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.
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).
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 loss. Nature 584, 238–243(2020), DOI: 10.1038/s41586-020-2531-2
View media release: Smaller habitats worse than expected for biodiversity
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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