DFG Exploratories for large-scale and long-term functional biodiversity research - Germany
DFG Exploratories for large-scale and long-term functional biodiversity research
DFG Biodiversity Exploratories
In the framework of an initiative to advance biodiversity research in Germany, we established three exemplary large-scale and long-term research sites (funded by the German Research Foundation). They are termed Biodiversity Exploratories, in contrast to mainly descriptive observatories. The exploratories sustain the scientific infrastructure to develop the intellectual framework needed to address critical questions about changes in biodiversity and to evaluate the impacts of those changes for ecosystem processes. Thus, in the exploratories biodiversity and ecosystem research will be merged at a large scale and with a long-term perspective.
General Characteristics, Purpose, History
Changes in land use and its intensity are major determinants of biodiversity. Currently, biodiversity experiences a general decline due to ongoing large- and small-scale changes in land use. However, while the relationship between land use and biodiversity is well-established for some taxa including studies on the effects on genetic diversity, it is not for others. Also, it is not known how diversities of different taxa are related to each other, and whether they, and their genetic diversities respond similarly to variation in land use. Recent model experiments with manipulated plant species diversity demonstrated negative effects of biodiversity loss on ecosystem functioning and services. Other model experiments with manipulated microbial, fungal, animal, and genetic diversity are further exploring functional consequences of biodiversity change, and they appear to confirm the observations made with plants. However, for natural systems the functional importance of biodiversity is unclear because of the overriding effects of different management strategies. Therefore, research in real landscapes on feed back loops between landscape change, diversity of genes, species and biological interactions, and ecosystem services through combinations of monitoring approaches and measurements of functional diversity with designed experiments will be conducted.
Affiliation and Network Specific Information