Tobias Proß


My research project


Biodiversity is presumed to be the foundation of many ecosystem functions and services – and therefore after all also for human well-being. This applies also for forests – ecosystems of worldwide ecological and economical relevance. Especially for woody species, the characteristics of functional leaf traits is relevant. Concerning leaf traits, not only the average of a community is relevant. Moreover it is the variance between species, within species and perhaps even within individuals that is relevant.

Aim of this project is to investigate how within-species and within-individual variation of leaf traits differs between different tree species and how this translates in the different growth performances. Special attention lays here on the effect of the local neighborhood. Species-rich environments represent a heterogenous environment which generates different microhabitats and microclimates which can lead to a higher diversification of leaf traits. This effect could already be visible at a very small scale – thus the scale of a single tree pair. This would mean that the positive diversity effects that are visible at the community scale would be caused by mechanisms at the scale of single individuals. This would be relevant especially for forests because here short-term adjustments to changing environmental conditions can only be realized by adaption of single organs and not by a shift in the species composition.

Short CV


Since May 2017PhD Student at Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg
May 2012 – Jun. 2016

Studies in Biology (Master) at Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg

Master thesis: “Application of the field spectroscopy as a method of fast and differentiated analysis of Chinese woody species leaf traits“

Oct. 2008 – Jun. 2012

Studies in Biology (Bachelor) at Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg

Bachelor thesis: “Application of the near-infrared spectroscopy as a method of fast and non-destructive prediction of the phenol and tannin content of Chinese woody species“

Oct. 2005 – Oct. 2008Studies in Biosystems technology at Otto-von-Guericke-University Magdeburg




T. Proß, H. Bruelheide, C. Potvin, M. Sporbert, S. Trogisch, S. Haider

(2021): Drivers of within-tree leaf trait variation in a tropical planted forest varying in tree species richness. Basic and Applied Ecology
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Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

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