This research area seeks to explain the consequences of biodiversity change for the functioning of ecosystems. The main objective of this research area is to explore the context dependency of biodiversity-ecosystem functioning (BEF) relationships across spatial and temporal scales. iDiv researchers study the functional consequences of community assembly in response to different environmental drivers, and biotic interactions within and across trophic levels.
How do biotic interactions drive BEF relationships?
Given that many important ecosystem functions are determined by the interactions between organisms, a mechanistic understanding of BEF relationships requires the detailed analysis of biotic interactions and behaviour – within trophic levels (horizontal diversity) and between them (vertical diversity).
Knowing how and why communities change in diversity and composition (Change) and in food web structure (Complexity) is key to understand BEF relationships. Often molecular tools are needed to unravel biotic interactions involving those between microorganisms (Molecular).
How does community assembly influence BEF relationships?
In real-world systems, diversity is not an independent driver, but an emergent property of community assembly processes and ecosystem dynamics. Developing the CAFE approach further using experiments and models is essential for the transfer of BEF research to the landscape scale.
How does the environmental and biotic context influence BEF relationships when scaling from experiments to landscapes?
To scale from experiments to landscapes and to develop biodiversity-based management applications, we need to understand the environmental and biotic context-dependency of BEF relationships. This requires new approaches combining distributed networks of observatories and experiments, modelling and remote sensing.
Transferring BEF to the scale of land-use decisions allows the development of targets for biodiversity futures and transformative change (Society). Change provides theory how biodiversity changes across scales. We support research area Change by driving the development of remote sensing-based detection of biodiversity.
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View media release: Measuring the belowground world
Jochum, M., …, Roscher, C., van der Plas, F., …, Ebeling, A., Eisenhauer, N., …, Kattge, J., ..., Weigelt, A., ..., and Manning, P. (2020). The Results of Biodiversity-Ecosystem Functioning Experiments Are Realistic. Nature Ecology & Evolution, 20, DOI: 10.1038/s41559-020-1280-9
View media release: Ecologists put biodiversity experiments to the test
Kattge, J., Boenisch, G., Díaz, S., …, > 700 authors, …, and Wirth, C. (2020). TRY plant trait database - enhanced coverage and open access. Global Change Biology 26, DOI: 10.1111/gcb.14904
View media release: TRY database for plant traits has released more than a billion records