Melanie N. Chisté

2014 - 2017:

PhD student at the Ecological Networks lab, TU Darmstadt, Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Nico Blüthgen, PD Dr. Karsten Mody


2011 - 2014:

Master student, Molecular Ecology, Master thesis at the department of population ecology (Prof. Dr. Heike Feldhaar), University of Bayreuth


2008 - 2011:

Bachelor student, Biology, Bachelor thesis at the department of animal ecology (Prof. Dr. Konrad Dettner), University of Bayreuth



 Research interests  


I am fascinated by the diversity of species and habitats and I am curious about all the factors that matter in changing ecosystem stability. My research focuses on insects and their responses to anthropogenic land use on the community and single species level.


Research domains: 

species interactions, entomology, ecological stoichiometry, herbivores, land-use change, biodiversity, nature protection, preference and performance, nutrient regulation, reproductive biology







Land-use effects on

plant–herbivore stoichiometry: micro- and macronutrients


As land-use change currently is the major reason for biodiversity loss and species extinction, this project aims to examine the factors that influence the stability and plasticity of ecosystems in the presence of land use such as mowing, grazing or fertilization. Fertilization intensity strongly increases concentrations of macronutrients like N and P in the soil and plants. The goal is to investigate the ability to regulate the oversupply or lack of nutrients and relate it to species' distribution and community composition of herbivorous insects in grasslands. Therefore differently agriculturally managed grasslands in three parts of Germany were intensively sampled. Responses of Auchenorrhyncha, Orthoptera and Heteroptera to land-use intensification are investigated on the community and single-species level. Additional performance experiments will show how herbivores manage different nutrient concentrations in their food or how herbivores from different habitats perform in a common garden experiment.

To link herbivores and their food plants this project is a cooperation with PhD student Verena Busch and PD Dr. Till Kleinebecker (University of Münster). They will focus on soil nutrients, nutrient regulation and homeostasis in plants and conduct elemental analyses.

The project is part of the Biodiversity Exploratories, a long-term and large-scale German research network that focuses on land-use effects on biodiversity and is funded by DFG.



melanie.chiste (at) gmail (dot) com


B1|01, Room 261


Dr. Melanie N. Chisté

Fachbereich Biologie

Technische Universität Darmstadt

Schnittspahnstr. 3

64287 Darmstadt



Phone +49 6151 16-75413


 Research projects 




Biodiversity Exploratories







Chisté M. N., Mody K., Kunz G., Gunczy J., Blüthgen N. (2018): Intensive land use drives small-scale homogenization of plant- and leafhopper communities and promotes generalists. Oecologia 186(2): 529-540 doi: 10.1007/s00442-017-4031-0.


Chisté MN (2017): Land-use mediated effects on communities and single species of herbivorous insects. Dissertation, Technische Universität Darmstadt.


Chisté M.N., Mody K., Gossner M.M., Simons N.K., Köhler G., Weisser W.W., Blüthgen N. (2016) Losers, winners and opportunists: how grassland land-use intensity affects orthopteran communities. Ecosphere 7(11). DOI:10.1002/ecs2.1545






Chisté M.N.(2014): Artificial insemination as a tool to study ejaculate effects on male reproductive success. (M. Sc.) University of Bayreuth.


Chisté M.N.(2011): Functional and quantitative analysis of setal tracheal gills in aquatic beetles. (B. Sc.) University of Bayreuth.

Conference Contributions

„Losers, winners and opportunists: how land-use intensity affects communities of plant-, leaf- and grasshoppers“ (Poster, 46th annual meeting of the German Ecological Society (GfÖ) in Marburg, 2016)


„Land-use effects on plant-herbivore stoichiometry: macro- and micronutrients; first results“ (Talk and Poster, Annual meeting of the Biodiversity Exploratories in Wernigerode, 2016)

„Land-use effects on plant-herbivore stoichiometry: macro- and micronutrients; aims and scope“ (Talk and Poster, Annual meeting of the Biodiversity Exploratories in Wernigerode, 2015)