Biodiversity exploratories for functional biodiversity research

As an initiative to advance biodiversity and ecosystem functioning research in Germany, three large-scale and long-term research sites (funded by the German Research Foundation, DFG) have been established as so-called "Biodiversity Exploratories" in the Biosphere Reserve Schorfheide-Chorin (Brandenburg), the National Park Hainich-Dün plus its surroundings (Thuringia) and the Biosphere Reserve Schwäbische Alb (Baden-Württemberg). Altogether the exploratories represent an open research and data exchange platform for comparative scientific studies along different land-use gradients.

Three large-scale and long-term research sites in Germany

The Exploratories will establish and sustain the scientific infrastructure and develop the intellectual framework needed to address critical questions about changes in biodiversity and the impacts of those changes for ecosystem processes. The exploratories will address the relationship between land-use intensity, biodiversity change, and ecosystem functioning for various organisms and abiotic parameters in forest and grassland environments with interdisciplinary and experimental approaches.

The Institute of Evolutionary Ecology of the University of Ulm is in charge of implementing and maintaining the Schwäbische Alb exploratory through the local management team. We are also involved in various research projects with a focus on the functional diversity of vertebrates across land use gradients in heterogeneous landscapes.

The Schwäbische Alb exploratory

The Schwäbische Alb exploratory is one of three long-term investigation areas for biodiversity and ecosystem research. It lays on the Mittlere Kuppenalb which represenst a montane /submontane plateau of the administrative district Reutlingen and the Biosphere Reserve Schwäbische Alb.

Inside the investigation area the lanscape context is representet by 1000 gridplots, used for inventory sampling procedure and additional 100 experimental plots for detailed scientific monitoring and experiments on forest and grassland areas. The plots are catogerized in different land-use types and intensities. Besides numorous scientific workgroups with different  foci, diverse local institutions, municipalities and landowner are involved in the biodiversity exploratorium Schwäbische Alb.

Here you can find further information on our:

local management team

field station Münsingen

co-operation partners