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Katharina John

Katharina John

Katharina JohnKatharina John
Justus Liebig Universität
IFZ - Department of Animal Ecology
Heinrich-Buff-Ring 26-32
D-35392 Giessen

Tel:    +49(0)641/ 99-35713
Fax:   +49(0)641/ 99-35709


Research interests

Research interests


The soil fauna plays a key role in the regulation of element cycling and energy flow due to both their direct trophic and indirect interactions with soil microorganisms. These interactions are of fundamental relevance to most natural and agricultural ecosystems and their ecosystem functions. The main focus of my work lays in the investigation of the temporally dynamic establishment of soil food webs, the structural and functional biodiversity of soil communities and how they are affected by anthropogenic influences (management, fertilization, compaction, etc.).

The following methods are used: soil sampling, extraction and taxonomic processing of soil organisms, soil food web modeling, stable isotope analysis (GC-IRMS), phospholipid fatty acid analysis, greenhouse gas emission measurements (GC) in the laboratory and at the field sites, microcosm experiments, soil ecological standard methods for soil characterization.


Research projects

RESOILIENCE (DFG Biodiversity Exploratories)
Since 2018: Resilience of invertebrate communities in grassland soils.

ICON (DFG Research Unit „Introducing non-flooded crops in rice-dominated landscapes: impact on carbon, nitrogen and water budgets“)
SP3 (2015-2018): Impact of soil fauna on C and N cycling in rice cultivation systems.
SP3 (2011-2015): Trophic interactions in the soil of rice-rice and rice-maize cropping systems.

Curriculum vitae

Curriculum vitae


Since 2018

Research Scientist
Department of Animal Ecology, JLU Gießen



Assistant Consultant in Landscape Planning

Planungsbüro Gall, Butzbach

2012 – 2018


Research Scientist
Department of Animal Ecology, JLU Gießen

ICON Project

2012 – 2015


Affiliated Research Scientist

Crop and Environmental Science Division, International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), Los Baños, Philippines

ICON Project

2011 – 2012


Research assistant

Department of Animal Ecology, JLU Gießen

”Araneae diversity in grasslands of the Wetterau (Hessen): the impact of habitat isolation“

2009 – 2011


Master of Science, Biology

Major: Ecology, Zoology; JLU Gießen

Thesis: ”Distribution and trophic structure of soil mites (Acari): A large scale analysis on the management effects in temperate grasslands“ (DFG Biodiversity Exploratories; Animal Ecology – Prof. Dr. Volkmar Wolters)

2006 – 2009


Bachelor of Science, Biology

Major: Ecology, Zoology, Biophilosophy; JLU Gießen

Thesis: ”Reproducibility assessment of AFLP technique in Schistosomiasis intermediate host Oncomelania hupensis robertsoni“ (Systematics and Biodiversity – Prof. Dr. Thomas Wilke)




John K, Degtyarev M, Gorbunova A, Korobushkin D, Knöss H, Wolters V, Zaitsev AS (2019) Enchytraeids simultaneously stimulate rice straw degradation and mitigate CO2 release in a paddy soil. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 131: 191-194.

Schmidt A*, John K* (*geteilte Erstautorenschaft), Auge H, Brandl R, Horgan FG, Settele J, Zaitsev AS, Wolters V, Schädler M (2016) Compensatory mechanisms of litter decomposition under alternating moisture regimes in tropical rice fields. Applied Soil Ecology 107: 79-90.

Birkhofer K, Dietrich C, John K, Schorpp Q, Zaitsev AS, Wolters V (2016) Regional conditions and land-use alter the potential contribution of soil arthropods to ecosystem services in grasslands. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 3(150): 1-11.

John K, Jauker F, Marxsen J, Zaitsev AS, Wolters V (2015) Earthworm bioturbation stabilizes carbon in non-flooded paddy soil at the risk of increasing methane emissions under wet soil conditions. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 91: 127-132.

Schmidt A, John K, Arida G, Auge H, Brandl R, Horgan FG, Hotes S, Marquez L, Radermacher N, Settele J, Wolters V, Schädler M (2015) Effects of residue management on decomposition in irrigated rice fields are not related to changes in the decomposer community. PLoS ONE  10: e0134402.