Prof. Dr. Johannes Metz


Plant Ecology & Nature Conservation

Institute for Biology and Chemistry


Phone   +49(0)5121-883-40722

Mail       metzjo(at)uni-hildesheim(de)

Room    G105


Education and Experience

  • 2018 – present: Juniorprofessor for Plant Ecology & Nature Conservation, University of Hildesheim
  • 2018: Interim Professor "Plant Systematics & Biodiversity Research", University of Potsdam
  • 2014-2018: Senior Postdoc with Prof. F. Jeltsch, Plant Ecology and Nature Conservation, University of Potsdam
  • 2012-2014: Postdoc with Prof. K. Tielbörger (University of Tübingen) "Phenotypic & genetic variation in Biscutella didyma
  • 2011-2012: Training as Highschool Teacher for Biology and Geography (`Referendariat`)
  • 2005-2010: PhD with Prof. K. Tielbörger (University of Tübingen, Germany) and Prof. J. Kigel (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel) "The sensitivity of Eastern Mediterranean plant communities to variations in rainfall and their vulnerability to global climate change"
  • 1998-2004: Degree in Biology, Geography & Education (University of Freiburg, University of Leipzig)



Research interests

  • Vulnerability of plants to climate and anthropogenic change
  • Adaptive strategies of plants to environmental stress
  • Plant plant interactions and community composition under environmental stress


Supervised Theses

  • Schulz, J (Master) Sheep grazing as a driver to maintain greater plant diversity in extensively managed grasslands? The case of Park Sanssouci. (in preparation)
  • Kürschner, T (Master) Effects of fragmentation and habitat age on functional diversity in forest remnants in an agricultural landscape. (2018)
  • Friedl, C (Bachelor) Die historische Verbreitung der Grünlandorchidee Dactylorhiza majalis von 1790 bis 1990 in Brandenburg. (2018)
  • Jost, L (Master) Veränderungen der märkischen Dorfvegetation - eine Wiederholungsaufnahme von 35 Jahren. (2017)
  • Kremser, A (Master) Im Anpassungskonflikt zwischen Trockenstress und Konkurrenz: Merkmalsverschiebungen einer annuellen Grasart entlang eines Niederschlagsgradienten. (2017)
  • Poppei, M (Master) Einfluss von Pflegemaßnahmen und Klima auf populationsdynamische Veränderungen von Grünlandorchideen in Brandenburg. (2017)
  • Bareither, N (Master) Drought adaptations vs. competitive ability - key trait differentiation within the annual Mediterranean grass species Brachypodium hybridum along a rain gradient in Israel. (2017)
  • Freundt, H (Bachelor) Der Einfluss des Herkunftsklimas und der Konkurrenz durch Nachbarpflanzen auf das Keimungsverhalten des Modellgrases Brachypodium hybridum. (2016)
  • Kurze, S (Master sub-project) Life-history variation in an annuals grass along a gradient of environmental productivity and predictability. (2015)
  • von Oppen, J. (Bachelor) The interplay of interactions and parental effects on the performance of a semiarid annual plant species along an aridity gradient. (2013)





Steingräber, LF, Ludolphy C, Metz J, Germershausen L, Kierdorf H, Kierdorf U (2021) Heavy metal concentrations in floodplain soils of the Innerste River and in leaves of wild blackberries (Rubus fruticosus L. agg.) growing within and outside the floodplain – the legacy of historical mining activities in the Harz Mountains (Germany). Environmental Science and Pollution Research, doi: 10.1007/s11356-021-17320-w.

Metz J, Hartmann LJ, Ristow M (2021) Zur Diskussion der Pflege und Bestandssituation des Breitblättrigen Knabenkrautes (Dactylorhiza majalis) in Schutzgebieten Brandenburgs – Antwort auf eine Entgegnung. Berichte aus den Arbeitskreisen Heimische Orchideen 38(1) 111-121.

Metz J, Lampei C, Bäumler L, Bocherens H, de Meaux J, et al. (2020): Rapid adaptive evolution to drought in a subset of plant traits in a large-scale climate change experiment. Ecology Letters, DOI:10.1111/ele.13596

Poppei M, Ristow M, Geissler K, Metz J (2018b): Die Bestandssituation des Breitblättrigen Knabenkrautes Dactylorhiza majalis in ausgewählten Schutzgebieten Brandenburgs. Berichte aus den Arbeitskreisen Heimische Orchideen 35(2): 179-196. (reprint of Poppei et al. 2018a)

Poppei M, Ristow M, Geissler K, Metz J (2018a): Die Bestandssituation des Breitblättrigen Knabenkrautes Dactylorhiza majalis in ausgewählten Schutzgebieten Brandenburgs. Naturschutz & Landschaftspflege in Brandenburg 27: 20-26.

Metz J, Freundt H, Jeltsch F (2018): Stable germination behavior but partly shifting seed-seed interactions along a steep rainfall gradient. Basic and Applied Ecology 28: 5-16.

Kurze S, Bareither N, Metz J (2017): Phenology, roots and reproductive allocation, but not the LHS scheme, shape ecotypes along an aridity gradient. Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics 29: 20-29.

Bareither N, Scheffel A, Metz J (2017) Distribution of polyploid plants in the common annual Brachypodium distachyon (s.l.) in Israel is not linearly correlated with aridity. Israel Journal of Plant Sciences. doi: 10.1080/07929978.2017.1288406

Lampei C, Metz J, Tielbörger K (2017) Clinal population divergence in an adaptive parental environmental effect that adjusts seed banking. New Phytologist 214: 1230–1244.

Tomiolo S, Metz J, Blackwood CB, Djendouci K, Henneberg L, Müller C, Tielbörger K (2017) Short-term drought and long-term climate legacy affect production of chemical defenses among plant ecotypes. Environmental and Experimental Botany 141: 124-131.

Garcia-Camacho R, Metz J, Bilton MC, Tielbörger K (2017) Phylogenetic structure of annual plant communities along an aridity gradient: Interacting effects of habitat filtering and shifting plant-plant interactions. Israel Journal of Plant Sciences doi: 10.1080/07929978.2017.1288477.

Bilton MC, Metz J, Tielbörger K (2016) Climatic niche groups: A novel application of a common assumption predicting plant community response to climate change. Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics 19: 61–69.

Metz J, Tielbörger K (2016) Spatial and temporal aridity gradients provide poor proxies for plant-plant interactions under climate change: a large-scale experiment. Functional Ecology 30: 20-29.

Metz J, von Oppen J, Tielbörger K (2015) Parental environmental effects due to contrasting watering adapt competitive ability, but not drought tolerance, in offspring of a semi-arid annual Brassicaceae. Journal of Ecology 103: 990-997.

Tielbörger K*, Bilton MC*, Metz J*, Kigel J, Holzapfel C, Lebrija-Trejos E, Konsens I, et al. (2014) Middle-Eastern plant communities tolerate 9 years of drought in a multi-site climate manipulation experiment. Nature Communications 5, Article 5102. * equal contribution authors

Metz J, Ribbers K, Tielbörger K, Müller C (2014) Long- and medium-term effects of aridity on the chemical defence of a widespread Brassicaceae in the Mediterranean. Environmental and Experimental Botany 105: 39-45.

Tielbörger K, Fleischer A, Menzel L, Metz J, Sternberg M (2010) The aesthetics of water and land: a promising concept for managing scarce water resources under climate change. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A – Mathematical Physical and Engineering Sciences 368: 5323-5337.

Metz J, Liancourt P, Kigel J, Harel D, Sternberg M, Tielbörger K (2010) Plant survival in relation to seed size along environmental gradients: a long- term study from semi-arid and Mediterranean annual plant communities. Journal of Ecology 98: 697-704.