Dr Björn Rall


Research Interests


I am an community ecologist that focuses on the feeding interactions between different species, how they scale with body mass, temperature and habitat structure, and how changes of temperature and in habitat structure affect the stability, biodiversity and ecosystem functioning of complex multitrophic interactions.

To estimate the dependencies of species interactions on body mass, temperature and habitat structure I chose the functional response frameworks and estimated functional response parameters of ground dwelling terrestrial arthropods in lab experiments. Moreover, to complete the picture and generalize the results I'm also performed meta-analyses on functional responses across different ecosystems.

The results of these studies and meta-analyses of metabolic rates, growth rates and carrying capacities have been used to parametrize classical predator prey (sensu Rosenzweig-MacArthur) to estimate the impact on population dynamics (stability) and complex dynamic food webs models (biodiversity and ecosystem functioning).

To test if model predictions hold, I am cooperating in microcosm experiments investigating how population stability changes with warming. Moreover, I am cooperating with Eoin O'Gorman who is investigating how temperature shapes natural communities in naturally warmed streams at Hengill, Iceland.

More recently, I begun to develop new methods of estimating growth and functional response parameters using a combination of simulated ODEs and Maximum Likelihood methods (Using R). This techniques allow to estimate the shape of the functional response more precisely and to incorporate other possible biasses like prey growth.

Moreover, I'm interested extending the warming research to the spatial dimension by using dynamic meta-ecosystem models.

Short CV


Since 2015

Postdoc in the Theory in Biodiversity Group, German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Resarch (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig and Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena


Postdoc at the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW) in Wageningen

2010 - 2014

Lecturer in the Systemic Conservation Biology Group, J.F. Blumenbach Institute of Zoology and Anthropology at the Georg-August-University Göttingen

2006 - 2010

PhD-Thesis in the Emmy-Noether Group “Complex Ecological Networks” at the Technische Universität Darmstadt

1999 - 2006

Study of Biology at the Technische Universität Darmstadt

Selected Publications


For an up-to-date list of publications, see my ResearcherID and Google Scholar profiles.

Fussmann, K.E., Schwarzmüller, F., Brose, U., Jousset, A. & Rall, B.C. (2014): Ecological stability responses to warming. Nature Climate Change 4: 206-210; doi: 10.1038/nclimate2134.

article online

Kalinkat, G., Schneider, F.D., Digel, C., Guill, C., Rall, B.C. & Brose, U. (2013): Body masses, functional responses and predator-prey stability. Ecology Letters 16: 1126–1134; doi: 10.1111/ele.12147.

article online

O’Gorman, E.J., Pichler, D.E., Adams, G., Benstead, J.P., Craig, N. Cross, W.F., Demars, B.O.L., Friberg, N., Gíslason, G.M., Gudmundsdóttir, R., Hawczak, A., Hood, J.M., Hudson,L.N., Johansson, L., Johansson, M., Junker, J.R., Laurila, A., Manson, J.R., Mavromati, E., Nelson, D., Ólafsson, J.S., Perkins, D.M., Petchey, O.L., Plebani, M., Reuman, D.C., Rall, B.C., Stewart, R., Thompson, M. & Woodward, G. (2012): Impacts of warming on the structure and function of aquatic communities: individual- to ecosystem-level responses. Advances in Ecological Research 47: 81-176, doi:10.1016/B978-0-12-398315-2.00002-8

article online

Binzer, A., Guill, C., Brose, U. & Rall, B.C. (2012): The dynamics of food chains under climate change and nutrient enrichment. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 367:2935-2944, doi:10.1098/rstb.2012.0230

article online

Rall, B.C., Brose, U., Hartvig, M., Kalinkat, G., Schwarzmüller, F., Vucic-Pestic, O. & Petchey, O.L. (2012): Universal temperature and body-mass scaling of feeding rates. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 367: 2923-2934, doi:10.1098/rstb.2012.0242

article online

Ehnes, R.B., Rall, B.C., Brose, U. (2011): Phylogenetic grouping, curvature and metabolic scaling in terrestrial invertebrates. Ecology Letters 14: 993-1000, doi: 10.1111/j.1461-0248.2011.01660.x

article online

Vucic-Pestic, O., Ehnes, R., Rall, B.C., & Brose, U. (2011): Warming up the system: higher predator feeding rates, but lower energetic efficiencies. Global Change Biology 17: 1301-1310.

article online

Rall, B.C., Vucic-Pestic, O., Ehnes, R.E., Emmerson, M. & Brose, U. (2010): Temperature, predator-prey interaction strength and population stability. Global Change Biology 16: 2145-2157.

article online

This paper was evaluated at the "faculty of 1000"....

Rall, B.C., Guill, C. & Brose, U. (2008): Food-web connectance and predator interference dampen the paradox of enrichment. Oikos 117: 202-213.

article online

Otto, S., Rall, B.C., & Brose, U. (2007): Allometric degree distributions facilitate food web stability. Nature 450: 1226-1229; doi: 10.1038/nature06359.

article online

iDiv publications


Archer, L. C., E. H. Sohlström, B. Gallo, M. Jochum, G. Woodward, R. L. Kordas, B. C. Rall, E. J. O'Gorman

Consistent temperature dependence of functional response parameters and their use in predicting population abundanceJournal of Animal Ecology(in press),

Brose, U., P. Archambault, A. D. Barnes, L.-F. Bersier, T. Boy, ..., C. Digel, A. Dissanayake, A. A. V. Flores, K. Fussmann, B. Gauzens, C. Gray, J. Häussler, M. R. Hirt, U. Jacob, ..., E. Latz, K. Layer-Dobra, P. Legagneux, Y. Li, ..., B. C. Rall, B. Rosenbaum, R. Ryser, A. Silva, E. H. Sohlström, ..., S. Wang, J. M. Wefer, ..., A. C. Iles

Predator traits determine food-web architecture across ecosystemsNature ecology & evolution3(6), 919-927

Marx, J. M., B. C. Rall, H. R. P. Phillips, U. Brose

Opening the black box of plant nutrient uptake under warming predicts global patterns in community biomass and biological carbon storageOikos(in press),

Pennekamp, F., Iles, A., Garland, J., Brennan, G., Brose, U., Gaedke, U., Jacob, U., Kratina, P., Matthews, B., Munch, S., Novak, M., Palamara, G. M., Rall, B., Rosenbaum, B., et al.

The intrinsic predictability of ecological time series and its potential to guide forecastingEcological Monographs89(2),

Eitzinger, B., Rall, B. C., Traugott, M., Scheu, S.

Testing the validity of functional response models using molecular gut content analysis for prey choice in soil predatorsOikos127(7), 915-26

Hirt, M. R., Grimm, V., Li, Y., Rall, B. C., Rosenbaum, B., Brose, U.

Bridging Scales: Allometric Random Walks Link Movement and Biodiversity ResearchTrends in Ecology & Evolution33(9), 701-12

Rosenbaum, B., Rall, B. C.

Fitting functional responses: Direct parameter estimation by simulating differential equationsMethods in Ecology and Evolution9(10), 2076-90

Sohlstrom, E. H., Marian, L., Barnes, A. D., Haneda, N. F., Scheu, S., Rall, B. C., Brose, U., Jochum, M.

Applying generalized allometric regressions to predict live body mass of tropical and temperate arthropodsEcology and Evolution8(24), 12737-49

Brose, U., Blanchard, J. L., Eklöf, A., Galiana, N., Hartvig, M., Hirt, M. R., Kalinkat, G., Nordström, M. C., O'Gorman, E. J., Rall, B. C., et al.

Predicting the consequences of species loss using size-structured biodiversity approachesBiological Reviews92(2), 684-97

Eitzinger, B., Rall, B., Traugott, M., Scheu, S.

Combining molecular gut content analysis and functional response models shows how body size affects prey choice in soil predatorsbioRxiv113944,

Fussmann, K. E., Rosenbaum, B., Brose, U., Rall, B. C.

Interactive effects of shifting body size and feeding adaptation drive interaction strengths of protist predators under warmingbioRxiv101675,

Hirt, M. R., Jetz, W., Rall, B. C., Brose, U.

A general scaling law reveals why the largest animals are not the fastestNature Ecology & Evolution1(8), 1116-22

Lang, B., Ehnes, R. B., Brose, U., Rall, B. C.

Temperature and consumer type dependencies of energy flows in natural communitiesOikos126(12), 1717-25

Li, Y., Brose, U., Meyer, K., Rall, B. C.

How patch size and refuge availability change interaction strength and population dynamics: a combined individual- and population-based modeling experimentPeerJ5(e2993),

Li, Y., Rall, B. C., Kalinkat, G.

Experimental duration and predator satiation levels systematically affect functional response parametersbioRxiv108886,

O'Gorman, E. J., Zhao, L., Pichler, D. E., Adams, G., Friberg, N., Rall, B. C., Seeney, A., Zhang, H. Y., Reuman, D. C., Woodward, G.

Unexpected changes in community size structure in a natural warming experimentNature Climate Change7(9), 659-63

Binzer, A., Guill, C., Rall, B. C., Brose, U.

Interactive effects of warming, eutrophication and size-structure: impacts on biodiversity and food-web structureGlobal Change Biology22(1), 220-227

Latz, E., Eisenhauer, N., Rall, B. C., Scheu, S., Jousset, A.

Unravelling Linkages between Plant Community Composition and the Pathogen-Suppressive Potential of SoilsScientific Reports6, 23584

Rall, B. C., Latz, E.

Analyzing pathogen suppressiveness in bioassays with natural soils using integrative maximum likelihood methods in RPeerJ4, e2615

Schneider, F. D., Brose, U., Rall, B. C., Guill, C.

Animal diversity and ecosystem functioning in dynamic food websNature Communications7(12718),

Allhoff, K. T., Ritterskamp, D., Rall, B. C., Drossel, B., Guill, C.

Evolutionary food web model based on body masses gives realistic networks with permanent species turnoverScientific Reports5, 10955

Heethoff, M., Rall, B. C.

Reducible defence: chemical protection alters the dynamics of predator–prey interactionsChemoecology25(2), 53-61
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Deutscher Platz 5e
04103 Leipzig, Germany

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3.207 (Interim I)

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+49 341 9733195
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Friedrich Schiller University Jena

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