Report on the Sino-German-Swiss Symposium

“Linking Chinese and German Biodiversity Ecosystem Functioning research in forests”

Biodiversity researcher from China, Germany and Switzerland met from 04.-10. May in Halle and Tübingen to exchange their experience in Biodiversity-Ecosystem Functioning (BEF)-experiments, which have been conducted in China or Germany. The symposium was organized by Prof. Helge Bruelheide (Martin Luther University Halle Wittenberg) and Prof. Ma Keping (Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences) and had the aim to present and discuss the results from the different platforms.

Participants of the symposium

Fig. 1: Participants of the symposium in the Botanical Garden of the Institute of Biology / Geobotany of Martin Luther Universität Halle Wittenberg

In total, there were 43 participants in the symposium, among them 15 from China and 25 from Germany as well as researchers from Switzerland and USA. Beside an intensive exchange about the possibilities of multidisciplinary synthesis across the different experimente and observational studies, there was the opportunity to see the German Biodiversity platforms. Thus, they visited the Global Change Experimental Facilities (GCEF) and the tree diversity experiment in Kreinitz (Sachsen) of the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research UFZ as well as the German Centre of integrative biodiversity research (iDiv) of the universities Halle, Jena und Leipzig.

The Jena experiment

Fig. 2: Prof. Dr. Nico Eisenhauer explains the trait-based diversity experiment of the Jena experiment

The symposium took place at the Martin Luther Universität Halle Wittenberg and at the Eberhards Karl University Tübingen. This allowed to visit the experiments both in East and South Germany, such as the Jena experiment on grassland diversity, the BIOTREE tree BEF-experiment in Bechstedt (Thuringia) und the German Biodiversity Exploratories in the Schwäbische Alb. Thus, within the few days of the symposium the participants could acquire a profound knowledge on the central initiatives of DFG-funded German biodiversity research.

German Biodiversity Exploratories

Fig. 3: Soil sampling in one of the forest plots of the German Biodiversity Exploratories in the Schwäbischen Alb

A central result of the symposium were novel research ideas for future biodiversity experiments, which will be the backbone for a common proposal for a new German-Swiss Research Unit. Furthermore, all participants agreed that the amount of results already obtained on the different platforms meanwhile allows the compilation of synthesis data sets across all different experiments. The first steps in this direction and a discussion on publication ideas arising from these data sets were taken on this workshop.