We investigate waterfilled tree holes and their inhabiting fauna as a further multitrophic metacommunity system. For example, we study protist and insect communities in tree holes at forest sites in three different areas in Germany to elucidate the effects of different forest management intensities of tree-hole community composition and functioning. This project is part of the DFG priority program the Biodiversity Exploratories, project MetacommuniTree – Land-use effects on patterns and processes in decomposer metacommunities in tree holes. Relevant publications: Gossner et al. 2016, Petermann et al. 2016, Petermann et al. 2020.
In another project Disentangling the land-use effects on different dimensions of multitrophic ecosystem structure and functioning we investigate food webs of tree holes and fluxes of energy across the multitrophic communities in response to forest management type and intensity and other environmental and biotic drivers.
We furthermore explore tree holes at urban sites, for example in Berlin and Salzburg to study anthropogenic and natural influences on these micro wetlands and their communities, especially tree-hole inhabiting mosquitoes (FWF-funded project Aquatic communities in urban microecosystems). Small water bodies in man-made structures such as cemetery vases are examined as an important but so far often ignored habitat for urban biodiversity. These vases are also used as experimental systems, for example in Citizen Science projects.