Core project 10: Ecological Synthesis

Scientific investors:

Prof. Dr. Markus Fischer

Prof. Dr. Eric Allan

Dr. Caterina Penone (parental leave till 31.01.2020)

Dr. Hugo Saiz

Abiel Rindisbacher

Noëlle Schenk

(Uni Bern)

Dr. Peter Manning

Margot Neyret

(Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung, Frankfurt)


Dr. Fons van der Plas

(Uni Leipzig)

Dr. Santiago Soliveres

(Uni Alicante)

Dr. Malte Jochum

(iDiv Halle-Jena-Leipzig)

Truly general understanding of ecological systems requires a broad perspective and thus the synthesis of knowledge across taxa, ecological processes, as well as spatial and temporal scales. The Biodiversity Exploratories was set up to coordinate research efforts so that multiple data are collected in a common study design and the data therefore can be directly linked and compared. The aim of the synthesis core project is to ensure that these ecological syntheses are realized.



In the next phase we will conduct a series of comprehensive ecological syntheses that address the central questions of the Biodiversity Exploratories according to the following goals:

1. to address the question of how land use intensification affects biodiversity and species interactions by understanding the effect of land use on the the assembly of multitrophic communities.

2. to deal with the question of how biodiversity and land-use intensity affect ecosystem functioning and services by developping a more integrated understanding of multitrophic biodiversity-functioning relationships and by considering the role of biodiversity in promoting resilience.

3. to catalyse synthesis efforts of others by spreading the concepts and statistical methods for synthesis across the entire Biodiversity Exploratories. The synthesis project will create synergies and true added value across projects, in accordance with the main guiding questions of the Biodiversity Exploratories.


Selected publications

Allan E. et al. 2014. Interannual variation in land-use intensity enhances grassland multidiversity. PNAS, 111:308–313.  

Allan E. et al. 2015. Land use intensification alters ecosystem multifunctionality via loss of biodiversity and changes to functional composition. Ecol Lett 18:834–843.

Manning P. et al. 2015. Grassland management intensification weakens the association between of the biodiversity of multiple plant and animal taxa. Ecology 96 1492-1501.

Soliveres, S. et al. 2015. Intransitive competition is widespread in plant communities and maintains their species richness. Ecol Lett 18:790–798.

Soliveres S. et al.  2016. Locally rare species influence grassland ecosystem multifunctionality. Phil. Trans. Roy. Soc. B 371: 20150269.

Soliveres S. et al. 2016. Biodiversity at multiple trophic levels is needed for ecosystem multifunctionality. Nature 536, 456–459.


Further project contribution of Prof. Dr. Markus Fischer: Project speaker, BEO, Botany, SADE

Further project contribution of Dr. Peter Manning, Dr. Fons van der Plas: BEF-Up


Project in previous phases