Dr. Hubert Höfer, Dipl.-Biol.

temporary: Scientific direction, Head of Department of Biosciences

Phone: +49 721 175-2826

Hubert Höfer is the curator-in-charge of the non-insect invertebrates, namely Araneae, Oribatida and other Arachnida and the large sample collections from soil zoological studies.

He studied biology at the University of Ulm and wrote his Diploma thesis on the assemblages of spiders in spruce forests. He spent 15 months in 1987/88 for his Ph.D. in the Amazon and continued studying spider assemblages in Amazonian forests until 1996.

He started at the SMNK in 1990 as a trainee (Volontär) and began to enlarge the spider collection with voucher specimens from his own studies in Germany and Brazil and expeditions in South America. After project based employments at the universities Göttingen and Bonn he became head of the department zoology at SMNK in 2001.

From 1996 to 2003 he coordinated two projects in the Brazilian-German SHIFT programme - 'Studies on Human Impact on Forests and Floodplains of the Tropics', applying basic knowledge on soil animals to meliorate Amazonian land use systems.

From 2002 to 2009 he managed the Brazilian-German project SOLOBIOMA studying soil fauna and functions in secondary forests of the Atlantic Forest in southern Brazil.In 2007 he funded together with Brazilian colleagues the Competence Center for the Conservation of Biodiversity in the Atlantic Forest of Brazil InBioVeritas.

In Germany he sampled and studied spider assemblages in forests, subalpine meadows and sandy areas in various projects.

Research interests are

  • Taxonomy and ecology of neotropical hunting spiders (Ctenidae, Gnaphosidae, Pisauridae, Trechaleidae)
  • Diversity of spiders in neotropical forest ecosystems (Amazonas, Mata Atlântica)
  • Faunistics and ecology of Central European spiders
  • Ecology of animal communities, i.e.
    • classification of sites and assessment of their ecological quality (ecosystem functions and services) through (soil) arthropod communities and indicator taxa
    • function of soil macrofauna in decomposition processes
    • responses of soil fauna to (experimental) management of resources (nutrients, litter, vegetation structure) and predators in forests and agricultural systems
    • test of monitoring measures and methods
  • Development and management of sustainable land use systems
  • Biodiversity informatics, i.e. data management for collections and ecological data (information systems)

Other tasks at SMNK

  • Research and project group management and representation of the museum as research institute
  • Coordination of third-party funded projects
  • Editor and referee for the museum journals „Carolinea” and „Andrias”
  • Scientific advice and coordination of exposition projects
  • External communication on ecological research and arachnids

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