu 

 Prneri Cape Sugar

Pracum Honey Bee

Prrepe Four Stripes



Alexander Neu

PhD Student
Member of Senior Scientist Group 'Functional Ecology and Global Change'

Research interests and current projects

ProteaNet: Spatiotemporal dynamics of plant-animal interaction networks

ProteaNet is the follow-up project of ProteaBird and investigates Protea communities in South African fynbos. I will extend spatial and short-term analyses of ProteaBird, conducted by Baptiste Schmid and Henning Nottebrock, and will study how plant-based resources determine long-term dynamics of animal communities. I will address fundamental ecological questions about mechanisms that underlie life-history variation, species coexistence, and the structuring of mutualistic and antagonistic plant-animal interaction networks.

I will specifically study the resource allocation for animal-mediated indirect interactions among Protea plants. I will also test how the spatiotemporal dynamics of Protea-based resources (nectar, pollen, seeds) affect the functional and interaction diversity of bird, rodent, and insect pollinators and seed predators. This will enable us to investigate how mutualistic and antagonistic plant-animal interaction networks assemble in space and time and how the spatiotemporal dynamics of these networks affect plant community dynamics.

I am working under the supervision of PD Dr. Matthias Schleuning. The project is conducted together with Prof. Dr. Frank Schurr and the PhD student Huw Cooksley from the University of Hohenheim, in collaboration with Prof. Dr. Karen Esler and with Prof. Dr. Anton C. Pauw at the University of Stellenbosch. The project is funded by the German Research Foundation.

Functional diversity of birds along land-use and elevational gradients on Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

For my Diploma thesis, I worked within the DFG-funded research unit KiLi. The aim was to test whether differences in avian ecomorphological traits depict the functional roles (dietary and foraging preferences) of bird species on Mount Kilimanjaro. I also investigated changes in the functional diversity of the bird communities along an elevational gradient and with land-cover change. This research gives insights into how anthropogenic impacts could modify ecosystem functions of birds.

Mutualistic and antagonistic plant-animal interaction Networks, Biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, Functional diversity, Pollination by animals, Observational and experimental field studies, Trait-based network Analysis


External Links

Profile on Google Scholar

Press coverage

Vögel beobachten und mitteilen (Citizen Science) [German] SWR, 7 Feb 2017


Phone: +49 (0) 69 7542 1889
Fax: +49 (0) 69 7542 1800

Further Links

Project description ProteaNet
University of Stellenbosch
University of Hohenheim
Integriertes Singvogelmonitoring am Eich-Gimbsheimer Altrhein