The Biodiversity Exploratories Office (BEO) organises an assembly of all BE-members once a year. These meetings are very lively, communicative and of great importance for the scientific exchange within the research platform. They are a great opportunity to meet all project members and strengthen further collaboration and synthesis, as well as hearing key speaker and stakeholders and their needs.

Enclosed you will find contributions from the last BE Assemblies of the Biodiversity Exploratories, which always take place at the beginning of each year.

Enclosed you will find presentations of the keynote speakers of the BE Assembly 2021:

The 2018 Annual General Meeting of the Ecological Society of America (ESA) took place in New Orleans, Louisiana.

At the meeting, Explorers organised a session on the Exploratories: ‘The Biodiversity Exploratories: A Unique Long Term Platform to Understand Causes and Functional Consequences of Biodiversity Change’. The session was promoted with the following synopsis:

A major current issue in ecology is to understand biodiversity-ecosystem functioning relationships in natural ecosystems. Key emerging questions are: how does global change affect biodiversity at multiple trophic levels? What are the functional consequences of these multitrophic biodiversity changes? And how do different functions and services respond to biodiversity and global change? Only by analysing large integrated datasets can we make progress on these issues.
Our session presents insights from a research platform, the German Biodiversity Exploratories, which has been exploring biodiversity-functioning relationships, in grasslands and forests, for over 10 years. There is a common study design: 300 sites were selected to cover a wide range of land-use and management intensities. Many research groups (currently 68) collaborate to take measurements on these sites and have assembled uniquely comprehensive datasets with diversity and composition measures for many organisms (including soil microbes, arthropods, plants, birds and plant pathogens) and multiple ecosystem functions, (measures of nutrient and carbon cycling and biotic interactions) some of which are proxies for ecosystem services.
Our comparative approach is complemented with experiments looking at effects of disturbance on resilience. In this session we will introduce the design of this research platform, discuss the major findings and will conclude with an overview of the main advances in functional ecology and implications of the results for conservation and management.
The discussion afterwards will focus on research approaches to understand complex real-world biodiversity functioning relationships and the value of integrated research programmes in functional biodiversity research.

Please see below for recorded contributions.