Jena Experiment

Jena Experiment

Global as well as local biodiversity is undergoing drastic changes. Over the past decades there was an increasing interest in these questions of how a diverse biotic community affects ecosystems and processes in habitats or species communities. Traditionally, biodiversity was seen as the consequence of the abiotic and biotic factors regulating a community and their species assemblages. However, the emphasis has shifted towards understanding the consequences of biodiversity change for ecosystem functions, thus considering biodiversity itself as a driver rather than a dependent variable in an ecosystem. Measures to tackle the human impact on biodiversity require long term ecological research. A big challenge is therefore to understand how species diversity interacts with the ecosystem. However, biodiversity research cannot be successful if it limits itself to the species level. Moreover, biological interactions need to be considered, including pollination, seed dispersal, predation, soil processes and decomposition, and synthesis work as integral elements of functioning in an ecosystem.

Since 2002, therefore an international and interdisciplinary network of scientist was created for research on the complex relationship between ecosystems in an exemplary experimental field site nearby Jena in Germany. The strengths of the Jena Experiment, a full quantification of the most important element cycles as well as a coordinated investigation of above-ground and below-ground processes will be used to unravel the mechanisms underlying the observed biodiversity effects. These include species like decomposers (earthworms, arthropods and microbes), producers (60 species of plants), and consumers (species of herbivorous arthropods or parasitoids).

Our group is directly engaged in three subprojects of the Jena Experiment:

  • SP 13 - Trait based modelling (Christian Wirth PI)
  • SP 2 - Community stability and productivity (Alexandra Weigelt Co-PI)
  • SP 7 - Belowground resource use (Alexandra Weigelt Co-PI)
letzte Änderung: 12.12.2014