In order to understand the interactions between environmental change, climate change and species loss better, it is necessary to study the role of biodiversity in ecosystems more closely. The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation, DFG) is therefore not only funding projects on functional biodiversity, but is also endeavouring to bolster research involved in the debate on biodiversity – for example at the UN biodiversity conference, which started in Bonn on 19 May.
At the exhibition “Millions of Ways of Life – Research for Biological Diversity”, where German biodiversity research will present itself alongside the UN conference, some DFG-funded projects will be among those presenting the goals of this research: to measure, conserve and promote sustainable use of species diversity. The “Biodiversity Exploratories” for example, are studying near-natural ecosystems – forests, fields and meadows – at three sites in Germany and are combining experimental and observational studies. The “Jena Experiment” project, on the other hand, is studying the function of biodiversity on the basis of artificially created grassland systems in which individual factors can be changed deliberately. A project based in Bayreuth, on the other hand, is looking at the distribution of species in various elevation zones of a mountainous region, focussing on the biodiversity on Mount Kilimanjaro.
The fact that maintaining the species diversity always needs to be achieved in harmony with a region’s economic needs is a particular challenge in developing countries, and is also one of the topics of the exhibition. The “Ecuador” Research Unit has been making a significant contribution towards this issue since 2001. This Research Unit is studying both natural mountain forests and mountain forest regions that have been disturbed by human use and aims to use the findings of this comparative study to develop proposals for sustainable land use and ways of improving the living situation of the mountain people in the Andes. The Collaborative Research Centre “STORMA” based in Göttingen is also looking at the topic of sustainability. Its focus is on the tropical rain forests of Indonesia, which have almost halved in size over the past 50 years, primarily due to forest clearing. In cooperation with local partners, the German researchers and scientists are studying the consequences of deforestation and seeking sustainable economic strategies for the future.
The exhibition is a joint project being conducted by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the DFG, the Max Planck Society, the Leibniz Association, the Helmholtz Association, Deutsche Naturwissenschaftliche Forschung e.V. (German Scientific Research Association) and Diversitas Germany.
The topic of biodiversity research is intimately connected to the “Convention on Biological Diversity” (CBD), an international treaty signed in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, which Germany became a party to in 1994. The goals of the treaty are to promote the conservation of biodiversity, the sustainable use of its components, and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the utilisation of genetic resources. These goals also apply to research and are taken very seriously by the DFG when making its funding decisions. The DFG has published guidelines to assist researchers and scientists in planning research projects and funding proposals for projects relevant to the CBD.
To mark the occasion of the UN conference the DFG has also published a booklet entitled “Biodiversity Research”, which sums up the main tasks and approaches of biodiversity research from the DFG’s point of view and presents a selection of relevant DFG-funded projects.
If you have questions about funding for biodiversity research by the DFG, please contact Dr. Roswitha Schönwitz, Tel. +49 228 885-2362, Roswitha.Schoenwitz@dfg.de.
Jutta Hoehn | alfa
Dune ecosystem modelling
23.06.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau
Understanding animal social networks can aid wildlife conservation
23.06.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB)
An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.
Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...
Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.
Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...
Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.
As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...
Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.
With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...
Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine
Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...
19.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.06.2017 | Information Technology