Research Area “Biodiversity Change”

This research area aims at a rigorous understanding of how biodiversity is changing by combining synthesis, theory and detection. iDiv researchers study how to monitor biodiversity, assess changes in multiple dimensions of biodiversity across time and space, and uncover the mechanistic properties that underpin those changes.

Research questions

How can we improve biodiversity change detection?

iDiv researchers study how to enhance bio­diver­sity change detec­tion with novel analyses, tech­nolo­gies and monitor­ing schemes. They support the mobil­isa­tion and harmon­isa­tion of data with computa­tional infra­structures and modelling.
The develop­ment of biodiver­sity monitor­ing requires the involve­ment of multiple societal actors and depends on the engage­ment of citizen scientists (Society).

When, where and how is biodiversity changing?

Biodiversity change is more complex than the simple narrative of “loss”. iDiv researchers assess multiple dimensions of biodiversity change (e.g. species abundance, community composition and ecosystem function, species phenology) across spatial and temporal scales.
Changes can occur in multiple facets, including functional diversity (Functions) and genetic diversity (Molecular). Scaling properties of diversity, determined by species abundances and distributions (Complexity), determine estimates of change.

How are anthropogenic drivers leading to biodiversity change?

iDiv researchers study several of the main drivers of biodiversity change using experimental approaches, field studies and macro-ecological analysis, including land use, alien species and climate change.
Attributing biodiversity change to anthropogenic drivers is crucial to understanding the relationship between biodiversity and society (Society).

What are the mechanisms and consequences of biodiversity change?

iDiv researchers study how anthropogenic drivers alter properties of species and their interactions within communities, thus altering their likelihood of persistence.
Anthropogenic drivers influence biodiversity change via their influence on species coexistence, species interactions and interaction network properties (Complexity).

Key publications

Bennett, J. M., …, Durka, W., …, Knight, T. M. and Ashman, T.-L. (2020). Land Use and Pollinator Dependency Drives Global Patterns of Pollen Limitation in the Anthropocene. Nature Communications 11, DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-17751-y

Jonathan M. Chase, Shane A. Blowes, Tiffany M. Knight, Katharina Gerstner and Felix May (2020). Ecosystem decay exacerbates biodiversity loss with habitat lossNature 584, 238–243(2020), DOI: 10.1038/s41586-020-2531-2

View media release: Smaller habitats worse than expected for biodiversity

Kühl, H.S., Bowler, D.E., ..., Bruelheide, H., ..., Eichenberg, D., Eisenhauer, N., Fernández, N., Guerra, C.A., Henle, K., …, König-Ries, B., Kühn, I., ... , Pe'er, G., Richter, A., …, Settele, J., van Dam, N.M., Voigt, M., …, Wirth, C. and Bonn, A. (2020). Effective Biodiversity Monitoring Needs a Culture of Integration. One Earth 3, DOI: 10.1016/j.oneear.2020.09.010

View media release: Biodiversity monitoring programs need a culture of collaboration

Staude, I. R., …, Bernhardt-Römermann, M., Bjorkman, A. D., …, Jandt, U., …, Pereira, H.M., …, and Baeten, L. (2020). Replacements of Small- by Large-Ranged Species Scale up to Diversity Loss in Europe’s Temperate Forest Biome. Nature Ecology & Evolution 15, DOI: 10.1038/s41559-020-1176-8

View media release: Plant diversity in European forests is declining

Van Klink, R., Bowler, D. E., Gongalsky, K.B., Swegel, A.B., Gentile, A. and Chase, J.M. (2020). Meta-Analysis Reveals Declines in Terrestrial but Increases in Freshwater Insect Abundances. Science 368, DOI: 10.1126/science.aax9931

View media release: Insects: Largest study to date confirms declines on land, but finds recoveries in freshwater

Leaders of the research area

Jonathan Chase (iDiv, MLU)

Birgitta König-Ries (Univ. of Jena, iDiv)

Christine Römermann (Univ. of Jena, iDiv)

Marten Winter (iDiv, UL)

Contributing iDiv members

  • Harald Auge (UFZ, iDiv),
  • Aletta Bonn (UFZ, iDiv, Univ. of Jena),
  • Ulrich Brose (iDiv, MLU),
  • Helge Bruelheide (MLU, iDiv),
  • Nico Eisenhauer (iDiv, UL),
  • Stan Harpole (UFZ/MLU, iDiv),
  • Andreas Huth (UFZ, iDiv),
  • Tiffany Knight (UFZ/MLU, iDiv),
  • Ingolf Kühn (UFZ, MLU, iDiv),
  • Carsten Meyer (iDiv, UL),
  • Guy Pe’er (UFZ, iDiv),
  • Henrique M. Pereira (iDiv, MLU),
  • Martin Quaas (iDiv, UL),
  • Josef Settele (UFZ, MLU, iDiv),
  • Ralf Seppelt (UFZ, MLU, iDiv)
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