Dr. Thomas Wagner

Chair of Restoration Ecology

TUM School of Life Sciences
Technische Universität München
Emil-Ramann-Str. 6
85354 Freising

Phone:           +49 8161 71 2611
Phone:           +49 8212 639 282
Fax:                +49 8161 71 4143
E-Mail:            wagner[at]tum.de
XMPP/Jabber: theseus[at]mytum.de

Curriculum vitae

2012 - Research Scientist and Lecturer, TU München, Restoration Ecology
2000 - 2011   Scientific Director, TU München, WOS
1999 - 2000 Director Applied Ecology, Dr. Rietzler & Heidrich GmbH, Nürnberg
1998 Research Scientist, TU München, Limnological Research Station
1997 Specialist Spatial Analysis and Modelling, Stellenbosch University
1993 - 1996 Research Scientist, TU München, Botany
1988 - 1992 Studies in Biology (Botany, Ecology), TU München

Research Interests:

Main interest of my research is the change and persistence of vegetation in highly dynamic and unsteady environments. In this context I am interested in two systems in particular:

1. Dynamics of herbaceous vegetation in arid savanna

While the interaction of grasses and trees in arid savanna ecosystems and the underlying processes of their coexistence are well researched, the role of forbs in these ecosystems is still neglected. My research investigates how forbs are able to assert themselves in an environment characterized by a harsh climate with erratic rainfalls, long periods of droughts and on competition with the dominating grasses and trees. I am particularly interested in the spatio-temporal development of forbs and their dispersal under transient and changing climatic conditions, the role of facilitative and competitive processes, the impact on diversity and higher trophic levels and the contribution of large herbivores as ecosystem engineers. For this research, we operate our small Rooiklip Research Station in Namibias escarpment region with various LTER experiments. 

2. Spatio-temporal habitat configuration and vegetation in highly dynamic alpine river ecosystems

Alpine rivers are highly dynamic ecosystems with a constantly changing mosaic of habitats, highly varying environmental conditions and frequent disturbances. Well adapted plant species rely on suitable habitats, that act as stepping stones to establishment and maintain their meta-populations. With increasing human intervention in these river systems, e.g. through hydraulic engineering measures, dispersal chains become interrupted and the spatio-temporal availability of suitable habitats is altered. This leads to a threat to many plant (and often animal) species relying on the dynamic of these ecosystems. My research aims to identify the relevant factors, habitat configurations and thresholds for the establishment and maintenance of self-sustaining meta-populations. The results provide specifications for the restoration of the affected ecosystems and guidelines for the successful conservation or reintroduction of the affected species. My studies here are focused on the European Alps and alpine rivers such as the Upper Isar, Inn, Tagliamento, Fella and Piave, Soca or the Durance and their smaller tributaries.

Besides 'traditional' field- and laboratory methods in plant ecology, I use UAV based habitat modelling, animal tracking, habitat suitability modelling in GIS and R and individual and transition-state based models in Python.