Exploratories for large-scale and long-term functional biodiversity research

Markus Fischer, Elisabeth K.V. Kalko, K. Eduard Linsenmair, Simone Pfeiffer, Daniel Prati, Ernst Detlef Schulze, Wolfgang W. Weisser

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Current changes in biodiversity and their functional consequences for ecosystem processes matter for both fundamental and applied reasons. In most places the most important anthropogenic determinant of biodiversity is land use. The effects of type and intensity of land use are modulated by climate and atmospheric change, nutrient deposition and pollution and by feedback effects of changed biological processes. However, it is not known whether the genetic and species diversity of different taxa responds to land-use change in similar ways. Moreover, consequences of changing diversity for ecosystem processes have almost exclusively been studied in model experiments of limited scope. Clearly, there is an urgent scientific and societal demand to investigate the relationships between land use, biodiversity and ecosystem processes in many replicate study sites in the context of actual landscapes. Furthermore, these studies need to be set up in long-term frameworks. Moreover, because monitoring and comparative observation cannot unravel causal mechanisms they need to be complemented by manipulative experiments. In the 'Exploratories for large-scale and long-term functional biodiversity research' (see http://www.biodiversity- exploratories.de), we provide a platform for such successful long-term biodiversity research. The biodiversity exploratories aim at contributing to a better understanding of causal relationships affecting diversity patterns and their change, developing applied measures in order to mitigate loss of diversity and functionality, integrating a strong research community to its full potential, training a new generation of biodiversity explorers, extending the integrated view of functional biodiversity research to society and stimulating long-term ecological research in Germany and globally. Our experience has several implications for long-term ecological research and the LTER network including the necessity of formulating common research questions, establishing a joint database, applying modern tools for meta-analysis or quantitative review and developing standardised experimental and measurement protocols for facilitating future data synthesis.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLong-Term Ecological Research
Subtitle of host publicationBetween Theory and Application
PublisherSpringer Netherlands
Number of pages15
ISBN (Print)9789048187812
StatePublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Community ecology
  • Ecosystem processes
  • Ecosystem services
  • Landscape ecology
  • Large-scale ecological research
  • Large-scale experiments
  • Population biology


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