Institute of Ecology

The Institute of Ecology is the biological and natural science department of Leuphana University of Lüneburg. Research focuses on the effects of global changes such as climate change and land use change on organisms and communities biodiversity loss as well as on biological and chemical processes. In cooperation with the human sciences, socio-economic factors of ecosystem research are considered.


Ecology, esp. Animal Ecology,
Prof. Dr. Thorsten Assmann

Vegetation Ecology and Biodiversity Conservation,
Prof. Dr. Sylvia Haider

Ecosystem Functioning and Services,
Prof. Dr. Vicky Temperton

Visiting scientists and honorary professorships

Prof. Dr. Werner Härdtle

Prof. Dr. Brigitte Urban

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Hartmut Wittenberg

Hon.-Prof. Dr. Thomas Kaiser

Hon.-Prof. Dr. Johannes Prüter

Prof. Dr. Jacqueline Loos


Research foci at the Institute of Ecology are the effects of global change such as climate change and land use change on organisms and their communities and on biological functional and chemical processes. The focus is on the causes and effects of declining animal and plant populations as well as current biodiversity loss and the associated changes in abiotic and biotic ecosystem functions. In collaboration with human science research groups at Leuphana University, socio-economic factors of ecosystem research are also jointly considered.

Experimental research takes place both in laboratories, in greenhouses and in open spaces at Leuphana University. Further, many investigations take place in cultivated landscapes and in urban areas. The field studies are carried out in various countries of the temperate and Mediterranean latitudes and the tropics and sub-tropics, but also regionally, e.g. in Lüneburg and the Lüneburg Heath. Research cooperations exist with many different national and international universities and non-university institutions such as local nature conservation organizations and schools. Particularly noteworthy are the cooperations with the Alfred Töpfer Academy for Nature Conservation and the biosphere reserve administration Niedersächsische Elbtalaue.

More details about current and completed projects can be found in the research database and in the team sections and on the Institute's blog:


The courses range from basic and advanced courses in various sub-fields of ecology and biology, including the performance of experiments in laboratory practicals and in the field, to interdisciplinary courses in the Bachelor's and Master's programs.

In interdisciplinary courses, contents from the fields of landscape ecology, botany, soil ecology, zoology, genetics and nature conservation are linked together, as well as courses that combine different disciplines of the natural sciences with those of the human sciences.
The courses at the Institute are held partly in German and partly in English. On the subpages you will find a selection of current courses.

Our courses are aimed at students of the Leuphana Bachelor, B.Sc. Environmental Sciences, B.Sc. Global Environmental and Sustainability Sciences, M.Sc. Sustainability Sciences as well as the B.Ed. Teaching and Lerning and M.Ed. Teacher Training (Primary and Secondary School) and PhD students.

Doctoral studies

After completion of the Master's program, students have the opportunity to obtain a doctorate with the title "Dr. rer. nat.

In the Institute of Ecology, doctoral degrees can be obtained on current issues in the fields of biodiversity, renaturation, ecosystem research, ecosystem services, land use, population ecology and animal ecology, among others.