Biodiversity, Evolution and Ecology
Biodiversity, evolution and ecology are closely linked. Both functional and causal. They interact with each other. Therefore, our research unit is focused on integrative research on these three phenomena. Biodiversity, the diversity of the living, is created through evolution: in this area we reconstruct evolutionary processes, key innovations and phylogeneses in time and space and in adaptation to changing environmental conditions using modern methods. In the field of ecology, we investigate how the evolving characteristics of organisms control and shape the functions and services of ecosystems, but also how environmental conditions, climate change and land use change either promote or damage certain groups of organisms or even endanger their existence.
This basic knowledge allows us to carry out applied research in which we develop concepts and instruments for sustainable land and resource use and contribute to the management of protected areas and endangered species. The unifying central theme is biodiversity, the diversity of genes, species and ecosystems. Here we record the diversity of organisms and the ecosystemic functions and services they support, using the biological research collections of the Herbarium Hamburgense and the Botanical Gardens in combination with innovative databases as tools for the analysis of global datasets. At the same time, together with African colleagues, we operate a continental monitoring system to monitor biodiversity change. In all of these areas, we have focused our research efforts on the savannahs and arid regions of the world and on major projects in southern and northern Africa. Another note: The two research units of Prof. Norbert Jürgens and Prof. Jens Rohwer work very closely together, operate laboratories and use resources jointly.