Please note: There are only 60 seats for each excursion destination. These will be allocated applying the ‘first come first serve’ principle.

This page is due to updates until registration opens.


Destination 1: Hainich National Park

Biodiversity Exploratories

Visit LTER Site in Hainich and a Canopy Walk

The Nationalpark Hainich and its surroundings are one of the three regions were the Biodiversity-Exploratories (BE) – a large-scale and long-term functional biodiversity research project conduct their research.

The Biodiversity Exploratories are a German Science Foundation-funded research. The exploratories serve as an open research platform for all biodiversity and ecosystem research groups of Germany.

Study Objectives:

  • understanding of the relationship between biodiversity of different taxa and levels
  • role of land use and management for biodiversity and
  • role of biodiversity for ecosystem processes

More information: http://www.biodiversity-exploratories.de/startseite/

On a guided tour to a forest plot, you will get introduced to the Biodiversity Exploratories and their plots. There you will get to know ongoing experiments and specifics.

In addition, a visit to the nearby Canopy Walk is planned.

Bus journey: 1:30 hour + Walk: 20 min

2 hour guided tour from members of the Local Management Teams from the Biodiversity Exploratories

Destination 2: Bad Lauchstädt

The iDiv Ecotron

Biodiversity-ecosystem functioning research under controlled environmental conditions

The Ecotron is a joint research platform from German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) and the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ). It is an indoor research facility housing a set of 24 identical experimental units, called EcoUnits, each of which will harbour one to four isolated ecosystems confined in compartments. Species assemblages within ecosystems can be manipulated above and below the ground, varying horizontal diversity (i.e. the number of species within a trophic level) and vertical diversity (i.e. the number of trophic levels). Ecological processes in the Ecotron can be measured with non-invasive methods, while environmental conditions are either controlled for the whole set of replicates (air temperature) or for each replicate individually (e.g. irrigation, illumination, soil temperature).

More information: https://www.idiv.de/en/research/platforms_and_networks/idiv_ecotron.html

Global Change Experimental Facility

Research on climatic change on ecosystems under different land use scenarios

The GCEF is a field experiment which allows the investigation of the effects of future climatic conditions on ecosystem processes under different land use scenarios. Especially higher temperatures and altered precipitation pattern in Central Germany are simulated on five different land use types. The facility is equipped with 50 plots having a size of 16 m x 24 m.

Research focus

  • Impact of climate change on ecosystem functions under different land-use regimes
  • Influences on community structure, especially food web structure and species interactions
  • Effects on soil functions, especially structure and function of the soil biota community and processes related to nutrient cycling
  • The importance of and the effects on genetic diversity and microevolutionary processes

More information: http://www.ufz.de/index.php?en=40038

Bus journey: 1:30 hour

1 hour guided tour at each facility

Destination 3: Jena

Jena Experiment

Coordinated investigation of above-ground and below-ground consumers and processes

The Jena Experiment is one of the longest-running biodiversity experiments in Europe. We have been studying biodiversity effects in experimental grassland communities for more than 10 years. This coordinated investigation of above-ground and below-ground consumers and processes, includes a full quantification of the most important element cycles, which will be used to unravel the mechanisms underlying biodiversity effects on ecosystem functioning.

More information: http://www.the-jena-experiment.de/

Phyletisches Museum

Founded by Ernst Haeckel, the Phyletisches Museum is a globally unique institution. It is not just a natural history museum, but has been, from the start, a place dedicated to illustrating the development of life. Its main areas of focus are phylogeny and the theory of evolution, and it also celebrates the meeting of art and nature. The façade of the Art nouveau building, itself a cultural monument, is adorned with two important terms which Haeckel coined in Jena: Ontogenie (ontogeny) and Phylogenie (phylogeny).

More information: http://www.phyletisches-museum.uni-jena.de/exhibition-information.html

1 hour guided tour at each facility