Julia Piko


06/2021 - present Doctoral researcher at Forest Nature Conservation Group, University of Göttingen, and German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

04/2020 - 12/2020 Guest scientist at Agroecology Group, University of Göttingen
Project “Konkrete Maßnahmen gegen das ‚Insektensterben‘"

10/2015 - 09/2019 M. Sc. “Biological Diversity, Ecology, and Evolution”, University of Göttingen
Major studies: Animal ecology, nature conservation biology, evolution
Thesis: “Effects of three different flower field types on pollinator diversity and plant-pollinator interactions”, supervised by Prof. Dr. Catrin Westphal (Functional Agrobiodiversity Group) and PD Dr. Péter Batáry ("Lendület" Landscape and Conservation Ecology Research Group).

10/2011 - 09/2014 B. Sc. “Biological Sciences”, University of Konstanz
Thesis: “Untersuchungen zur Blattanatomie und Blattmorphologie innerhalb der Gattung Haworthia DUVAL (Asphodeliaceae) unter funktionalen und evolutiven Aspekten“ (Studies of leaf anatomy and leaf morphology within the genus Haworthia DUVAL (Asphodeliaceae) under functional and evolutional aspects), supervised by Prof. Dr. Mark van Kleunen.

Research project

Having focused on flower-visiting insects and bumblebee pollen diet in agroecosystems during my master´s thesis, my doctoral research project will take a multitrophic perspective on a different kind of plant-insect interaction: Herbivory.

Insect herbivory is a key process in many forests, as it moderates plant community structure and ecosystem functioning. Herbivory can be mediated directly and indirectly by plants (bottom-up) or natural enemies like predators and parasitoids (top-down). Additionally, herbivores can influence their host plants, and the effects of forest structure and other associated communities like leaf fungal pathogens or mycorrhiza need to be included, too. Therefore, this thesis is embedded within the DFG-funded International Research Training Group GRK 2324 “TreeDì – Tree Diversity Interactions: The role of tree-tree interactions in local neighbourhoods in Chinese subtropical forests” which brings together (doctoral) researchers from a wide range of disciplines. For more information, please have a look at: https://www.idiv.de/en/treedi.html.

The aim of our subproject (P4) is to study the relative importance and mechanisms of bottom-up and top-down control as well as the consequences of insect herbivory for ecosystem functioning. For this, we will analyze the functional composition of, and interactions among, herbivore communities, their natural enemies, and their host shrubs/trees using observational and experimental approaches based on taxonomic and molecular methods in two forest biodiversity experiments (MyDiv and BEF-China) and in the lab.



Piko, J., Keller, A., Geppert, C., Batáry, P., Tscharntke, T., Westphal, C. & Hass, A.L. (2021). Effects of three flower field types on bumblebees and their pollen diets. Basic and Applied Ecology. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.baae.2021.02.005