Room: W4 0-049

Phone: +49 (0)441 798-3315



Helena Einzmann

Dr. Helena JR Einzmann

Research interests

  • Epiphyte assemblages of tropical forests and anthropogenic landscapes
  • Microclimatic influences on epiphyte assemblages
  • Influences of anthropogenic landscape changes on epiphyte assemblages
  • Mechanical effect of wind on epiphytes: how large is the force on epiphytes when exposed to wind?
  • What force is needed to detach an epiphyte from its substrate?

Project: Epiphytes and wind in a changing world

Epiphytes are a key element of tropical forests that are known as a cradle of biodiversity. Highly diverse themselves, epiphytes provide habitat and food for many dependent organisms and play a key role in the water and nutrient cycling of the ecosystem. Structurally depend on their host and growing at the interface between terrestrial vegetation and the atmosphere, they are tightly coupled to the atmosphere and hence much more affected to changes in any climate regime. Therefore, it is surprising how little is known about how wind affects epiphytes. The project links biodiversity research with physics aiming to understand the effect of wind on the epiphytes` vital attachment to their host. This becomes even more important as their natural habitat, the tropical forests, are fragmented by land-use change, exposing them further, which potentiates the negative effects of climate change, e.g. intensification of strong storm events.


Hietz P, Wagner K, …., Einzmann HJR, … & Zotz G. 2021. Putting vascular epiphytes on the traits map. Journal of Ecology, in press.

Tay J, Zotz G & Einzmann HJR. 2021. Thigmomorphogenic responses of epiphytic bromeliads to mechanically-induced stress. Plant Ecology, in press.

Einzmann HJR, Weichgrebe L & Zotz G. 2021. Long‐term community dynamics in vascular epiphytes on Annona glabra along the shoreline of Barro Colorado Island, Panama. Journal of Ecology, 109: 1931–1946.‐2745.13618

Tay J, Zotz G, Gorb SN & Einzmann HJR. 2021. Getting a grip on the adhesion mechanism of epiphytic orchids – evidence from histology and Cryo-SEM. Frontiers in Forests and Global Change – Forest Ecophysiology 4: 764357.

Tay JYL, Zotz G, Puczylowski J & Einzmann H. 2021. Go with the flow: The extent of drag reduction as epiphytic bromeliads reorient in wind. PLoS ONE 16: e0252790.

Zotz G, Hietz P & Einzmann HJR. 2021. Functional ecology of vascular epiphytes. Annual Plant Reviews Online 4: 869-905.

Einzmann HJR, Schickenberg N & Zotz G. 2020. Variation in root morphology of epiphytic orchids along small-scale and large-scale moisture gradients. Acta Botanica Brasilica 34: 66-73.

Mendieta Leiva G, Ramos FN, Elias JPC, Zotz G, Acuña-Tarazona M, Alvim FS, Barbosa DEF, Basílio GA, Batke SP, Benavides AM, Blum CT, Boelter CR, Carmona MJ, Carvalho LP, Rosa-Manzano Edl, Einzmann HJR, Fernández M, Furtado SG, Gasper ALd, Guzmán-Jacob V, Hietz P, Irume MV, Jiménez-López DA, Kessler M, Kreft H, Krömer T, Machado GMO, Martínez-Meléndez N, Martins PLSS, Mello RdM, Mendes AF, Neto LM, Mortara SR, Nardy C, Oliveira RdP, Pereira ACA, Pillaca L, Quaresma AC, Rodríguez Quiel C, Medina ES, Taylor A, Vega MS, Wagner K, Werneck MS, Werner FA, Wolf JHD, Zartman CE, Zuleta D & Jímenez-Alfaro B. 2020. EpIG-DB: A database of vascular epiphyte assemblages. Journal of Vegetation Science 31: 518-528.

Zotz G, Leja M, Aguilar-Cruz Y & Einzmann HJR. 2020. How much water is in the tank? An allometric analysis with 205 bromeliad species. Flora 264: 151557.

Einzmann HJR & Zotz G. 2017. Dispersal and establishment of vascular epiphytes in human-modified landscapes. AoB Plants, 9: plx052. doi:

Einzmann HJR & Zotz G. 2017.  "No signs of saturation": long-term dynamics of vascular epiphyte communities in a human-modified landscape. Biodiversity and Conservation 26: 1393-1410. doi: 10.1007/s10531-017-1306-z.

Einzmann HJR, Döcke L & Zotz G. 2016. Epiphytes in human settlements in rural Panama. Plant Ecology & Diversity 9: 277–287.

Einzmann HJR & Zotz G. 2016. How diverse are epiphyte assemblages in plantations and secondary forests in tropical lowlands? Tropical Conservation Science 9: 629-647.

Zotz G, Weichgrebe T, Happatz H & Einzmann HJR. 2016. Measuring the terminal velocity of tiny diaspores. Seed Science Research 26: 222-230.

Einzmann HJR, Beyschlag J, Hofhansl F, Wanek W & Zotz G. 2015. Host tree phenology affects vascular epiphytes at the physiological, demographic and community level. AoB Plants 7: plu073. doi:10.1093/aobpla/plu073

Surina B, Pfanzelt S, Einzmann HJR & Albach DC. 2014. Bridging the Alps and the Middle East: Evolution, phylogeny and systematics of the genus Wulfenia (Plantaginaceae). Taxon 63: 843-858.

Other publications (not reviewed)

Einzmann HJR, Döcke L & Zotz G. 2016. Epiphytes in human-modified landscapes. What's Up? 22: 6-7.

Reviewed for

  • Acta Oecologia
  • American Journal of Botany
  • Australian Journal of Botany
  • Biodiversitas Journal of Biological Diversity
  • Flora
  • Forests
  • Journal of Applied Ecology
  • Journal of Tropical Ecology
  • Nordic Journal of Botany
  • Plant Ecology & Diversity
  • Plant Taxonomy and Geography

Curriculum vitae

since November 2016

Scientific staff, University Oldenburg

Oct. 2011 – Jul. 2016

PhD, Carl von Ossietzky University Oldenburg


Thesis (magna cum laude): “Epiphytes in human-modified landscapes“

Nov. 2015 – Feb. 2016

Scientific staff, University Oldenburg

Okt. 2014 – Aug. 2015

Scientific staff, University Oldenburg

May 2014 – Aug. 2014

Scientific staff / teaching assistant University Oldenburg

May 2013 – Dec. 2013

Scientific staff, University Oldenburg

Jul. 2012 – Dec. 2012

Scientific staff, University Oldenburg

Oct. 2005 – Sep. 2010

Biology studies, Carl von Ossietzky University Oldenburg

Sep. 2008

Bachelor of Science - Biology


Thesis: “Funktionelle Untersuchungen an Pseudobulben“

Oct. 2010

Master of Science - Biology

  Thesis: “Investigation of epiphyte communities of deciduous and evergreen trees in a tropical lowland forest”


Contributions to scientific congresses

Einzmann HJR, Weichgrebe L & Zotz G. 2021. Dinámica a largo plazo de comunidades de epífitas vasculares en Annona glabra a lo largo de la costa de la Isla Barro Colorado, Panamá. Invited speaker at the I Simposio Colombiano de Epífitas, Junio 9-11 2021, Medellín, Colombia - online.

Einzmann HJR, Weichgrebe T & Zotz G. 2019. Long-term change in epiphyte populations and communities. Oral presentation at the 49th Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Münster, Germany.

Einzmann HJR & Zotz G. 2017. An unresolved contradiction: demographic patterns and metapopulation dynamics of vascular epiphytes. Poster at the Joint Annual Meeting: Ecology across borders with BES, GfÖ, NECOV & EEF. Gent, Belgium.

Einzmann HJR, Döcke L & Zotz G. 2016. Epiphytes in Human-Modified Landscapes. Oral presentation at the 7th International Canopy Conference. August 21st-26th 2016, London, UK.

Einzmann HJR & Zotz G. 2015. Epiphytes in Human-Modified Landscapes: Dispersal and Establishment. Poster at the 45th Annual Conference of the Ecological Society of Germany, Austria and Switzerland. September 31st-4th 2015, Göttingen, GER.

Pfanzelt S, Surina B, Einzmann HJR & Albach D. 2012. Bridging the Alps and the Middle East: Phylogeny and systematics of the genus Wulfenia Jacq. (Plantaginaceae). Oral presentation at the 21st International Symposium "Biodiversity and Evolutionary Biology" of th German Botanical Society (DBG), September 16th-19th 2012, Mainz, GER.

Einzmann HJR & Zotz G. 2012. "Oh, how beautiful is Panama?" - The epiphyte's perspective. Poster at the 42nd Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of Germany, Austria and Switzerland, September 10th-14th 2012, Lüneburg, GER.

Einzmann HJR, Beyschlag J, Wanek W & Zotz G. 2011. Host tree phenology affects epiphyte assemblages. Oral presentation at the 41st Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of Germany, Austria and Switzerland, September 5th-9th 2011, Oldenburg, GER.

Einzmann HJR, Beyschlag J, Wanek W & Zotz G. 2011. On the sunny side - epiphyte assemblages of deciduous and evergreen trees in a tropical lowland forest. Poster at the Annual Conference of the Society for Tropical Ecology, February 21st-24th 2011, Frankfurt a. M., GER.

(Changed: 2021-12-22)