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Colloquium Natural & Life Sciences - Christina Grozinger & Michael Staab

Christina Grozinger

Pennsylvania State University
Entomology, Genomics, Animal Behavior, Ecology & Sustainable Agriculture

Michael Staab

University of Freiburg
Ecology and Biodiversity

Biodiversity research in a changing world
When Mar 15, 2022
from 02:00 PM to 03:00 PM
Where Zoom-Meeting
Contact Name
Attendees Universitätsoffen / open to university members
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Session Topic: Biodiversity research in a changing world

Topic Christina Grozinger - Harnessing big data to address pollinator decline

Bees are critical pollinators of agricultural crops, but populations of both managed and wild pollinators are in decline globally.  Multiple interacting factors are driving pollinator declines, many of which are associated with biotic and abiotic features of the landscape, including the nutritional resources, pesticide use, nesting habitat availability, weather and climate.  We are coupling information on bee populations with environmental information to develop predictive models of bee health.   This information is being integrated into “Beescape”, a web-based tool that beekeepers, land managers, growers, and policymakers can use to evaluate the quality of their landscapes for supporting bee populations and obtain recommendations for improving their landscapes and management practices.

Topic Michael Staab - Disentangling nature: biodiversity experiments as a tool to unravel ecosystem functionality

It is now accepted in ecology that diverse (in the broadest sense) ecosystems not only sustain more species but that diversity itself is related to ecosystem processes and to general ecosystem functions and services. While predicted by theory and conceptionally intuitive, it has long proven difficult to establish mechanistic links between diversity and functionality in real-world ecosystems, mostly because species diversity is usually confounded with the environment (e.g. climate). Biodiversity experiments manipulate species diversity, usually of plants, and thus create synthetic species communities allowing the separation of potential species diversity effects per se. Drawing from my experience in forest diversity experiments, I will explain the basic principles and challenges of such experiments, illustrate some key results, and discuss the broader implications for ecosystem management. I will end with how implementing a top-down perspective – in addition to the prevailing bottom-up perspective – may help to draw more mechanistic inference from of experimental biodiversity research.