Pia Backmann

Pia Backmann



My name is Pia Backmann, and I started working as a PhD student at iDiv in July 2013.

I will work at the MPI CE Jena (in the Department of Molecular Ecology in the iDiv MPI-CE Biodiversity Project Group) and the Department of Ecological Modelling at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ -in Leipzig (http://www.ufz.de).

In March 2011, I completed my diploma thesis in physics in the working group “computational theoretical physics” of Prof. Dr. Alexander K. Hartmann at the University of Oldenburg and thereupon I have worked for 2 years in industry (grid integration of renewable energies).

Research Project


The objective of my PhD project is to create Individual Based Models (IBMs) that allow predictions about how the frequency of “defenseless” plants in natural populations affects plant community productivity and heterotroph biodiversity.

The data necessary for realistic modeling will be obtained by combining molecular tools with mesocosm and field studies in Utah. The insights gained by the model might help to develop applications in conservation, restoration and agriculture.

I joined iDiv...

...because I like the idea of combining both – experimental and theoretical fields of research. I am looking forward to learn more about ecological modeling (supervised by Prof. Dr. Grimm) and doing field work in Utah and experiments in the Mesocosms (with advice by Dr. Stefan Meldau and Dr. Mario Kallenbach and in cooperation with Nora Adam).

I am also looking forward to participate in the integrative graduate program to learn more about biodiversity, as well in unfamiliar fields of research.

This is a great opportunity to get new impulses and helps seeing the big picture.

My research interests

  • IBMs and ecological modeling
  • Plant-animal interactions
  • (Rain-)forest models
  • Land-use change
  • Predictive models to support environmental decision making

Short CV



Since July 2013
PhD student at the iDiv (Advisors: Prof. Dr. Volker Grimm (UFZ Leipzig), Dr. Stefan Meldau and Dr. Mario Kallenbach (MPI CE Jena)

March 2011
Diploma thesis in computational theoretical physics, title “Agent Based Simulations of Bat's competitive Foraging” (Advisors: Prof. Alexander K. Hartmann and Prof. Dr. Georg Klump)

Diploma studies of physics, Carl von Ossietzky University Oldenburg (minor subjects: biology and computer studies and photovoltaics)


Renewable energy grid integration, Moeller Operating Engineering
(Validation of computer models of solar inverters and wind turbines, testing grid compatibility of solar plants, developing software in DPL and Matlab)

iDiv publications


Kazmierczak, M., Backmann, P., Fedriani, J. M., Fischer, R., Hartmann, A. K., Huth, A., May, F., Müller, M. S., Taubert, F., Grimm, V., Groeneveld, J.

Monodominance in tropical forests: modelling reveals emerging clusters and phase transitions Journal of The Royal Society Interface 13(117),
Icon address

Deutscher Platz 5e
04103 Leipzig

Icon roomnumber


Icon phone
+49 341 9733209
Share this site on:
iDiv is a research centre of theDFG Logo