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Department Head: 

Prof. Dr. Alexandra-Maria Klein
phone:+49 (0)761 203-67770



Mrs. Ilona Winkler
phone:+49 (0)761 203-3635
fax:+49 (0)761 203-3638


Chair of Nature Conservation
& Landscape Ecology
University of Freiburg
Tennenbacher Str. 4
D-79106 Freiburg




Seed dispersal and predation

Seed dispersal and predation along an urban-rural gradient;

an education and research project





Dr. Gesine Pufal

Prof. Dr. Alexandra-Maria Klein

PhD student Victoria Miczajka

Project duration:

Juli 2012 - Juni 2015


PhD Scholarship of the Leuphana University Lüneburg







Seed dispersal and predation are ecosystem functions that play an important role for the composition of plant communities and hence might influence entire ecosystems. However, these processes are often hard to quantify and their functioning in anthropogenic landscapes is poorly understood.

In the PhD project of Victoria Miczajka (Seed dispersal and predation along an urban-rural gradient; an education and research project) we investigated seed dispersal and predation by ground dwelling animals along an urban-rural gradient in Lüneburg and its surroundings.


In cities and villages we used school yards as field sites, whereas in agricultural settings field margins were used. Because of their significant differences in human land use and small-scale structural differences, we expect strong fluctuations between urban and rural field sites, especially in seed predation by different animal groups.




This project is especially important because of its distinct inter- and transdisciplinary character. Through the use of school yards as field sites we had the opportunity to actively involve primary school children in the project. A project-related education programm during regular school lessons conveyed knowledge about biodiversity and ecosystem functions. Children also conducted seed predation experiments and therefore collected valuable data as „citizen scientists“. An evaluation programm which accompanied the project allows us to draw conclusions about the influence of the project on the children’s understanding about science. 




  • Miczajka, V.L., Klein, A.M. & Pufal, G. (2019): Slug activity density increases seed predation independently of an urban-rural gradient. Basic and Applied Ecology 39: 15-25. Link
  • Miczajka, V.L., Klein, A.M. & Pufal, G. (2015): Elementary school children contribute to environmental research as citizen scientists. PLOS ONE 10: e0143229. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0143229. Link





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