Global biodiversity is decreasing, but regional declines of native species are often outnumbered by newly established aliens. Thus, changes in biodiversity are complex and scale-dependent. With more than 40 000 species known from Germany alone, science depends on experts who can handle this enormous taxonomic and ecological knowledge.

We study how environmental variables and anthropogenic management affect the diversity of organisms such as plants, spiders, insects and birds. In many cases, the involved species fulfil important ecosystem functions and are themselves affected by global environmental change. We transfer knowledge and empathy for biodiversity through environmental education.

Running projects

Ecesystem function

The flow of energy and matter through ecosystems involves numerous processes such as primary production, herbivory, and decomposition. Through predation and pollination, insects can have strong regulating functions especially in agricultural and forest ecosystems. Sustainable human land-use needs to account for these ecosystem services.

We study interactions between management and biodiversity in order to improve our understanding of ecosystem functioning under global change.

Our work ranges from lab microcosms over field experiments and landscape-scale surveys to macroecological studies at the continental scale.

Running projects

Global change

Human activities are profoundly changing our biosphere. Land-use changes, climatic change, and biological invasions feed back on societies via their effects on biodiversity and ecosystem services.

We study the impacts of invasive plants and animals in natural and cultivated ecosystems. In addition, we use biological invasions to study basic ecological processes such as competition and dispersal. Changing climate and land-use cause strong dynamics in species interactions and geographic ranges, which we study through experimentation and modeling.

Running projects