iDiv conducts basic research, on the basis of which decision-makers from the applied and policy sector can develop solutions for the current biodiversity crisis. The work of researchers is guided by four overarching research questions:

Research Area 1:
Biodiversity Patterns

What is the current state of biodiversity, and how are natural and human influences changing biodiversity in space and time?

Research Area 2:
Biodiversity Processes

Which evolutionary and ecological processes create and maintain biodiversity?

Research Area 3:
Biodiversity Functions

What role does biodiversity play in the functioning of ecosystems and the services that ecosystems provide for us?

Research Area 4:
Biodiversity and Society

How can we protect and conserve biodiversity in managing the resources of our planet?

To answer these questions, the researchers at iDiv focus on three main points:

Biodiversity detection

Currently, we know relatively little about the biodiversity on our planet: There is hardly any data on genetic, chemical and functional biodiversity, and little is known about the complex interactions between different species. In addition, it has been scarcely possible to conduct a comprehensive survey of the biodiversity of large landscapes to date. In order to make it easier to measure biodiversity, researchers at iDiv therefore develop new methods of analysis and calculation. The observation network GEO BON, based at iDiv, contributes to networking with scientists throughout the world.

Experimental platforms

In order to bring together the expertise of many scientists and subject fields in an integrative approach, research at iDiv is often conducted within coordinated research platforms. These collaborative projects complement each other with regard to the studied ecosystems (e.g., forest or grassland) and spatial scales (from microcosm to the landscape level). There are both experimental platforms and platforms for bioinformatics at iDiv.

Synthesis and theory

One focus of research at iDiv is the so-called synthesis: In order to come up with general statements about biodiversity, the iDiv researchers combine existing knowledge and analyse it in the light of existing theories. They develop these theories further and use them to design practical experiments. The results of these experiments are then fed back into synthesis and theory building.

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