Schleusenstrasse 1 26382 Wilhelmshaven

+49 4421 944-217 | intern: 8217

Dr. Stefanie Moorthi

Research Focus

I’m interested in the effects of biodiversity loss and environmental change on microbial food webs, using a trait-based perspective. I mainly focus on herbivore – microalgae interactions in planktonic and benthic habitats, investigating the relevance of functional traits for food web dynamics under altered environmental conditions, regarding, e.g. nutrients, light and temperature. Specifically, I study the effects of inter – and intraspecific consumer and algal trait variation for trophic interactions, also in a spatial metacommunity context, the relevance of mixotrophic feeding strategies, and causes and consequences of harmful algal blooms.


biodiversity –  trait variation – mixotrophy – harmful algae –  algae-herbivore interactions – ecological stoichiometry

Most Recent Projects

2022 – 2025 Spatial and temporal dynamics of microbial communities under environmental perturbation. Subproject SP4 in DFG Research Unit DynaCom “Spatial community ecology in highly dynamic landscapes: from island biogeography to metaecosystems”.

2018 – 2022 The relevance of consumer competition and feeding traits, as well as their trade-offs, in determining multispecies trophic interactions. DFG funded project within the Priority Programme SPP1704 “Flexibility matters: Interplay between trait diversity and ecological dynamics using aquatic communities as model systems” (DynaTrait).

2018 - 2022 POpulation Shift and Ecosystem Response – Krill vs. Salps (POSER), Collaborative research project. Lower Saxony Ministry of Science and Culture (MWK). Lead PIs: Bettina Meyer, Helmut Hillebrand, Co-PI’s: Bernd Blasius, Morten Iversen, Stefanie Moorthi, Scarlett Trimborn.

Selected publications

Plum C, Hillebrand H and Moorthi SD (2020). Krill vs salps: dominance shift from krill to salps is associated with higher dissolved N:P ratios. Scientific Reports 10 (1): 5911. doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-62829-8

Purz AK, Hodapp D, and Moorthi SD (2021). Dispersal, location of bloom initiation, and nutrient conditions determine the dominance of the harmful dinoflagellate Alexandrium catenella: A meta-ecosystem study. Limnology and Oceanography 66, 3928-3943. doi.org/10.1002/lno.11933

Yong, J., Moick, M., Dewenter, J., Hillebrand, H., Kröncke, I., Lõhmus, K., Pieck, D., Rohde, S., and Moorthi, SD (2022). Spatial and temporal patterns of microphytobenthos communities along the marine-terrestrial boundary in the German Wadden Sea. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 10. doi: 10.3389/fevo.2022.956092

Short CV

2008 - today Senior Researcher, University of Oldenburg, ICBM Wilhelmshaven, Germany

2007 - 2008 Senior Researcher, University of Cologne, Germany

2004 - 2007 Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, USA

2000 - 2004 Dissertation at University of Kiel, GEOMAR, Germany

1993 - 2000 Study of Biology at the Universities of Göttingen and Kiel, Germany

(Stand: 29.05.2024)  | 
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