Maaß Dr., Stefanie - HONORS Alumna


Plant Ecology

Altensteinstraße 6
14195 Berlin

I studied biology at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg with a focus on zoology and ecology (BSc) and then came back to my beloved home town Berlin to study ‘Biodiversity, Ecology and Evolution’ (MSc) at FU Berlin. Since my PhD studies, which were funded by a scholarship of the Friedrich-Naumann- Foundation, I have worked in the Plant Ecology group of Prof. Rillig to study the community structures of soil organisms, especially of soil mites, and how they can be explained by ecological theories. I have developed a passion for studies/experiments which deal with different organism groups and several methodological approaches simultaneously which means where there is a need for cooperation and inventive talent.   

(text by Dr. Sabine Maaß)

I am having a background in zoology (especially arthropods) and soil ecology with a strong interested in small-scale processes. During my PhD, I have studied the effects of e.g. the environment on the community structure of soil organisms. For my present research I turn the tables and ask:  How do soil microarthropods (arthropods smaller than 2mm in body length) affect their environment? I will use the example of soil aggregation which is an important measure of soil health. There is nearly nothing known about this topic, however, it is important for sustainable agriculture but also for the general understanding of processes in the ‘black box soil’. Additionally, I would like to make use of a couple of non-destructive visualisation techniques which haven’t been established yet in soil ecology.

(outline by Dr. Sabine Maaß)

Maaß, S., Caruso, T., Rillig, M.C. 2015. Functional role of microarthropods in soil aggregation. Pedobiologia 58: 59-63.


Maaß, S., Maraun, M., Scheu, S., Rillig, M.C., Caruso, T. 2015. Environmental filtering vs. resource-based niche partitioning in diverse soil animal assemblages. Soil Biology & Biochemistry 85: 145-152.


Maaß, S., Migliorini, M., Rillig, M.C., Caruso, T. 2014. Disturbance, neutral theory and patterns of beta diversity in soil communities. Ecology and Evolution 4: 4766-4774.