Birte Matthiessen, Dr. rer. nat.

Tel.: 0431 600 1599
Fax: 0431 600 1515
Raum: 204
E-Mail: bmatthiessen(at)    

GEOMAR | Helmholtz-Zentrum für Ozeanforschung Kiel
Experimentelle Ökologie - Benthische Ökologie
Hohenberstraße 2
24105 Kiel

Wissenschaftlicher Werdegang

  • since 2012: Staff scientist in the research unit Marine Ecology - Foodwebs
  • since 2007: Postdoc in the research unit Marine Ecology - Foodwebs
  • 2007-2008: Editorial Assistant Marine Biology
  • 2003-2006: PhD-thesis 'Experimental Tests of Diversity Effects in Marine Metacommunities'. Leibniz-Institute of Marine Research (IFM-GEOMAR), Kiel University
  • 2002: Master Thesis: Feeding ecology of Macroramphosus scolopax (L. 1758) (Pisces) from Great Meteor Seamount, Alfred Wegener-Institute for Polar and Marine research (AWI), Germany
  • 2002: Master of Science, University of Hamburg, Germany


  • Regulation of species coexistence
  • Consequences of biodiversity loss for ecosystem functioning
  • Effects of global change on biodiversity and its consequences for ecosystem functioning


  • Eco-evolutionary coupling in competing marine phytoplankton communities (within DFG Priority Program 1704). In Collaboration with Thorsten Reusch. People involved: Giannina Hattich and Luisa Listmann.
  • BOACID II: Responses of benthic assemblages to interactive stress.
    Re-structuring and re-functioning of microphyte-dominated biofilms on macrophytes. Funded by BMBF. People involved: Martin Wahl, Franziska J Werner.
  • The relation between biodiversity and resilience in source-sink metacommunities. Funded by NWO. In collaboration with Klemens Eriksson, University of Groningen, Netherlands.
  • The effects of ocean acidification and diversity on Resilience of coccolithophoid communities. Leibniz-Vorhaben im wettbewerblichen Verfahren (SAW-Verfahren) im Rahmen des Paktes für Forschung und Innovation. People involved: Sebastian Krug, Lena Eggers.


  1. Hattich GSI, Listmann L, Havenhand J, Reusch TBH, Matthiessen B (2022) Temporal variation in ecological and evolutionary contributions to phytoplankton functional shifts. Limnology and Oceanography; accepted manuscript;
  2. Hamer J, Matthiessen B, Pulina S, Hattich GSI (2022) Maintenance of Intraspecific Diversity in Response to Species Competition and Nutrient Fluctuations. Microorganisms, 10(1):113.
  3. Charalampous E, Matthiessen B, Sommer U (2021) Grazing induced shifts in phytoplankton cell size explain the community response to nutrient supply. Microorganisms, 9, 2440.
  4. Paul C, Sommer U, Matthiessen B (2021) Composition and dominance of edible and inedible phytoplankton predict responses of Baltic Sea summer communities to elevated temperature and CO2. Microorganisms; 9(11):2294;
  5. Hattich GSI, Listmann L, Govaert L, Pansch C, Reusch TBH, Matthiessen B (2021) Experimentally decomposing phytoplankton community change into ecological and evolutionary contributions. Functional Ecology; 36, 120-132.;
  6. Makareviciute-Fichtner K, Matthiessen B, Lotze H K & Sommer U (2021) Phytoplankton nutritional quality is altered by shifting Si:N ratios and selective grazing. Journal of Plankton Research; 43, 325-337;
  7. Engel F G, Dini-Andreote F, Eriksson B K, Falcao Salles F, De Lima Brossi M J, Matthiessen B (2020) Dispersal mitigates bacterial dominance over microalgal competitor in metacommunities. Oecologia;
  8. Listmann L, Hattich GSI, Matthiessen B, Reusch TBH (2020) Eco-evolutionary interaction in competing phytoplankton: nutrient driven genotype sorting likely explains dominance shift and species responses to CO2. Frontiers in Marine Science 7, 634; doi:10.3389/fmars.2020.00634
  9. Makareviciute-Fichtner K, Matthiessen B, Lotze H, Sommer U (2020) Decrease in diatom dominance at lower Si:N ratios alters plankton food webs. Journal of Plankton Research; 42 (4), 411-424;
  10. Engel F G, Matthiessen B, Eriksson B K (2020) A heatwave increases turnover and regional dominance in microbenthic metacommunities. Basic and Applied Ecology;
  11. Wahl M, Werner F J, Buchholz B, Raddatz S, Graiff A , Matthiessen B, Karsten U, Hiebenthal C, Hamer J, Ito M, Gülzow E, Rilov G, Guy-Haim T (2020) Season affects strength and direction of the interactive impacts of ocean warming and biotic stress in a coastal seaweed ecosystem. Limnology and Oceanography. 9999, 2019, 1–21; doi: 10.1002/lno.11350
  12. Charalampous E, Matthiessen B, Sommer U (2018) Light effects on phytoplankton morphometric traits influence nutrient utilization ability. Journal of Plankton Research;
  13. Matthiessen B, Werner F J & Paulsen M (2018). Ecological Organization of the Sea. In: Handbook on Marine Environment Protection. Science, Impacts and Sustainable Management (eds. Salomon, M & Markus, T). Springer International Publishing, pp. 37-66.
  14. Engel F G, Lewandowska A M, Eggers S L, Matthiessen B (2017) Manipulation of Non-random Species Loss in Natural Phytoplankton: Qualitative and Quantitative Evaluation of Different Approaches. Frontiers in Marine Science 4;
  15. Engel F G, Alegria J, Andriana R, Donadi S, Joao B. Gusmao J B, van Leeuwe M A, Matthiessen B, Eriksson B K (2017) Mussel beds are biological power stations on intertidal flats. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 191: 21-27;
  16. Werner F J, Matthiessen B (2017) Warming has stronger direct than indirect effects on benthic microalgae in a seaweed system in spring. Marine Biology 164: 67; doi:10.1007/s00227-017-3109-x
  17. Hattich G S I, Listmann L, Raab J, Ozod-Seradj D, Reusch T B H, Matthiessen B (2017) Inter- and intra-specific phenotypic plasticity of three phytoplankton species in response to ocean acidification. Biology Letters 13: 20160774. doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2016.0774                   (Nature Climate Change | Research Highlight)
  18. Gruner D, Bracken M, Berger S, Eriksson B K, Gamfeldt L, Matthiessen B, Moorthi S, Sommer U, Hillebrand H (2017) Effects of experimental warming on biodiversity depend on ecosystem type and local species composition. Oikos 126: 8-17; doi: 10.1111/oik.03688
  19. Werner F J, Graiff A, Matthiessen B (2016) Even moderate nutrient enrichment negatively adds up to global climate change effects on a habitat-forming seaweed system. Limnology and Oceanography; 10.1002/lno.10342
  20. Paul C, Sommer U, Garzke J, Moustaka-Gouni M, Paul A, Matthiessen B (2016) Effects of increased CO2 concentration on nutrient limited coastal summer plankton depend on temperature. Limnology and Oceanography; doi: 10.1002/lno.10256
  21. Werner F J, Graiff A, Matthiessen B (2016) Temperature effects on seaweed-sustaining top-down control vary with season. Oecologia 180: 889-901; doi:10.​1007/​s00442-015-3489-x
  22. Paul C, Matthiessen B, Sommer U (2015) Warming, but not enhanced CO2 concentration, quantitatively and qualitatively affects phytoplankton biomass. Marine Ecology Progress Series 528: 39-51; doi: 10.3354/meps11264
  23. de Boer K M, Moor H, Matthiessen B, Hillebrand H and Eriksson B K (2014) Dispersal restricts local biomass but promotes the recovery of metacommunities after temperature stress. Oikos 123: 762-768; doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0706.2013.00927.x
  24. Lewandowska A M, Boyce D G, Hofmann M, Matthiessen B, Sommer U, Worm B (2014) Effects of sea surface warming on marine plankton. Ecology Letters 17: 614-623; doi: 10.1111/ele.12265
  25. Eggers S L, Lewandowska A M, Barcelos e Ramos J, Blanco-Ameijeiras S, Gallo F, Matthiessen B (2014) Community composition has greater impact on the functioning of marine phytoplankton communities than ocean acidification. Global Change Biology 20: 713-723; doi: 10.1111/gcb.12421
  26. Hansen T,  Gardeler B, Matthiessen B. (2013) Precise quantitative measurements of total dissolved inorganic carbon from small amounts of seawater using a gas chromatographic system. Biogeosciences 10: 6601–6608; doi:10.5194/bg-10-6601-2013
  27. Eggers S L, Matthiessen B (2013) Initial dominance in coccolitophore communities affects community structure but does not translate into community functioning. Marine Ecology Progress Series 473: 67–77; doi: 10.3354/meps10064
  28. Werner F J, Matthiessen B (2013) Temperature indirectly affects benthic microalgal diversity by altering effects of top-down but not bottom-up control. Oikos 122: 52–63, doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0706.2012.19952.x
  29. Matthiessen B, Eggers S L, Krug S A (2012) High nitrate to phosphorus regime attenuates negative effects of rising pCO2 on total population carbon accumulation. Biogeosciences 9, 1195–1203, doi:10.5194/bg-9-1195-2012.
  30. Eggers S L, Eriksson B K, Matthiessen, B (2012) A heat wave and dispersal cause dominance shift and decrease biomass in experimental metacommunities. Oikos, 121 (5): 721-733; DOI: 10.1111/j.1600-0706.2011.19714.x
  31. Mouquet N, Matthiessen B, Miller T, Gonzalez A (2011) Extinction dept in source-sink metacommunities. PLoS One 6,3 e17567; doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0071567 
  32. Matthiessen B, Reusch T (2010) Marine biodiversity - a vital resource. 
  33. In: World Ocean Review, Maribus Verlag 
  34. Matthiessen B, Ptacnik R, Hillebrand H (2010) Diversity and community biomass depend on dispersal and disturbance in microalgal communities. Hydrobiologia 653, 1: 65; DOI 10.1007/s10750-010-0349-x
  35. Matthiessen B, Mielke E, Sommer U (2010) Dispersal decreases diversity in heterogeneous metacommunities by enhancing regional competition. Ecology 91 (7): 2022-2033; doi: 10.1890/09-1395.1
  36. Hillebrand H, Matthiessen B (2009) Biodiversity in a complex world: Consolidation and progress in functional biodiversity research. Ecology Letters 12: 1-15; doi: 10.1111/j.1461-0248.2009.01388.x
  37. Hillebrand H, Gamfeldt L, Jonnsson PR, Matthiessen B (2009) Consumer diversity indirectly changes prey nutrient content. Mar Ecol Progr Ser 380: 33-41; doi: 10.3354/meps07937
  38. Gamfeldt L, Matthiessen B, Jonsson PR, Hillebrand H. Effects of predator and herbivore diversity on ecosystem functioning in rock-pool metacommunities. (in prep) 
  39. Matthiessen B, Gamfeldt L, Jonsson PR, Hillebrand H (2007) Effects of grazer richness and combination on algal biomass in closed and open marine systems. Ecology 88 (1): 178-187; doi: 10.1890/0012-9658
  40. Matthiessen B, Hillebrand H (2006) Dispersal frequency affects local biomass production by controlling local diversity. Ecology Letters 9: 652-662; doi: 10.1111/j.1461-0248.2006.00916.x
  41. Matthiessen B, Fock HO (2004) A null model for the analysis of dietary overlap in Macroramphosus spp. at Great Meteor Seamount (subtropical North-east Atlantic). Arch Fish Mar Res 51 (1-3): 294-304 
  42. Matthiessen B, Fock HO, von Westernhagen H (2003) Evidence for two sympatric species of snipefishes Macroramphosus spp. (Syngnathiformes, Centriscidae) on Great Meteor Seamount. Helgol Mar Res 57: 63-72; DOI 10.1007/s10152-002-0133-z
  43. Fock HO, Matthiessen B, Zidowitz H, von Westernhagen H. (2002) Diet and habitat-dependent resource utilisation by deep-sea fishes at the Great Meteor seamount: niche overlap and support for the sound scattering layer interception hyothesis. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 244: 219-233; doi:10.3354/meps244219