Lehrstuhl für Tierökologie und Tropenbiologie


Birte Peters

PhD student

Telephone: +49 (0)931 31-88889
Fax: +49 (0)931 31-888890

Room C015

University of Würzburg
Department of Animal Ecology and Tropical Biology
Biocenter -  Am Hubland

97074 Würzburg, Germany

  • Biotic interactions (plant- bacteria- animal) and community patterns
  • Symbiontic vs. antagonistic processes
  • Molecular Biodiversity and Co- Evoultion
  • Experimental and chemical ecology
  • Plant molecular biodiversity research
  • Applied ecology and nature conservation

MicroBEEs: Consequences of land-use for solitary bee microbiota and function

When addressing land-use effects on plant-pollinator interaction networks, a major player has so far been largely ignored: Microbes. In MicroBEEs, we investigate how land-use induced changes in flowering plant composition and diversity affect bee-microbe interactions via changes in the species and nutritional composition of available floral resources. We combine network analyses of bee-plant (resource) and bee-microbe interactions with DNA-meta barcoding, shotgun metagenomics, laboratory assays and nutritional analyses. Our aim is to better understand which functions underlie interactions among and between mutualistic bee-microbe networks at both gene and taxonomic level. Specifically, we want to 1) disentangle bee-microbe networks in relation to land-use intensity and corresponding plant-bee diversity and network complexity, 2) define major functional genes of the bee microbiome, 3) experimentally verify the functional role of selected bacteria, and 4) assess how resource diversity and composition (and thus land-use intensity) affect the functional/taxonomic stability of (mutualistic) interaction.

since 04.2017: PhD student at University of Würzburg, Department of Animal Ecology and Tropical Biology. Project: MicroBEEs - Consequences of land-use for solitary bee microbiota and function. Supervisors: Dr. Sara Leonhardt & Dr. Alexander Keller

02.2015 - 10.2016: Master of science in Biology at University of Salzburg, Department of Ecology and Evolution. Master thesis: Bacteria affect the feeding behavior of slugs. Supervisor: Dr. Robert R. Junker

09.2015 - 12.2015: Research assistant at University of Salzburg in topic of Acetolysis and identification of pollen, light microscopy

03.2015 - 09.2015: Teaching assistant at University of Salzburg for lab assistance, undergraduate courses, Plant diversity, collection of plant material, organization and realization of field trips, student choaching

10.2012 - 02.2015: Bachelor of science in Biology at University of Salzburg, Department of Ecology and Evolution. Bachelor thesis: Die „Wolfsproblematik“ in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland - Die Rückkehr eines großen Beutegreifers. Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Ulrike Berninger

08.2012 - 09.2012: Ecological and environmental Internship in Kenia/Laikipia, Naivasha, Masaii Mara in topic of nature conservation, tracking and monitoring, population dynamics, wildlife management. Supervisor: Dr. Rainer Revers

Peters B, Türke M, Junker RR (2017) Epiphytic bacteria on lettuce affect the feeding behavior of an invasive pest slug. Acta Agrobotanica (invited contribution to a special issue on plant-animal interactions)

Kuppler J, Grasegger T, Peters B, Popp S, Schlager M, Junker RR (2016) Volatility of network indices due to undersampling of intraspecific variation in plant insect interactions. (in press) Arthropod-Plant Interactions