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.

The Institute of Evolutionary Ecology of the University of Ulm is in charge 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.