Changes in land use and its intensity are major determinants of biodiversity. The Biodiversity Exploratories funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG Priority Program 1374) comprise three exemplary large-scale and long-term research grassland and forest sites across Germany, which serve as open platforms for an interdisciplinary research consortium combing monitoring and experiments. The Exploratories allow research in real landscapes on feedback loops between landscape change, diversity of genes, species and biological interactions, and ecosystem services.
The joint Chinese-German-Swiss research unit “BEF-China” is the first Biodiversity and Ecosystem Function experiment in highly species-rich subtropical Chinese forests. Two large manipulative field experiments serve to study the effects tree and shrub species richness on biodiversity of further trophic levels (herbivores, soil macrofauna, mycorrhiza, soil microorganisms) in relation to productivity, plant traits, nutrient cycling, but also wood and litter decay or soil erosion protection taken as ecosystem services.
The DFG Collaborative Research Centre AquaDiva addresses the vertical dimension of biodiversity by focusing the roles of water and biodiversity for shaping the structure, properties and functions of Earth's Critical Zone (subsurface below the rooting zone down into the first aquifers). We combine omics and geochemical approaches to answer questions. What biota live there? How do they interact with their environment and reflect surface properties?