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Prof. Dr. Britta Tietjen

Britta Tietjen

Tietjen Group - Theoretical Ecology

Institute of Biology

Freie Universität Berlin


Freie Universität Berlin
Institute of Biology
Königin-Luise-Straße 2/4, Gartenhaus
Room 205
14195 Berlin
+49 (0)30-838 453158

 Research Interests

  • Impacts of diversity on various levels (from traits to ecosystems)
  • Interactions between water and vegetation in drylands, ecohydrological modelling
  • Impacts of climate change, CO2 and land-use on grasslands and dryland ecosystems, e.g. savannas, Mediterranean-type areas
  • Ecosystem services, ecosystem functioning

Curriculum Vitae

  • Since 2019: Professor (W3) for Theoretical Ecology, Department of Biology, Chemistry, Pharmacy, Freie Universität Berlin
  • 2017-2019: Professor (W2) for Biodiversity/Theoretical Ecology, Department of Biology, Chemistry, Pharmacy, Freie Universität Berlin
  • 2011-2017: Juniorprofessor (W1) for Biodiversity/Ecological Modelling, Department of Biology, Chemistry, Pharmacy, Freie Universität Berlin
  • 2009-2011: Research Associate at Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)
  • 2005-2009: PhD student at the Institute of Biochemistry and Biology, University of Potsdam
  • 2004-2005: Diploma thesis at the Department of Ecological Modelling, Environmental Research Centre (UFZ)
  • 2004: Student assistant at the Institute of Environmental Systems Research (USF), University of Osnabrück
  • 2002-2003: Visiting Researcher at the Canadian Environmental Modelling Centre,Trent University, Canada
  • 2000-2005: Student of Applied System Science, University of Osnabrück
  • 1997-2000: Student of Mathematics, Geography, Biology at the University of Göttingen


Peer review


  • Baldauf S., Porada P, Raggio J, Maestre FT, Tietjen B (2020). Relative humidity predominantly determines long-term biocrust-forming lichen survival under climate change. bioRxiv non peer-review, https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.06.09.141564 (accepted at Journal of Ecology)
  • Buzhdygan OY, Tietjen B, Rudenko SS, Nikorych VA, Petermann JS (2020). Direct and indirect effects of land-use intensity on plant communities across elevation in semi-natural grasslands. bioRxiv non peer-review, https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.03.18.996744 (accepted at PLOS ONE)
  • Wesener F, Szymczak A, Rillig MC, Tietjen B (2020) Stress priming affects fungal competition – evidence from a combined experimental and modeling study. bioRxiv - non peer-review. https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.03.04.976357
  • Giebels D, Carus J, Paul M, Kleyer M, Siebenhüner B, Arns A, Bartholomä A, Carlow V, Jensen J, Tietjen B, Wehrmann A, Schröder B (2020). Transdisciplinary knowledge management: A key but underdeveloped skill in EBM decision-making. Marine Policy, 119, 104020. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpol.2020.104020
  • Buzhdygan OY, Meyer ST, Weisser WW, Eisenhauer N, Ebeling A, Borrett SR, Buchmann N, Cortois R, De Deyn GB, de Kroon H, Gleixner G, Hertzog LR, Hines J, Lange M, Mommer L, Ravenek J, Scherber C, Scherer-Lorenzen M, Scheu S, Schmid B, Steinauer K, Strecker T, Tietjen B, Vogel A, Weigelt A, Petermann JS (2020) Biodiversity increases multitrophic energy use efficiency, flow and storage in grasslands. Nature Ecology & Evolution https://doi.org/10.1038/s41559-020-1123-8
  • Weise H, Auge H, Baessler C, Bärlund I, Bennett EM, Berger U, Bohn,F, Bonn A, Borchardt D, Brand F, Chatzinotas A, Corstanje R, Laender FD, Dietrich P, Dunker S, Durka W, Fazey I, Groeneveld J, Guilbaud CSE., Harms H, Harpole S, Harris J, Jax K, Jeltsch F, Johst K, Joshi J, Klotz S, Kühn I, Kuhlicke C, Müller B, Radchuk V, Reuter H, Rinke K, Schmitt–Jansen M, Seppelt R, Singer A, Standish RJ, Thulke HH, Tietjen B, Weitere M, Wirth C, Wolf C and Grimm V (2020) Resilience trinity: safeguarding ecosystem functioning and services across three different time horizons and decision contexts. Oikos 129 (4), 445-456. https://doi.org/10.1111/oik.07213


  • Wesener F, Tietjen B (2019) Primed to be strong, primed to be fast: modeling benefits of microbial stress responses. FEMS Microbiology Ecology 95 fiz114. https://doi.org/10.1093/femsec/fiz114
  • Wu J, Song M, Ma W, Zhang X, Shen Z, Tarolli P, Wurst S, Shi P, Ratzmann G, Feng Y, Li M, Wang X, Tietjen B (2019). Plant and soil's δ15N are regulated by climate, soil nutrients, and species diversity in alpine grasslands on the northern Tibetan Plateau. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment. 281, 111-123. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agee.2019.05.011
  • Ratzmann G, Zakharova L, Tietjen B (2019) Optimal leaf water status regulation of plants in drylands. Scientific Reports 9, 3768. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-40448-2
  • Ratzmann G, Meinzer FC, Tietjen B (2019) Iso/anisohydry: still a useful concept. Trends in Plant Science 24, 191–194. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tplants.2019.01.001
  • Li M, Wu J, Song C, He Y, Niu B, Fu G, Tarolli P, Tietjen B, Zhang X (2019). Temporal variability of precipitation and alpine grassland productivity on the northern Tibetan Plateau. Remote Sensing, 11(3), 360. https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11030360
  • Arce MI, Gilmer A, Romani A, Zoppini A, Foulquier A, Obrador B, Tietjen B, Robinson C, Mendoza-Lera C, von Schiller D, Martí E, Singer G, Weigelhofer G, Gionchetta G, Rosa G, Rulik M, Almagro M, Mutz M, Skoulikidis N, Catalan N, Shumilova O, Baldrian P, Marcé R, del Campo R, Zlatanović S, Arnon S, Bernal S, Datry T (2019). A conceptual framework for understanding the biogeochemistry of dry riverbeds through the lens of soil science. Earth-Science Reviews, 188,441-453. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.earscirev.2018.12.001
  • Wu J, Li M, Fiedler S, Ma W, Wang X, Zhang X, Tietjen B (2019). Impacts of grazing exclusion on productivity partitioning along regional plant diversity and climate gradients in Tibetan alpine grasslands. Journal of Environmental Management. 231, 635-645. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2018.10.097


  • Baldauf S, Ladrón de Guevara M, Maestre F, Tietjen B. (2018) Soil moisture dynamics under two rainfall frequency treatments drive early spring CO2 gas exchange of lichendominated biocrusts in central Spain. PeerJ, 6, e5904. https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.5904
  • Henzler J, Weise H, Enright NJ, Zander S, Tietjen B. (2018) A squeeze in the suitable fire interval: simulating the persistence of fire-killed plants in a Mediterranean-type ecosystem under drier conditions. Ecological Modelling, 389, 41–49. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2018.10.010
    Featured in a Research Brief for Resource Managers by the California Fire Science Consortium (2019)
  • Lohmann D, Guo T, Tietjen B (2018) Zooming in on coarse plant functional types—simulated response of savanna vegetation composition in response to aridity and grazing. Theoretical Ecology. 11(2), 161–173. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12080-017-0356-x
  • Guo T, Weise H, Fiedler S, Lohmann D, Tietjen B (2018). The role of landscape heterogeneity in regulating plant functional diversity under different precipitation and grazing regimes in semi-arid savannas. Ecological Modelling. 379, 1-9. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2018.04.009
  • Fiedler S, Perring M, Tietjen B (2018). Integrating trait-based empirical and modelling research to improve ecological restoration. Ecology and Evolution. 8, 6369-6380. https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.4043
  • Wilson SD, Schlaepfer DR, Bradford JB, Lauenroth WK, Duniway MC, Hall SA, Jamiyansharav K, Jia G, Lkhagva A, Munson SM, Pyke DA, Tietjen B (2018) Functional group, biomass, and climate change effects on ecological drought in semiarid grasslands. Journal of Geophysical Research - Biogeosciences.123(3), 1072–1085. https://doi.org/10.1002/2017JG004173
  • Synodinos AD, Tietjen B, Lohmann D, Jeltsch F (2018) The impact of inter-annual rainfall variability on African savannas changes with mean rainfall. Journal of Theoretical Biology,437, 92-100. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtbi.2017.10.019


  • Wu J, Feng Y, Zhang X, Wurst S, Tietjen B, Tarolli P, Song C (2017) Grazing exclusion by fencing non-linearly restored the degraded alpine grasslands on the Tibetan Plateau. Scientific Reports, 7, 15202. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-15530-2
  • Hausmann S, Tietjen B, Rillig MC (2017) Solving the puzzle of yeast survival in ephemeral nectar systems: exponential growth is not enough. FEMS Microbiology Ecology, 93,fix159, https://doi.org/10.1093/femsec/fix150
  • Bradford JB, Schlaepfer DR, Lauenroth WK, Yackulic CB, Duniway M, Hall S, Jia G Jamiyansharav K, Munson SM, Wilson SD, Tietjen B (2017) Future soil moisture and temperature extremes imply expanding suitability for rainfed agriculture in temperate drylands. Scientific Reports, 7, 12923. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-13165-x
  • Fer I, Tietjen B, Jeltsch F, Wolff C (2017) The influence of El Niño–Southern Oscillation regimes on eastern African vegetation and its future implications under the RCP8.5 warming scenario. Biogeosciences, 14, 4355–4374. https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-14-4355-2017
  • Tietjen B, Schlaepfer DR, Bradford JB, Lauenroth WK, Hall SA, Duniway MC, Hochstrasser T, Gensuo J, Munson SM, Pyke DA, Wilson SD (2017) Climate change-induced vegetation shifts lead to more ecological droughts despite projected rainfall increases in many global temperate drylands. Global Change Biology 23,2743-2754. https://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.13598
  • Schlaepfer DR, Bradford JB,  Lauenroth WK, Munson SM, Tietjen B, Hall SA, Wilson SD, Duniway MC, Gensuo J, Pyke DA, Lkhagva A, Jamiyansharav K (2017) Climate change reduces extent of temperate drylands and intensifies drought in deep soils. Nature Communications8, 14196, https://doi.org/10.1038/ncomms14196


  • Ratzmann G, Gangkofner U, Tietjen B, Fensholt R (2016) Dryland vegetation functional response to altered rainfall amounts and variability derived from satellite time series data. Remote Sensing8, 1026, https://doi.org/10.3390/rs8121026
  • Langerwisch F, Walz A, Rammig A, Tietjen B, Thonicke K, Cramer W (2016) Deforestation in Amazonia impacts riverine carbon dynamics. Earth Syst. Dynam., 7, 953–968. https://doi.org/doi:10.5194/esd-7-953-2016
  • Fer I, Tietjen B, Jeltsch F, Trauth MH (2016) Modelling vegetation change during Late Cenozoic uplift of the East African plateaus. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.palaeo.2016.04.007.
  • Webster EM, Qian H, Mackay D, Christensen RD, Tietjen B, Zaleski R (2016) Modeling human exposure to indoor contaminants: external source to body tissues. Environmental Science & Technology, 10.1021/acs.est.6b00895 https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.6b00895
  • Langerwisch F, Walz A, Rammig A, Tietjen B, Thonicke K, Cramer W (2016) Climate change increases riverine carbon outgassing while export to the ocean remains uncertain. Earth Syst. Dynam. 7, 559-582, https://doi.org/10.5194/esd-7-559-2016
  • Fer I, Tietjen B, Jeltsch F (2016) High-resolutionmodelling closes the gap between data and model simulations for Mid-Holocene and present-day biomes of East Africa. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 444, 144-151, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.palaeo.2015.12.001
  • Tietjen B (2016) Same rainfall amount different vegetation – How environmental conditions and their interactions influence savanna dynamics. Ecological Modelling 326, 13-22, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2015.06.013
  • Guo T, Lohmann D, Ratzmann G, Tietjen B (2016) Response of semi-arid savanna vegetation composition towards grazing under climate change - the effect of including plant heterogeneity into an ecohydrological savanna model. Ecological Modelling 325, 47-56, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2016.01.004

2014 / 2015

  • Karp DS, Tallis H, Sachse R, Halpern B, Thonicke K, Cramer W, Mooney H, Polasky S, Tietjen B, Waha K, Walz A, Wolny S (2015) National Indicators for Observing Ecosystem Service Change. Global Environmental Change 35, 12-21
  • Synodinos A, Tietjen B, Jeltsch F (2015) Facilitation in drylands: modeling a neglected driver of savanna dynamics. Ecological Modelling 304, 11-21
  • Rillig M, Rolff J, Tietjen B, Wehner J, Andrade-Linares D (2015) Community priming--effects of sequential stressors on microbial assemblages. FEMS Microbiology Ecology 91 (5): fiv040 doi: 10.1093/femsec/fiv040
  • Mueller EN, van Schaik L, Blume T, Bronstert A, Carus J, Fleckenstein J, Fohrer N, Geißler K, Gerke HH, Graeff T, Hesse C, Hildebrandt A, Hölker H, Hunke P, Körner K, Lewandowski J, Lohmann D, Meinikmann K, Schibalski A, Schmalz B, Schröder B, Tietjen B (2014) Skalen, Schwerpunkte, Rückkopplungen und Herausforderungen der ökohydrologischen Forschung in Deutschland. Hydrologie und Wasserbewirtschaftung 4, 221-240
  • Lohmann D, Tietjen B, Blaum N, Joubert D, Jeltsch F. (2014) Prescribed fires as a tool for sustainable management of semi-arid savanna rangelands. Journal of Arid Environments 107, 49-56

2012 / 2013

  • Tallis H, Mooney H, Andelman S, Balvanera P, Cramer W, Karp D, Polasky S, Reyers B, Ricketts T, Running S, Thonicke K, Tietjen B, and Walz A (2012) A Global System for Monitoring Ecosystem Service Change. BioScience 62 (11), 977-986
  • Lohmann, D., Tietjen, B., Blaum, N., Joubert, D., Jeltsch, F. (2012). Shifting thresholds and changing degradation patterns: Climate change effects on the simulated long-term response of a semi-arid savanna to grazing. Journal of Applied Ecology 49, 814-823

2011 and earlier

  • Esther, A., Groeneveld, J., Enright, N.J., Miller, B.P., Lamont, B.B., Perry, G.L.W., Tietjen, B., Jeltsch, F. (2011). Low-dimensional trade-offs fail to explain richness and structure in species-rich plant communities. Theoretical Ecology 4, 495-511
  • Schiffers, K., Tielbörger, K., Tietjen, B., Jeltsch, F. (2011). Root plasticity buffers competition among plants - theory meets experimental data. Ecology 92, 610-620
  • Rammig A, Jupp TE, Thonicke K, Tietjen B, Heinke J, Ostberg S, Lucht W, Cramer W, Cox P (2010). Estimating the risk of Amazonian forest dieback. New Phytologist. 187, 694-706.
  • Tietjen B, Jeltsch F, Zehe E, Classen N, Groengroeft A, Schiffers K, Oldeland J (2010). Effects of climate change on the coupled dynamics of water and vegetation in drylands. Ecohydrology. 3, 226-237 doi: 10.1002/eco.70
  • Tietjen B, Zehe E, Jeltsch F (2009). Simulating plant water availability in dry lands under climate change - a generic model of two soil layers. Water Resources Research. 45, W01418
  • Blaum N, Tietjen B & Rossmanith, E (2009). The Impact of Livestock Husbandry on Small and Medium Sized Carnivores in Kalahari Savannah Rangelands. Journal of Wildlife Management. 73, 60-67
  • Tietjen B, Jeltsch F (2007) Semi-arid grazing systems and climate change - a survey of present modelling potential and future needs. Journal of Applied Ecology. 44, 425-434
  • Huth A, Tietjen B (2007). Management strategies for tropical rain forests: results of ecological models and requirements for ecological-economic modelling. Ecological Economics. 62, 207-215
  • Tietjen B, Huth A (2006). Modelling dynamics of managed tropical rainforests - an aggregated approach. Ecological Modelling, 199, 421-432

Book Chapters (Peer reviewed)

  • Turnbull L, Hochstrasser T, Wieczorek M, Baas A, Wainwright J, Scarsoglio S, Mueller EN, Tietjen B, Jeltsch F (2013) Approaches to modelling ecogeomorphic systems. in: Mueller EN, Wainwright J, Parsons AJ, Turnbull L (Eds.) Patterns of land degradation in drylands. Understanding self-organised ecogeomorphic systems. Springer Utrecht, 270 p.
  • Jeltsch F, Tietjen B, Blaum N, Rossmanith E (2010) Population and ecosystem modeling of land use and climate change impacts on savanna dynamics. eds: Hill M.J. and Hanan N.P. Ecosystem Function in Savannas: Measurement and Modeling at Landscape to Global Scales. CRC Press.

Other Book Chapters

  • Jeltsch F, Blaum N, Lohmann D, Meyfarth S, Rossmanith E, Schütze S, Tews J, Tietjen B, Wichmann M, Wieczorek M (2010): Modelling vegetation change in arid and semi-arid savannas. eds: Schmiedel, U., Jürgens, N. Biodiversity in southern Africa. Volume 2: Patterns and processes at regional scale: pp. 274-282, Klaus Hess Publishers, Göttingen & Windhoek.
  • Jeltsch F, Blaum N, Classen N, Eschenbach A, Grohmann C, Gröngröft A, Joubert DF, Horn A, Lohmann D, Linsenmair KE, Lück-Vogel M, Medinski TV, Meyfarth S, Mills A, Petersen A, Popp A, Poschlod P, Reisch C, Rossmanith E, Rubilar H, Schütze S, Seymour C, Simmons R, Smit GN, Strohbach M, Tews J, Tietjen B, Wesuls D, Wichmann M, Wieczorek M, Zimmermann I (2010): Impacts of landuse and climate change on the dynamics and biodiversity in the Thornbush Savanna Biome. - In: Hoffman, M. T., Schmiedel, U., Jürgens, N. [Eds.]: Biodiversity in southern Africa. Volume 3: Implications for landuse and management: pp. 33-74, Klaus Hess Publishers, Göttingen & Windhoek.

Selected Reports

  • Tietjen B, Cramer W, Böttcher H, Obersteiner M, Hunt A, Watkiss P (2011) Impacts of climate change on ecosystems and forests. Global Report Analysis. Climate Cost.
  • Tietjen B, Cramer W, Böttcher H, Obersteiner M, Hunt A, Watkiss P (2010) Impacts of climate change on ecosystems and forests. Report Analysis for Europe. Climate Cost.
  • Tietjen B, Cramer W, Böttcher H, Obersteiner M, Hunt A, Watkiss P (2009) Impacts of climate change on ecosystems and forests. Literature Report. ClimateCost.
  • Tietjen B (2009) Modellierung nachhaltiger Beweidungsstrategien in mediterranen, semiariden und ariden Systemen unter dem Einfluss klimatischer Veränderungen. Stipendienbericht Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung.


  • Tietjen B (2009) Drylands under climate change - a novel ecohydrological modelling approach. PhD thesis
  • Tietjen B (2005) Aggregated modelling of disturbed and undisturbed rainforest dynamics. Diploma thesis
  • Mackay D, Cahill T, Webster E, Massey P, Tietjen B (CCPA/CNTC/ICCA-LRI Workshop, Mississauga, October 1, 2002) Evaluation of the fate of chemical substances, including phthalate esters, using a general physiologically-based pharmacokinetic model.

A list of publications of the group can be found here.