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Our science supports decision-making and policies that ensure the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity worldwide.

bioDISCOVERY activities and initiatives promote and advance interdisciplinary collaborative research on feedbacks between global change drivers, and the biodiversity, functioning and services of natural ecosystems.

bioDISCOVERY was launched by DIVERSITAS, an international research programme on biodiversity science. bioDISCOVERY became a core project of Future Earth in 2015. The IPO of bioDISCOVERY has been hosted by the University of Zurich since January 2017.

Synthesis and catalysing work forms the backbone of bioDISCOVERY’s activities, which are centred around three focal areas:

1. Monitoring & Observations

Monitoring biodiversity change on various scales allows us to track responses of species, communities and ecosystems to environmental change. Monitoring also enables us to identify the drivers of these observed responses to change. Improved observations make an important contribution to building better models and scenarios of biodiversity change, and to anticipate potential future change.
Our work focuses on the “nuts and bolts” of doing better science in observations, from remote sensing to in-situ measuring of biodiversity, traits and ecosystem function. Experiments are an important component of this, as they are tools to better understand observations, as they help to decipher cause and effect relationships in observed phenomena and to understand the drivers of observed changes in more detail.

2. Scenarios & Models

Models of biodiversity, ecosystem function and ecosystem services help us to understanding how biodiversity has (in the recent past) changed in response to multiple natural and anthropogenic drivers, and how future change might look like. This improves our understanding of the consequences of biodiversity change for ecosystem function and ecosystem service provision. A better understanding of the underlying mechanisms of biodiversity and ecosystem change then allows us to more accurately predict and better respond to future changes under different (policy) scenarios.
Our work focuses on the development of scenarios that include policy options for conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services, and to examine the impacts of the different policy options on biodiversity and ecosystem services. Comparing the output of a variety of biodiversity models and analyses of uncertainty arising from these multi-model comparisons provide improved, quantitative projections of future change.

3. Supporting Assessment Bodies
The predictive outputs of robust biodiversity and ecosystem models, using sound scenarios, provide clearer and stronger messages to decision- and policy-makers, and support the development of effective policy in the face of global environmental change.
Our work will support international assessments in a policy context, in particular the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), but also IPCC and other assessments that rely on information on biodiversity and ecosystems.

«Earth observations provide measures of taxonomic, functional and structural diversity (or their proxies)
at various spatial and temporal scales»

“Understanding how biodiversity and ecosystems respond to environmental change
helps to identify how to cure biodiversity loss, and to understand which contributions biodiversity and ecosystems
can make to solving global problems.”

Dr. rer. nat. Cornelia KrugDirector of bioDISCOVERY