M.Sc. Nadja Berger

Chair of Restoration Ecology

Technische Universität München
Emil-Ramann-Str. 6
85354 Freising

Telefon/Phone: +49 8161 71 4142
Fax:                    +49 8161 71 4143
E-Mail:                nadja.berger[a]tum.de

Curriculum vitae

since 04/2022 PhD student, Chair of Restoration Ecology, TUM
10/2019–10/2020 Supported by the German National Scholarship Program

M.Sc. Biology, TUM Masterthesis at the Chair of Restoration Ecology: Effects of flowering patches on ecosystem functions in urban areas: Pollinometers as indicators of pollination performance in cities

10/2015–08/2018 B.Sc. Biology, University of Freiburg
07/2015  Academic high school diploma (Abitur), Oskar-Maria-Graf-Gymnasium, Neufahrn b. Freising


Novel Plant Systems for Urban Stormwater Infiltration – Promoting Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services

Subproject 13 of the Research Training Group "Urban Green Infrastructure - Training Next Generation Professionals for Integrated Urban Planning Research" (RTG–UGI)

Supervisors: Prof. Dr. J. Kollmann and Dr. L. Teixeira

Worldwide, urbanization is increasing exponentially, and this trend will continue in the coming decades. This leads to an increasing proportion of sealed surfaces in the built environment, and associated problems such as declining biodiversity and reduction of ecosystem services, with negative effects on urban human populations. Land sealing has a direct impact on stormwater management: unlike natural pervious soils, water runs off the surface, thus accumulating pollutants. In addition, it is quickly discharged into nearby watercourses, resulting in reduced cooling on the urban climate.

Due to climate change, extreme weather events such as prolonged rainstorms or extended droughts are becoming more frequent, putting more strain on existing technical stormwater management systems and requiring the development of alternative solutions.

One way to address the challenges of inadequate stormwater management and declining urban biodiversity is through Sustainable Drainage Systems (SUDS), which promise a local solution for dealing with episodic stormwater. SUDS have already been shown to retain and bind infiltrated pollutants, reducing the negative environmental impacts of surface water runoff over sealed surfaces. The ability to establish vegetation at SUDS also provides the previously underutilized potential to enhance biodiversity locally.

Therefore, the objectives of this project are (i) to investigate the role of root systems of different plant species in water regulation, erosion control, pollutant stabilization or extraction, and identifying ecological functions that can enhance SUDS, and (ii) to analyze the influences of belowground plant community characteristics on ecosystem processes such as water infiltration, nutrient cycling, carbon storage, and pollutant stabilization. Based on these results, (iii) plant communities will be designed to enhance both SUDS functionality and biodiversity. (iv) The success of improved SUDS will be investigated experimentally in terms of above- and below-ground ecosystem functions as well as multifunctionality of the plant communities.

In doing so, we expect that (a) higher functional diversity of plant traits increase belowground ecosystem services, (b) trait-based plant communities have higher resistance to invasive plant species, (c) below- and aboveground functional diversity and resulting ecosystem services are correlated, and (d) small-scale patterns in functional diversity and ecological processes can be scaled up.

These objectives will be pursued using an experimental approach at three levels of complexity: Under laboratory conditions, the functions of individual plant species are studied under contrasting environmental conditions; plant communities are then analyzed in mesocosms, i.e. under controlled conditions in the field, while field studies at existing SUDS in the urban area of Munich represent the largest experimental scale.

This project is part of Research Cluster 3 of the RTG–UGI and is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG).