Lehrstuhl für Tierökologie und Tropenbiologie

Dr. Sabine Nooten

Dr. Sabine Nooten

Department of Animal Ecology and Tropical Biology
Biocenter, University of Würzburg
Am Hubland
97074 Würzburg
Raum: C017
Sabine Nooten

I am a functional ecologist. I am passionate about finding out why species live where they live. I use insects as model organsims. My work investigates how species traits are influenced by the environment and which traits are needed to persist under rapid environmental change and more interestingly ... how to survive more extreme conditions in the future. I have pursued this line of work across four different continents (Australia, North America, Asia and now Europe) in a variety of habitats, ranging from dry to wet forests, and from native to managed ecosystems.  

  • Functional ecology
  • Insects 
  • Communiy ecology
  • Chemical ecology

Current project:

Life in challenging environments: identifying species trait-environment relationships in alpine bumblebees

I am currently working as a temporary principal investigator on my DFG financed project (link). This extends my previous work on species trait-environment relationships to now investigate key chemical traits - the cuticular hydrocarbons (CHCs). I look at CHC profiles and their adaptation capacity to new and challenging climatic conditions. I further look into the ways this alines with morphological traits. I use alpine bumblebees as a model organism for this research, as they are well adapted to inhabit climatically extreme environments. 

Please send me an email, if this sparks your interest and you would like to work with me.

My previous projects include the functional ecology and diversity of ants and wild bees. I also studied the impacts of climate change on plant-insect interactions. You can find more info about my previous projects and other activities on my website

2021 - present     Temporary Principal Investigator, Department of Animal Ecology and Tropical Biology, University of Würzburg
2019 - 2021          Postdoctoral Researcher, School of Biological Sciences, University of Hong Kong, SAR China
2018 - 2019          Postdoctoral Researcher, Department of Biological Sciences, University of New Hampshire, Durham, USA
2017 - 2018          Visiting Research Fellow, University of Würzburg, Würzburg, Germany
2015 - 2016          Visiting Research Fellow, Western Sydney University, Sydney, Australia
2013 - 2015          Postdoctoral Researcher, Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment, Western Sydney University, Sydney, Australia
2013 - 2013          Research Assistant, Brain Behaviour and Evolution, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia
2008 - 2013          PHD student, Department of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia
2004 - 2006          Research Assistant (Dipl.), Institute for Molecular Biosciences, Goethe-University, Frankfurt a. M., Germany 
2002 - 2004          Research Assistant (student), Crustacean Section, Senckenberg Museum, Frankfurt a. M., Germany
1997 - 2004          Diploma student, Institute for Molecular Biosciences, Goethe-University, Frankfurt a. M., Germany 

# denotes shared first authorship; ^denotes shared last authorship; *denotes student authors

26. Maihoff F., Sahler S., Schoger S., Brenzinger K., Kallnik K., Sauer N., Bofinger L., Schmitt T., Nooten^ S. S., Classen^ A. (2023) Cuticular hydrocarbons of alpine bumble bees (Hymenoptera: Bombus) are species-specific, but show little evidence of elevation-related climate adaptation. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 11:1082559, doi: 10.3389/fevo.2023.1082559, link

25. Schultheiss# P., Nooten# S. S., Wang R., Wong M. K. L., Brassard F., and Guénard B. (2022) The abundance, biomass and distribution of ants on Earth. The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 119 (40) e2201550119, doi: 10.1073/pnas.2201550119, link featured in Science,  Washington Post, New York Times,  The GuardianBBCNew Scientist and over 300 others. In the top 1% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric

24. Nooten S. S., and Guénard B. Ant communities in disturbed subtropical landscapes: is climate more important than stochastic processes? Oecologia, 200:441–454 doi: 10.1007/s00442-022-05276-8,  link

23. Nooten S. S., Chan K. H., Schultheiss P., Bogar T. A. and Guénard B. (2022) Ant body size mediates functional performance and species interactions in carrion decomposer communities. Functional Ecology, doi:10.1111/1365-2435.14039 link  blog

22. Bogar* T. A., Nooten S. S. and Guénard B. (2022) Development of a new apparatus to partition ant body size reveals their respective functional role within ant communities. Preprint Authorea, doi: 10.22541/au.165123565.56700408/v1, link

21. Nooten S. S. & Rehan S. M. (2022) Effects of land use type and seasonal climate on ground nesting wild bees. Agricultural and Forest Entomology, 2022:1-8, doi:10.1111/afe.12486 link

20. Nooten S. S., Lee R. H.  and Guénard B. (2021) Evaluating the conservation value of sacred forests for ant taxonomic, functional and phylogenetic diversity in highly degraded landscapes. Biological Conservation, 109286,doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2021.109286 link

19. Nooten S. S., Odanaka, K. and Rehan S. M. (2020) Effects of farming practice and seasonal phenology on wild bees in blueberry orchards. Northeastern Naturalist, 27:841–860 link

18. Nooten S. S., Odanaka, K. and Rehan S. M. (2020) Characterization of wild bee communities in apple and blueberry orchards. Agricultural and Forest Entomology, 22:157–168, doi:10.1111/afe.12370 link

17. Nooten S. S. & Rehan S. M. (2019) Historical changes in bumble bee body size and range shift of declining species. Biodiversity and Conservation, 29:451–467, doi:10.1007/s10531-019-01893-7 link

16. Nooten S. S., Schultheiss P., Rowe* R. C., Facey* S. L. and Cook J. M. (2019) Habitat complexity affects functional traits and diversity of ant assemblages in urban green spaces (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Myrmecological News, 29: 67–77, doi:10.25849/myrmecol.news_029:067 link  blog  

15. Nooten S. S. & Rehan S. M. (2019) Agricultural land use yields reduced foraging efficiency and unviable offspring in the wild bee Ceratina calcarata. Ecological Entomology,  44:534–542, doi:10.1111/een.12730 link

14. Odanaka K., Hall J., Nooten S. and Rehan S. (2019) Wild Bees of Eastern North America: a guide to common pollinators and flowers. University of New Hampshire, Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research. 120 p. 

13. Odanaka K., Hall J., Nooten S. and Rehan S. (2018) Wild Bees of New England: A Guide to Common Pollinators & Flowers. University of New Hampshire, Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research. 120 p. pdf

12. Nooten S. S., Schultheiss P., Wright* J., Macdonald, C., Singh, B., Cook J. & Power, S. (2018) What shapes plant and animal diversity on urban golf courses? Urban Ecosystems, 21:565–576, doi:10.1007/s11252-017-0728-4 link video-clip  magazine

11. Kremer* J. M. M., Nooten S. S, Cook J. M., Ryalls J. M. W., Barton C. V. M., Johnson S. N. (2018) Elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations promote ant tending of aphids. Journal of Animal Ecology, 87:1475–1483, doi:10.1111/1365-2656.12842 link

10. Nooten S. S. & Hughes L. (2017) The power of the transplant: direct assessment of climate change impacts. Climatic Change, 144:237–255, doi:10.1007/s10584-017-2037-6 link

9. Nooten S. S. & Andrew N. R. (2017) Transplant Experiments – a Powerful Method to Study Climate Change Impacts (p 46-67). In Global Climate Change and Terrestrial Invertebrates (eds S.N. Johnson & T.H. Jones). Wiley, UK. doi:10.1002/9781119070894.ch4 link

8. Nooten S. S. & Hughes L. (2016) Roles of family and architecture in driving insect community structure: a comparison of nine Australian plant species. Australian Journal of Entomology, 55:423–432 link

7. Facey S. L., Fidler D. B., Rowe R. C., Bromfield L. M., Nooten S. S., Staley J. T., Ellsworth D. S. & Johnson S. N. (2016) Atmospheric change causes declines in woodland arthropods and impacts specific trophic groups. Agricultural and Forest Entomology, 19:101-112 link

6. Schultheiss, P., Wystrach, A., Schwarz, S., Tack, A., Delor, J., Nooten, S. S., Bibost, A.-L., Freas, C. A. & Cheng, K. (2016) Crucial role of ultraviolet light for desert ants in determining direction from the terrestrial panorama. Animal Behaviour, 115:19–28 link

5. Julle-Daniere, E., Schultheiss, P., Wystrach, A., Schwarz, S., Nooten, S. S., Bibost, A.-L. & Cheng, K. (2014) Visual matching in the orientation of desert ants (Melophorus bagoti): The effect of changing skyline height. Ethology, 120:783–792 link

4. Nooten S. S., Andrew N. R. & Hughes L. (2014) Potential impacts of climate change on insect communities: a transplant experiment.  PLOS ONE 9(1): e85987 doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0085987  link media 

3. Nooten S. S. & Hughes L. (2014) Potential impacts of climate change on patterns of insect herbivory on four Australian plant species. Austral Ecology, 39:668-676; doi:10.1111/aec.12129  link

2. Schultheiss P. & Nooten S. S. (2013) Foraging patterns and strategies in an Australian desert ant. Austral Ecology 38:942–951 link

1. Nooten SS. & Hughes L. (2013) Patterns of insect herbivory on four Australian shrubby plant species. Australian Journal of Entomology 52:309–314  link