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Institute of

BD Biodiversity

Projects

Running Projects

Impacts of agricultural land use and landscape structure on butterflies in agricultural landscapes

Studies analysing the effects of land use on biodiversity across large spatial extents remain scarce. Thus, this project aims to increase our knowledge about the effects of land use and landscape structure on biodiversity over large spatial scales covering whole Germany.

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Impacts of agricultural land use and landscape structure on butterflies in agricultural landscapes

Successful concepts for restoration of species-rich grasslands

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Trend analysis and indicators

So far, there is no nationwide uniform database that allows scientific statements to be made about the state of wild bee populations in agricultural landscapes. In order to identify historical trends nonetheless, existing data sets are compiled and evaluated. On this basis, pressure indicators for wild bee populations and a concept for future nationwide wild bee monitoring in agricultural landscapes will be developed.

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Trend analysis and indicators

Doing Science Together @Thünen

Here, the aim of the project is the establishment of a platform to present Citizen Science (CS) activities and to connect people sharing an interest in CS. The platform is meant to support the integration of Citizen Science in the science performed at the Thünen Institute.

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Doing Science Together @Thünen

Agroecology for Europe

Substantial transformations are needed to develop sustainable agriculture and food systems in Europe. Agroecology is increasingly seen as an important approach to prepare and guide the transition to sustainable agriculture and food systems. Over the past decade, the concept of agroecology has gained significant recognition in the scientific, agricultural and political fields.

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Agroecology for Europe

LInCa - Ecological improvments of the Thünen Campus for insect diversity

Both the total number and the number of species of continue to decline dramatically despite numerous measures of protection. In order to stop the declines of insects, the Federal Environment Ministry has adopted an "Action Program for Insect Protection". The overall aim is to reverse the trend of the decline in insects and to significantly improve the living conditions for insects. To this end, areas around public buildings are also meant to receive actions that promote and enhance insect diversity.

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LInCa - Ecological improvments of the Thünen Campus for insect diversity

Improvement of ecosystem services of insects

Insects provide important ecosystem services in agricultural landscapes, particularly pollination of crops and pest control. Therefore, enhancement of agricultural landscapes for insects is of special importance to agriculture.

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Conception and development of a nationwide bumblebee monitoring scheme

Due to their sensitivity to environmental changes, bumblebees are suitable to indicate changes in agricultural landscapes. Therefore, a nationwide bumblebee monitoring scheme will be developed that allows conclusions to draw about cause-effect relationships.

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Conception and development of a nationwide bumblebee monitoring scheme

Development of molecular biological workflows and pipelines for eDNA from trap nests

Environmental DNA in trap nests can provide valuable information on trophic interactions, food resources and bee vitality. Therefore, molecular biological methods and routines based on eDNA will be developed for a future wild bee monitoring.

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Development of molecular biological workflows and pipelines for eDNA from trap nests

Development of standardised, nonlethal sampling methods for cavity-nesting wild bees

Changes in land-use and farm management have led to a sharp decline in wild bees. In order to understand the underlying cause-effect relationships for this decline, standardised nonlethal sampling methods are being developed for a wild bee monitoring scheme.

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Development of standardised, nonlethal sampling methods for cavity-nesting wild bees

Facilitating insects in agricultural landscapes through renewable resources

Intensive agriculture is considered as a major cause of the decline of insect diversity and biomass in Germany. Within the frame of the national action programme for the conservation of insects, FInAL will therefore establish Landscape Laboratories in representative agricultural landscapes of Germany where we will develop, demonstrate and evaluate innovative measures for facilitating insects through integrated cultivation of renewable resources in a landscape context.

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Facilitating insects in agricultural landscapes through renewable resources

Modelling of landscape resistances for different species groups

Landscapes can impede dispersal of species to various degrees. Resistances of landscapes also depends on species’ dispersal abilities. We model landscape resistance for different functional groups of species based on circuit theory (Circuitscape).

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Modelling of landscape resistances for different species groups

F.R.A.N.Z. - Future-oriented resource use, agronomy and nature conservation

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F.R.A.N.Z. - Future-oriented resource use, agronomy and nature conservation

Functional relevance of soil fauna

Various key stone species of soil fauna are often called ecosystem engineers and others are called decomposers. Such terms emphasise their functional importance in the soil environment. Depending on behaviour and adaptations, soil fauna delivers essential ecosystem services in soils under land use.

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Functional relevance of soil fauna

Soil fauna diversity in agroecosystems

Agricultural management like soil tillage, cropping sequence, plant pest management, fertilisation etc. controls biodiversity in agroecosystems. Presence and abundance of different species of soil fauna affect soil functions considerably.

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Soil fauna diversity in agroecosystems

Microbiom analyses - method development and bioinformatics

The objective of this work is to develop a new methodological repertoire to characterize the diversity and functions of microbial communities and utlize this knowledge for protecting and exploiting these activities for a sustainable use in agroecosystems.

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Microbiom analyses - method development and bioinformatics

National Focal Centre of the UNECE ICP Vegetation

The ICP Vegetation was established in the late 1980s under the United Nation Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution (CLRTAP).The ICP Vegetation is an international research programme investigating the impacts of air pollutants on crops and (semi-)natural vegetation. The Thünen Institute of Biodiversity contributes to the programme and co-ordinates the German activities as a National Focal Centre.

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National Focal Centre of the UNECE ICP Vegetation

Ecological risks caused by genetic modifications?

Genetic modification methods are applied to generate crops and biotechnological products with new properties. Before such organisms reach the environment, their safety for humans, animals and the enviornment must be analyzed and confirmed.

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Ecological risks caused by genetic modifications?

Completed Projects

Effects of historical land-use on grassland communities

Does the structure and composition of landscapes in the 19th and 20th century have persistent effects on current communities of arthropods and plants in grasslands? We investigate this question in the frame of the Biodiversity Exploratories.

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Effects of historical land-use on grassland communities

DiverIMPACTS

The overall goal of DiverIMPACTS is to achieve the full potential of diversification of cropping systems for improved productivity, delivery of ecosystem services and resource-efficient and sustainable value chains.

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DiverIMPACTS

RELEVANT

In RELEVANT, the effect of crop diversification with field bean and pea on the diversity of pollinators and epigeic predatory arthropods and the ecosystem services provided by those are quantified and assessed.

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RELEVANT

Concept of soil bioindicators for arable soils

Bioindicators, which are based on knowledge of soil biodiversity and ecosystem services, are pivotal for assessing sustainability of land use change and management measures.

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Interaction of CO2 and drought in barley

Plant growth and yield of C3 crops are known to be positively affected by elevated CO2. It is also known that intraspecific variability in the response to CO2 exists among genotypes, however, it is unclear how drought can modify the genetic variability in the responses of crop species to elevated CO2. Our study aims to investigate the interaction between drought and elevated CO2 on barley genotypes .

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MEDIATE

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Targeted schemes for increasing agrobiodiversity

MEDIATE deals with the problem of biodiversity decline in intensively managed agricultural regions. It follows a participitary approach in two rural districts of Lower Saxony. Economy, ecology and acceptance are in the focus of the task.

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Targeted schemes for increasing agrobiodiversity

Ant assemblages in upland grasslands

Abandonment and underuse result in loss of area and habitat quality of upland grasslands. In the present study we use ants as indicators for the assessment of land-use options for the maintenance of permanent grassland.

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Ant assemblages in upland grasslands

Cultivation of legumes and catch crop mixtures as ecological focus areas: Effects on biodiversity

The EU seeks to counteract the ongoing loss of biodiversity in agricultural landscapes through the greening measures of the CAP. Legumes and many catch crop mixtures have been acknowledged as ecological focus areas. By means of both, legumes and catch crop mixtures, it is intended to promote the spatial and temporal diversification of the agricultural landscape and increase potential habitats to promote biodiversity. Here, we conduct a literature review with the goal of determining whether these expectations hold true. Moreover, we aim to investigate the relative importance of factors such as ...

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Cultivation of legumes and catch crop mixtures as ecological focus areas: Effects on biodiversity

REWATSO

Treated wastewater represents an imporant opportunity to combine water supply with nutrient additions in growing crops and vegatables in regions limited by freshwater. Risks associated with the possible presence of pathogenic bacteria must however first be managed.

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REWATSO

Effect of elevated CO2 concentrations on nitrogen uptake and remobilisation in the grain of wheat

As previously published, the rise of the atmospheric CO2 concentration will increase grain yield of wheat, however, grain protein content and thus grain quality will be impaired. This will be a substantial problem for food security, which has to be managed by cultivation and breeding measures.

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Effect of elevated CO2 concentrations on nitrogen uptake and remobilisation in the grain of wheat

AMIGA - Microbiome Analyses of Maize and Potatoes

The objective of this EU project is to consider the importance of different biogeographical regions for the risk assessment (ERA) of genetically modified crops intended to be cultivated in Europe.

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AMIGA - Microbiome Analyses of Maize and Potatoes

Comparative lifecycle assessment of anaerobic digestion

The project will deliver an LCA tool for use by DEFRA and other stakeholders to assess the environmental consequences of various anaerobic digestion (AD) and bioenergy options, from a comprehensive life cycle perspective that includes all upstream and land use change consequences.

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Comparative lifecycle assessment of anaerobic digestion

Clostridum botulinum - A risk for agricultural biogas production plants?

Clostridia are bacteria which are highly abundant in biogas production plants during the fermentation of organic substances. Is it possible, that among those bacteria, also problematic clostridia could grow?

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Clostridum botulinum - A risk for agricultural biogas production plants?

Soil microbial communities - microhabitats support diversity

The biogeochemical interfaces (BGIs) are the organo-mineral surface of soil particles colonized by microorganisms. Depending on the particle size fraction, they can be characterized by distinct physicochemical properties.

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Soil microbial communities - microhabitats support diversity

Reduced tillage for soil life

Healthy soils are characterised by high biological diversity. We are investigating the influence of temporarily reduced tillage in organic farming on earthworms, springtails and yields.

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Reduced tillage for soil life

Short rotation agroforestry systems

We investigate alley-cropping systems which combine the production of woody biomass as energy feedstock with conventional field crops in Germany. The aim is an ecological assessment of this novel land-use type.

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Short rotation agroforestry systems

Comparison of root growth of maize and sorghum under climate change

Sorghum is a C4 crop adapted to warm growing conditions and has a high growth potential under restricted water availability due its high water use efficiency. Thus, this plant might be an alternative bioenergy crop to maize especially under future climate conditions with increasing summer drought in Europe. However, root growth and the processes related to the acquisition of water have not yet been investigated for Sorghum under the climatic conditions in Central Europe. Moreover, the interaction with elevated atmospheric CO2 concentrations has not yet been studied.

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Comparison of root growth of maize and sorghum under climate change

Risk to wheat yield by heat stress during anthesis

Recent modeling studies addressing the effect of future climate change on wheat revealed that drought stress and especially heat stress will substantially impair the yield stability of wheat not only in Germany and Europe but also on a global level. The algorithm in the model for the assessment of the heat stress effect on total plant and especially on grain growth is based on previous experimental studies done in controlled environment chambers or in green houses.

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Risk to wheat yield by heat stress during anthesis

Agrobiodiversity and resilience to climate change

Diversification of agricultural production from the genetic to the landscape level is often claimed as a possible measure to better adapt to climate change. However, the role of agrobiodiversity at these different levels of biological organization remains a matter of debate. This project will summarize the information related to this topic with a focus on the German situation in the form of a written report.

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Agrobiodiversity and resilience to climate change

Impact of ozone on biodiversity

Tropospheric ozone is considered as the most significant phytotoxic pollutant in the atmosphere. The project will provide a synthesis of current knowledge on the effects of ozone on biodiversity and ecosystem services. Modelling and mapping approaches are used to analyze the risk of current ozone exposure levels for the vegetation in Germany.

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Impact of ozone on biodiversity

Agroecological assessment of the cup plant (Silphium perfoliatum L.)

The cup plant (Silphium perfoliatum L.) is a permanent energy crop which could complement maize as a feedstock for biogas. We investigate the importance of Silphium for biodiversity within the agroecosystem.

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Agroecological assessment of the cup plant (Silphium perfoliatum L.)

Assessment of the cup plant based on soil biodiversity

The cup plant (Silphium perfoliatum) with its high yielding ability is a promising candidate for biomass production to counteract short maize crop rotations and monotonous agricultural landscapes. The perennial lifecycle, a long-lasting flowering period as well as low tillage and low requirements of plant protection measures imply positive effects on biodiversity and ecosystem services.

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Assessment of the cup plant based on soil biodiversity

Earthworm-based test system applied for environmental risk assessment

The present project is part of a EU consortium (AMIGA), which aims mainly at providing baseline data on biodiversity in agro-ecosystems in the EU, defining suitable bioindicators for various European regions, improving knowledge on potential long term environmental effects of genetically modified (GM) plants and testing the efficacy of the EFSA Guidance Document for the Environmental Risk Assessment (ERA) of GMPs.

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Earthworm-based test system applied for environmental risk assessment

Pool of information on earthworms and collembolans

The meta-database "Edaphobase" is a powerful tool for soil biodiversity science which is accessible to the public.

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Climate change: more advantageous for sorghum or maize

For to ensure an efficient plant biomass production in the future, the climatic changes as predicted by the IPCC, i.e. increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration, temperature and summer drought, has to be considered. Currently, the C4 crop maize has the greatest biomass yield and is the mostly used energy crop. Sorghum has also C4-photosynthesis and a similar growth habit but is better to warm sites and has a higher drought tolerance as compared to maize. at present there are efforts to grow sorghum as an alternativ to maize for to extend crop rotation and shift the area for cultivation to ...

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Climate change: more advantageous for sorghum or maize

Biological control of phytopathogenic fungi

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How respond soil organisms to soil tillage systems?

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Responses of barley genotypes to elevated CO2

Plant growth and yield of C3 crops are known to be positively affected by elevated CO2. It is known that intraspecific variability in the response to CO2 exists among genotypes, however, a systematic evaluation of a broader set of genotypes under field conditions is lacking. Our study aims to investigate the genetic potential in barley in the adaptation to the predicted increase in elevated CO2.

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Responses of barley genotypes to elevated CO2

Effectc of future climate change on crop yield and quality

Given the increase of the atmospheric CO2 concentration and associated changes in climate (warming, heat, drought) it is essential to estimate the effect of these climate changes on growth, yield and yield quality of crops and on future food security.The objective of the present project is to examine the effect of future atmospheric CO2 concentrations in combination with other important growth limiting factors on crop growth, yield and yield quality. In addition to the atmospheric CO2 concentration the effect of other factors of climate change (drought, warming, heat) are also investigated in ...

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Effectc of future climate change on crop yield and quality

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