Research

The different working groups at our institute investigate how global change (such as climate change or land conversion) affects organisms and their communities, as well as the underlying chemical processes and resulting ecosystem functions. Among others, we study the effects of increased cultivation of energy crops as well as of various contaminants in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. We aim to understand why many animal and plant populations, as well as biodiversity in general are in decline and what are the consequences of the resulting biotic and abiotic changes in ecosystem functions. We further investigate the socio-economic factors of ecosystem research in collaboration with groups from Leuphana’s institute of social sciences.

Experimental studies are carried out within our laboratories, in glass houses and in the field. Fieldwork is undertaken in regional (Lüneburg, Lüneburger Heide), Mediterranean (California, Israel) and (sub)tropical (Australia, Indonesia) habitats, comprising both urban and semi-natural and agricultural landscapes. We collaborate with many national and international academic and non-academic institutions as well as with local environmental organizations (e.g., Alfred Töpfer Academy for Conservation, the administration of the “Biosphärenreservat Niedersächsische Elbtalaue”).