Prof. Dr. Susanne Wurst


FB Biologie, Chemie, Pharmazie

Institut für Biologie

Freie Universität Berlin

Königin-Luise-Str. 1 - 3
14195 Berlin


2015- Group leader of the WG „Functional Biodiversity“
2009-2015 Junior Professor (W1) for „Functional Biodiversity“ at Freie Universität Berlin
2008 Scientist in "Plant Ecology" at Freie Universität Berlin
2004-2007 Experienced Researcher in the Marie Curie Research and Training Network BIORHIZ at the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW),The Netherlands
05/2004 Dr. rer. nat., Technische Universität Darmstadt
2001-2004 PhD, Technische Universität Darmstadt
01/2001 Diploma in Biology, Georg-August Universität Göttingen
2000 Research stay at the Centre for Population Biology (CPB), Imperial College at Silwood Park, UK
1996-1997 Integrated Exchange Studies (DAAD) at the Universidad Nacional, Costa Rica
1994-2001 Study of Biology at Georg-August Universität Göttingen


Projects with external funding:

  • ROOTHERB II: Resilience of grassland plant communities as influenced by root herbivores under different land use intensities im Bereich Infrastruktur – Biodiversitäts-Exploratorien (DFG-Sachbeihilfe: 2014-2017)

    PI: Prof. Dr. F. Jeltsch, Prof. Dr. S. Wurst; Mitarbeiter: Dr. I. Sonnemann, N.N.

  • Contribution of AMF to Zn biofortification in wheat (DCPS funding for interdisciplinary research projects: 2014)

    PI: Prof. Dr. S. Wurst, Dr. Rainer Bode; Mitarbeiter: Marco Cosme

  • Indirect interaction webs: biodiversity and biotic interactions in an above-belowground context (DFG-Kooperations-Beihilfe: 2013-2014)

    PI: Prof. Dr. S.Wurst, Prof. Dr. T. Ohgushi

  • Basal levels of JA-Ile in a collection of Arabidopsis ecotypes: Mechanisms of regulation and their impact on plant/insect fitness (DCPS: 2013)

    PI: Dr. M Herde, Prof. Dr. A. Steppuhn, Prof. Dr. S.Wurst

  • SFB 973 Priming and Memory of Organismic Responses to Stress, Teilprojekt B3: Priming of plant defence by below- and aboveground herbivores (DFG: 2012-2016)

    PI: Prof. Dr. S. Wurst; Mitarbeiter: Dr. C. Schöning, D. Kafle, M. Fünning

  • Genetic diversity in grassland ecosystems: local adaptation and ecosystem functions (DCPS: 2012)

    PI: Prof. J. Petermann, Prof. Dr. S Wurst, Dr. L. Muller; Mitarbeiter: Xiaohui Guo

  • Impact of induction of a conspecific neighbour plant on root growth and belowground defence of barley (DCPS: 2012)    PI: Prof. Dr. S Wurst, Prof. Dr. M . Hilker;  Mitarbeiter: Sven Kleier

  • ROOTHERB: Land use intensity and insect root herbivores: from spatial pattern to plant community feedback in the area "Infrastruktur – Biodiversitäts-Exploratorien" (DFG-Sachbeihilfe: 2011-2014

    PI: Prof. Dr. F. Jeltsch, Prof. Dr. S. Wurst; Mitarbeiter: Dr. I. Sonnemann, H. Pfestorf

  • Ecogenomic analysis of interacting biotic and abiotic stress responses in Solanum dulcamara (DFG-Kooperations-Beihilfe: 2011-2012)

    PI: Prof. Dr. A. Steppuhn, Prof. Dr. S.Wurst, Prof. Dr. N. van Dam

  • INTERACT: Land use effects on insect root herbivores and their interactions with arbuscular mycorrhiza in the area "Infrastruktur – Biodiversitäts-Exploratorien" (DFG-Sachbeihilfe: 2009-2011)

    PI: Prof. Dr. S. Wurst; Mitarbeiter: Dr. I. Sonnemann

  • Subprojects in the joint project "Structure and function of plant roots" and “The invisible half: Relevance of root intrinsic and extrinsic factors for aboveground parameters” (DCPS: 2009 -2011)

    PI: Prof. Dr. S. Wurst; Mitarbeiter: Marco Cosme, Annette Berndt

  • Subproject in the joint project “Priming of organismic responses to external and internal signals” (DCPS: 2009)

    PI: Prof. Dr. S. Wurst; Mitarbeiter: Annette Berndt, Conrad Schittko

  • Joint Project „Priming in plants by pathogens, herbivores and symbionts“in the Focus Area “Information und Kommunikation in Biologischen Systemen“(FU: 2009-2010)

    PI: Prof. Dr. T. Romeis, Prof. Dr. S. Steppuhn, Prof. Dr. S. Wurst; Mitarbeiter: Nora Opitz


Publications (peer-reviewed):

Kafle D, Hänel A, Lortzing T, Steppuhn A, Wurst S (in press) Sequential above- and belowground herbivory modifies plant responses depending on herbivore identity. BMC Ecology

Birkhofer K, Gossner MM, Diekötter T, Drees C, Ferlian O, Maraun M, Scheu S, Weisser WW, Wolters V, Wurst S, Zaitsev AS, Smith HG (in press) Land-use type and intensity differentially filter traits in above- and belowground arthropod communities. Journal of Animal Ecology

Simons NK, Lewinsohn T, Blüthgen N, Buscot F, Boch S, Daniel R, Gossner MM, Jung K, Kaiser K, Müller J, Prati D, Rennerk SC, Socher SA, Sonnemannn I, Weiner CN, Werner M, Wubet T, Wurst S, Weisser WW (2017) Contrasting effects of grassland management modes on species-abundance distributions of multiple groups. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 237: 143-153

Yu C, Zhang X, Zhang J,  Li S, Song C, Fang Y, Wurst S, Wu J (2016) Grazing Exclusion to Recover Degraded Alpine Pastures Needs Scientific Assessments across the Northern Tibetan Plateau. Sustainability 8:1162. DOI:10.3390/su8111162

Gossner MM, Lewinsohn T, Kahl T, Grassein F, Boch S, Prati D, Birkhofer K, Renner SC, Sikorski J, Wubet T, Arndt H, Baumgartner V, Blaser S, Blüthgen N, Börschig C, Buscot F, Diekötter T, Ré Jorge L, Jung K, Keyel AC, Klein A-M, Klemmer S, Krauss J, Lange M, Müller J, Overmann J, Pašalić E, Penone C, Perović DJ, Purschke O, Schall P, Socher SA, Sonnemann I, Tschapka M, Tscharntke T, Türke M, Venter PC, Weiner CN, Werner M, Wolters V, Wurst S, Westphal C, Fischer M, Weisser WW, Allan E (2016). Land-use intensification causes multitrophic homogenisation of grassland communities. Nature, doi:10.1038/nature20575

Wu JS, Wurst S, Zhang X (2016). Plant functional trait diversity regulates the nonlinear response of productivity to regional climate change in Tibetan alpine grasslands. Scientific Reports 6:35649, DOI: 10.1038/srep35649

Soliveres S, van der Plas F, Manning P, Prati D, Gossner MM, Renner SC, Alt F, Arndt H, Baumgartner V, Binkenstein J, Birkhofer K, Blaser S, Blüthgen N, Boch S, Böhm S, Börschig C, Buscot F, Diekötter T, Heinze J, Hölzel N, Jung K, Klaus VH, Kleinebecker T, Klemmer S, Krauss J, Lange M, Morris EK, Müller J, Oelmann Y, Overmann J, Pašalić E, Rillig MC, Schaefer HM, Schloter M, Schmitt B, Schöning I, Schrumpf M, Sikorski J, Socher SA, Solly EF, Sonnemann I, Sorkau E, Steckel J, Steffan-Dewenter I, Stempfhuber B, Tschapka M, Türke M, Venter PC, Weiner CN, Weisser WW, Werner M, Westphal C, Wilcke W, Wolters V, Wubet T, Wurst S, Fischer M, Allan E (2016). Biodiversity at multiple trophic levels is needed for ecosystem multifunctionality. Nature, doi:10.1038/nature19092

Schittko C, Runge C, Strupp M, Wolff S, Wurst S (2016). No evidence that plant-soil feedback effects of native and invasive plant species under greenhouse conditions are reflected in the field. Journal of Ecology 104:1243-1249

Cosme M, Ramireddy E, Franken P, Schmülling T, Wurst S (2016). Shoot- and root-borne cytokinin influences arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis. Mycorrhiza, DOI 10.1007/s00572-016-0706-3

Cosme M, Lu J, Erb M, Stout M, Franken P, Wurst S (2016) A fungal endophyte helps plants to tolerate root herbivory through changes in gibberellin and jasmonate signaling. New Phytologist 211:1065-1076

Soliveres S, Manning P, Prati D, Gossner M M, Alt F, Arndt H, Baumgartner V, Binkenstein J, Birkhofer K, Blaser S, Blüthgen N, Boch S, Böhm S, Börschig C, Buscot F, Diekötter T, Heinze J, Hölzel N, Jung K, Klaus V H, Klein A-M, Kleinebecker T, Klemmer S, Krauss J,  Lange M, Morris E K, Müller J, Oelmann Y, Overmann J, Pasalic E, Renner S C, Rillig M C, Schaefer H M, Schloter M, Schmitt B, Schöning I, Schrumpf M, Sikorski J, Socher S A, Solly E F, Sonnemann I, Sorkau E, Steckel J, Steffen-Dewenter I, Stempfhuber B, Tschapka M, Türke M, Venter P,  Weiner C N, Weisser W W, Werner M, Westphal C, Wilcke W, Wolters V, Wubet T, Wurst S, Fischer M, Allan E (2016) Locally rare species influence grassland ecosystem multifunctionality. Philosophical Transactions B 371: 20150269

Guo X, Petermann JS, Schittko C, and Wurst S (2016). Root-knot nematodes (Meloidogyne hapla) can modify the positive plant intraspecific diversity-productivity effect on red clover in clover-grass communities. Applied Soil Ecology. 102: 26-35

Sonnemann I, Buchholz Y, Rautenberg D, Wurst S (2016). Land use intensity modulates the impact of root herbivores on plant interactions with above- and belowground organisms. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 219: 26-31

Schöning C, Wurst S (2016). Positive effects of root-knot nematodes (Meloidogyne incognita) on nitrogen availability do not outweigh their negative effects on fitness in Nicotiana attenuata. Plant and Soil 400: 381-390

Pfestorf H, Koerner K, Sonnemann I, Wurst S, Jeltsch F (2016). Coupling experimental data with individual based modelling reveals differential effects of root herbivory on grassland plant coexistence along a resource gradient. Journal of Vegetation Science 27: 269–282

Hilker M, Schwachtje J, Baier M, Balazadeh S, Bäurle I, Geiselhardt S, Hincha DH, Kunze R, Mueller-Roeber B, Rillig MC, Rolff J, Romeis T, Schmülling T, Steppuhn A, van Dongen J, Whitcomb SJ, Wurst S, Zuther E, Kopka J (2015). Priming and memory of stress responses in organisms lacking a nervous system. Biological Reviews,

Sonnemann I, Pfestorf H, Jeltsch F, Wurst S (2015). Community-weighted mean plant traits predict small scale distribution of insect root herbivore abundance. PLoS ONE 10(10): e0141148

Guo X, Petermann JS, Schittko C, Wurst S (2015). Independent role of belowground organisms and plant cultivar diversity in legume-grass communities. Applied Soil Ecology 95: 1-8

Wurst S, Ohgushi T (2015). Do plant- and soil-mediated legacy effects impact future biotic interactions? Functional Ecology 29: 1373-1382

Wurst S, Kaiser N, Nitzsche S, Haase J, Auge H, Rillig MC, Powell JR (2015). Tree diversity modifies distance-dependent effects on seedling emergence but not plant-soil feedbacks of temperate trees. Ecology 96(6): 1529-1539

Kafle D, Krämer A, Naumann A, Wurst S (2014). Genetic variation of the host plant species matters for interactions with above- and belowground herbivores. Insects 5(3): 651-667

Morris EK, Caruso T, Buscot F, Fischer M, Hancock C, Maier TS, Meiners T, Müller C, Obermaier E, Prati D, Socher SA, Sonnemann I, Wäschke N, Wubet T, Wurst S, Rillig MC (2014). Choosing and using diversity indices: insights for ecological applications from the German Biodiversity Exploratories. Ecology & Evolution 4(18): 3514-3524

Schittko C, Hawa M, Wurst S (2014). Using a multi-trait approach to manipulate plant functional diversity in a biodiversity-ecosystem function experiment. PLoS ONE 9(6): e99065

Cosme M, Franken P, Mewis I, Baldermann S, Wurst S (2014). Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi affect glucosinolate and mineral element composition in leaves of Moringa oleiferaMycorrhiza 24(7): 565-570

Schittko C, Wurst S (2014). Above- and belowground effects of plant-soil feedback from exotic Solidago canadensis on native Tanacetum vulgare. Biological Invasions 16: 1465-1479

Sonnemann I, Grunz S, Müller L, Wurst S (2014). Horizontal migration of click beetle larvae (wireworms; Agriotes spp.) depends on food availability. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 150: 174-178

Salem M, Kohler J, Wurst S, Rillig MC (2013). Earthworms can modify effects of hydrochar on growth of Plantago lanceolata and performance of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. Pedobiologia 56: 219-224

Wurst S (2013). Plant-mediated links between detritivores and aboveground herbivores. Frontiers in Plant Science 4: 380. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2013.00380

Beck M-E, Wurst S (2013). Soil biota of different size classes change the impact of soil compaction on a plant community. Applied Vegetation Science 16: 650-657

Sonnemann I, Hempel S, Beutel M, Hanauer N, Reidinger S, Wurst S (2013) The root herbivore history of the soil affects the productivity of a grassland plant community and determines plant response to new root herbivore attack. PLOS ONE 8(2): e56524

Cosme M, Wurst S (2013) Interactions between arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, rhizobacteria, soil phosphorus and plant cytokinin deficiency change the root morphology, yield and quality of tobacco. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 57: 436-443

Sonnemann I, Baumhaker H, Wurst S (2012) Species specific responses of common grassland plants to a generalist root herbivore (Agriotes spp. larvae). Basic and Applied Ecology 13: 579-586

Mammitzsch L, Teply A, Wurst S (2012) Effects of earthworms and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi depend on the successional stage of a grassland plant community. Plant Ecology 213: 675-683

Cosme M, Stout MJ, Wurst S (2011). Effect of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (Glomus intraradices) on the oviposition of rice water weevil (Lissorhoptrus oryzophilus). Mycorrhiza 21: 651-658

Wurst S, Gebhardt K, Rillig MC (2011). Independent effects of arbuscular mycorrhiza and earthworms on plant diversity and newcomer plant establishment. Journal of Vegetation Science 22: 1021-1030 Editors´Award 2011

Wurst S, Rillig MC (2011). Additive effects of functionally dissimilar above- and belowground organisms on a grassland plant community. Journal of Plant Ecology 4: 221-227

Ladygina N, Henry F, Kant MR, Koller R, Reidinger S, Rodriguez A, Saj S, Sonnemann I, Witt C, Wurst S (2010). Additive and interactive effects of functionally dissimilar soil organisms on a grassland plant community. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 42: 2266-2275

Wurst S, Forstreuter M (2010). Colonisation of Tanacetum vulgare by aphids is reduced by earthworms. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 137: 86-92

Wurst S (2010). Effects of earthworms on above- and belowground herbivores. Applied Soil Ecology 45: 123-30

Wurst S, Vender V, Rillig MC (2010). Testing for allelopathic effects in plant competition: does activated carbon disrupt plant symbioses? Plant Ecology 211: 19-26

Wurst S, Wagenaar R, Biere A, van der Putten WH (2010). Microorganisms and nematodes increase levels of secondary compounds in roots and root exudates of Plantago lanceolata. Plant and Soil 329: 117-126

Wurst S, van Beersum S, Wagenaar R, Bakx-Schotman T, Drigo B, Janzik I, Lanoue A, van der Putten WH (2009). Plant defence against nematodes is not mediated by changes in the soil microbial community. Functional Ecology 23: 488-495

Wurst S, van Beersum S (2009). The impact of soil organism composition and activated carbon on grass-legume competition. Plant and Soil 314: 1-9

Wurst S, van Dam NM, Monroy F, Biere A, van der Putten WH (2008). Intraspecific variation in plant defence alters effects of root herbivores on leaf chemistry and aboveground herbivore damage. Journal of Chemical Ecology 34: 1360-1367

Wurst S, Allema B, Duyts H, van der Putten WH (2008). Earthworms counterbalance the negative effect of microorganisms on plant diversity and enhance the tolerance of grasses to nematodes. Oikos 117: 711-718

Wurst S, van der Putten WH (2007). Root herbivore identity matters in plant-mediated interactions between root and shoot herbivores. Basic and Applied Ecology 8: 491-499

Wurst S, Langel R, Rodger S, Scheu S (2006). Effects of belowground biota on primary and secondary metabolites in Brassica oleracea. Chemoecology 16: 69-73

Wurst S, Langel R, Scheu S (2005). Do endogeic earthworms change plant competition? A microcosm study. Plant and Soil 271: 123-130

Wurst S, Dugassa-Gobena D, Langel R, Bonkowski M, Scheu S (2004). Combined effects of earthworms and vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhiza on plant and aphid performance. New Phytologist 163: 169-176

Wurst S, Dugassa-Gobena D, Scheu S (2004). Earthworms and litter distribution affect plant defensive chemistry. Journal of Chemical Ecology 30: 691-701

Wurst S, Langel R, Reineking A, Bonkowski M, Scheu S (2003). Effects of earthworms and organic litter distribution on plant performance and aphid reproduction. Oecologia 137: 90-96

Wurst S, Jones TH (2003). Indirect effects of earthworms (Aporrectodea caliginosa) on an above-ground tritrophic interaction. Pedobiologia 47: 91-97


Book chapter:

Wurst S, De Deyn GB, Owen K (2012). Soil biodiversity and functions. In: Soil Ecology and Ecosystem Services (Editor in Chief: Diana Wall). Oxford University Press, UK.


PhD thesis: