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BIBS - Bridging in Biodiversity Science

Bridging in Biodiversity Science (BIBS)

BIBS lies at the core of the Berlin-Brandenburg Institute of Advance Biodiversity Research (BBIB), an initiative with the aim to bridge disciplines, scales and systems in biodiversity research. BIBS is a three-year project (starting in spring 2016) funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and brings together many partners (Freie Universität Berlin, Universität Potsdam, Technische Universität Berlin , Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie & Binnenfischerei IGB, Leibniz-Institut für Zoo- & Wildtierforschung IZW, Museum für Naturkunde Berlin & Leibniz-Institut für Evolutions- & Biodiversitätsforschung an der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Potsdam-Institut für Klimafolgenforschung PIK, Leibniz-Zentrum für Agrarlandschaftsforschung  ZALF) aiming to practice the bridging approach.

The BIBS project provides a large scale experimental platform for the investigation of transitions in biodiversity, with a special focus on ‘bridging’ between ecosystem types (aquatic and terrestrial), environments (urban, agricultural, rural), communities (above- and below-ground), and types of species composition (novel vs natural ecosystems). These four areas of interest are investigated within different Work Packages (WPs), with WP1  (ScapeLabs Experimental Platform) sitting at the interface of the other four WPs.

Work Package 1: ScapeLabs Experimental Platform

ScapeLabs stands for LandscapeLaboratories, based on the concept of using experimental platforms to study biodiversity at the landscape scale. The BIBS project includes three types of ScapeLabs: the AgroScapeLabs, the CityScapeLabs and the LakeScapeLabs.  Field work within our group will focus on the AgroScapeLabs, consisting of a mixture habitat types (e.g. dry grasslands, agricultural fields, forest) within a wider agricultural area located in Uckermark, northeast Brandenburg (Germany). Through a combination of field studies and a modelling approach, we aim to understand the role of certain landscape aspects (e.g. spatial scale, land use history) on plant diversity.

Field work

In an extensive field study within the AgroScapeLabs we investigate the importance of local and landscape factors in determining biodiversity in different habitat types. Hereby, we focus on the predominant habitats in the landscape, such as forests, arable fields (in cooperation with ZALF), dry grasslands and mesic grasslands. Our analyses are guided by the question whether observed relationships change with the spatial scale under consideration. Moreover, we investigate the historical development of land use in the region (also in cooperation with ZALF) and include this information into our analyses. Finally, we aim at a deeper understanding of the factors and processes that drive biodiversity in agricultural landscapes.

Project coordination

Dr. Kolja Bergholz

Michael Ristow


Associated scientists

Michael Glemnitz (ZALF)

Monika Wulf (ZALF)


Modelling aspect

Questions regarding the relationship between spatial processes, plant-plant interactions, and biodiversity will be investigated from a conceptual perspective. In particular, we will apply an individual based model to better understand how transitions in plant diversity depend on: i) properties of the landscape (e.g. fragmentation, habitat amount), ii) plant interactions and traits, and iii) external forcing such as climatic variability. Furthermore, we will search for patterns that may precede such transitions, and investigate the possible emergence of mechanisms that buffer against these transitions. The insights from the modelling study will be linked to the results of the field studies to provide a more holistic understanding of the processes shaping plant diversity at the landscape scale. The modelling work will be carried out by Jette Reeg and results will be evaluated in close cooperation with Lina Weiß, Kolja Bergholz, and Michael Ristow.