Bridging in Biodiversity Science (BIBS)

WP1: ScapeLabs Experimental Platform | WP2: Aquatic-terrestrial coupling

Aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems are tightly linked through flows of energy, materials, and organisms. At the landscape scale, these reciprocal flows are controlled by the structure and spatial configuration of individual ecosystem types, and the linkages between them, thereby forming so-called meta-ecosystems. We hypothesize that the quantity and quality of aquatic- terrestrial coupling control the structure and function of communities in inland water bodies, with large consequences for biodiversity and ecological processes at the ecosystem and landscape scale. Therefore, WP 1+2 aims at evaluating mechanisms and processes underlying the structural and functional biodiversity of contrasting aquatic ecosystems influenced to varying degrees by terrestrial subsidies (organic carbon and nutrients) and, possibly, by contaminants from agricultural practices. Thereby, WP 1 will provide the ScapeLabs Experimental Platform as infrastructure. Feedback effects of shifts in aquatic communities on predatory invertebrates at the boundary between terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems will also be assessed. WP 2 aims to quantify the consequences of subsidy pulses between aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems on the functional performance of individual ecosystems, and it develops a meta-ecosystem model through the integration of the different biodiversity components. To achieve these goals, WP 2 will use and integrate information on biodiversity and ecosystem functioning at different spatial and temporal scales, spanning from the genetic diversity of selected populations to whole communities and from short-term processes such extreme weather events to multi-annual variability including global climate change. Guided by food-web, network and meta-ecosystem theory, WP 2 will consider species, genetic, functional-trait and ecosystem diversity through a balanced use of observational, experimental, and modeling approaches.

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Short Profile


(Dept. 3) Plankton and Microbial Ecology
(Dept. 5) Evolutionary and Integrative Ecology
Research Domain
Aquatic Biodiversity in the Anthropocene
Coordinator, Speaker WP2
Coordinator, Speaker WP2
Funded by


Contact person

Mark Gessner

Head of Department
Research group
Ecosystem Processes

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