Dr. Kevin Frank

05/2018 - 09/2018

Research assistant at the workgroup „Ecological Networks“ of Prof. Dr. Nico Blüthgen (Department of Biology, TU Darmstadt, Germany)

04/2014 - 04/2018

PhD thesis at TU Darmstadt: “Land-use Responses of Dung Beetle Communities and Their Ecosystem Services” (Supervisors: Nico Blüthgen; Thomas Schmitt)

04/2013 - 01/2014

Research assistant at the workgroup „Ecological Networks“ of Prof. Dr. Nico Blüthgen (Department of Biology, TU Darmstadt, Germany)


Diploma in Biology at TU Darmstadt, Germany; thesis: „Effects of Temperature on Herbivory and Respiration of Orthoptera

10/2006 - 03/2013

Student of biology at Technische Universität Darmstadt, Germany; main subjects: Ecology, Systematic Zoology, Plant Physiology



Reviewer for Biodiversity and Conservation, Austral Ecology, Journal of Insect Conservation, Journal of Applied Ecology & PLOS ONE

Research interests     


I am very interested in how abiotic and biotic factors affect nature. It is important and necessary to answer questions like how human disturbance (i.e. land-use or forest management) shapes biodiversity on a community level or a species itself. Getting to know how such factors influence species on different levels (e.g. interactions, behavior or metabolism) helps us to understand consequences for biodiversity. Additionally, basic research provides knowledge on species and helps encrypting mechanisms and certain behavior towards (external) factors. Therefore I use multiple approaches in field work and the laboratory such as chemical baits, nutrient analysis, GC-EAD and CHC-profiles.




frank (at) bio.tu-darmstadt.de

B1|01, Room 260

Kevin Frank

Fachbereich Biologie

Technische Universität Darmstadt

Schnittspahnstr. 3

64287 Darmstadt



Phone +49 6151 16-75415

Research founded by 

Research projects  


I recently finished my doctoral thesis about land-use responses of dung beetle communities and their ecosystem services. Currently I conduct fieldwork aiming for the quantification of ecosystem services (predation, parasitism, pollination and decomposition). Additionally, I am preparing a proposal for enhanced research regarding olfactory sensing in dung beetles (via GC-EAG) and the role of certain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) within this process. Furthermore, dung beetles are known to show distinct habitat preferences - reasons for this behavior remain to be fully understood. I am planning to analyze these patterns more closely by using cuticular hydrocarbons (CHCs) and transpiration measurements as possible cues for presence and absence of dung beetle taxa in forests and grasslands.



Frank K., Brückner A., Blüthgen N. and Schmitt T. (2018) In search for cues: dung beetle attraction and the significance of volatile composition in dung. Chemoecology (doi:10.1007/s00049-018-0266-4)

Frank K., Krell F.T., Walter P., Slade E.M., Raine E.H., Chiew L.Y., Vairappan C.S., Schmitt T. and Blüthgen N. (2018) Global dung webs: high trophic generalism of dung beetles along the latitudinal diversity gradient. Ecology Letters (doi:10.1111/ele.13095).


Frank K., Brückner A., Hilpert A., Heethoff M. and Blüthgen N. (2017) Nutrient quality of vertebrate dung as a diet for dung beetles. Scientific Reports 7:12141

Frank, K., M. Hülsmann, T. Assmann, T. Schmitt, and N. Blüthgen (2017) Land use affects dung beetle communities and their ecosystem services in forests and grasslands. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 243:114-122


Mangels J., Blüthgen N., Frank K., Grassein F., Hilpert A., Mody K. (2015) Tree Species Composition and Harvest Intensity Affect Herbivore Density and Leaf Damage on Beech, Fagus sylvatica, in Different Landscape Contexts. PLoS ONE, 10(5): e0126140. (doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0126140)



Conference contributions


46th Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of Germany, Austria and Switzerland in Marburg,Germany, 2016 - conference talk: "Tiny engineers face modern land use: dung beetle communities, their ecosystem services and responses to management" 

11th, 12th & 13th Annual Assembly of the Biodiversity Exploratories in Wernigerode, Germany, 2014-2016 - conference talk and poster