Our working group is interested in mechanisms maintaining biodiversity and how biodiversity is affected by land-use changes, climate change and other human influences, particularly in agricultural landscapes. We focus on the ecology of invasive plant species, on ecosystem functions, on plant-soil interactions and on evolutionary ecology of plant species in the face of climate change. We use a wide range of study systems and perform field, lab and garden experiments. A major focus of current research projects is rural southern Africa. Besides we also study fungal diversity at local and regional scales. Our research activities are closely linked to the botanic garden of the University of Potsdam and to the Berlin-Brandenburg Institute of Advanced Biodiversity Research (BBIB, www.bbib.org). We collaborate with a number of national and international institutions.
Currently our scientific staff includes five scientists, 9 associated scientists, 13 PhD students and three Master students.