German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

How is life distributed on planet Earth? How fast do species go extinct? What consequences does the loss of biological diversity have for the functioning of ecosystems? These are three of many questions addressed by the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv). Its 350 researchers from more than 35 nations are working on the scientific basis for a sustainable management of our planet’s biodiversity.

The German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig is a joint facility of Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Friedrich Schiller University Jena and Leipzig University and is run in cooperation with the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research (UFZ). It is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG).

Biodiversity refers to the diversity of life – not only species diversity but also genetic diversity, diversity of functions, interactions, and ecosystems. It is known that human actions dramatically change this diversity: species become extinct, genetic information, and entire ecosystems are lost. At the same time, little is known about the extent of these changes, the underlying processes, and consequences for humanity. The researchers of iDiv are investigating these questions.

iDiv pursues two missions: first to provide a scientific basis for the sustainable use of our planet’s biodiversity and second to develop a new research field “integrative biodiversity research”. Integration – this is what the ‘i’ in iDiv stands for – is realised on three levels.

Integration across time and space:

  • How much biodiversity are we losing? iDiv scientists are combining results from small-scale studies (short-term and local) to better understand the state and development of biodiversity on large scales.

Integration across complexity levels:

  • How do processes at the molecular level affect the coexistence of species in an ecosystem? What is the effect of interactions (such as between plants and soil animals) on the functioning of ecosystems? iDiv scientists are combining different methods and techniques to answer such complex questions.

Integration across disciplines:

  • How can scientists collaborate with experts in society to assess biodiversity trends? What is the impact of biodiversity loss on society? And how can biodiversity be managed sustainably? In order to answer these questions, iDiv scientists are working together across disciplines and exchange knowledge at the science-policy interface.

The research and work of iDiv mainly contributes to the Sustainable Development Goals: 2, 3, 11, 12, 14, 15: