Understanding threatened ecosystems better with biodiversity research
Researchers are investigating the impact of human activity and climate change on biodiversity and the global ecosystem in the project “Bridging in Biodiversity Science.” Their overarching goal is to bridge gaps between disciplines, spatial scales and biological systems in biodiversity research.
Global biodiversity loss resulting from global climate change poses a significant risk to humanity. Biodiversity loss leads to severe negative effects for water quality and availability, food production, and human health. But the scientific basis for understanding the structure of biological diversity, together with the functional interrelationships and vulnerabilities involved, is still inadequate. To resolve these open questions, innovative research approaches and transdisciplinary exchange between specialist fields are necessary.
Enabling this innovation and exchange is the principal objective of the Berlin-Brandenburg Institute of Advanced Biodiversity Research (BBIB). As an alliance of four universities and five non-university Leibniz Association members in the Berlin-Brandenburg region, BBIB brings specialists in ecology and evolution together with researchers in the social and political sciences to shed light on biodiversity.
Image: Isabelle Flaig
Various specialist disciplines are working collaboratively on several work packages in the “Bridging in Biodiversity Science” (BIBS) project funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and coordinated by Freie Universität Berlin as lead university. The work packages investigate issues such as the influence of microplastics on different systems such as water, plants or soils, a topic that is still only poorly understood.
Large-scale and long-term studies are required to identify how potential future shifts in biodiversity due to land use changes or climate change could affect the functioning of ecosystems. Novel landscape laboratories, the “ScapeLabs,” will expand biodiversity research to the landscape scale and enable entire ecosystems to be studied. Habitats such as the agrarian landscape in the catchment area of the Quillow river, Berlin’s cityscape or the Stechlin Lake as a LakeScapeLab will be investigated in depth. By combining theoretical modeling with practical research conducted at the laboratory and the landscape scales, a comprehensive synthesis will be reached and shared with stakeholders in society. In addition to liaising directly with state agencies and users, citizen scientists will also be involved in the work to promote dynamic exchanges between science, politics, and members of the public.
This unique focus and these innovative research approaches will complement ongoing biodiversity research in Germany and beyond.