Ecology, Biodiversity & Conservation theme

You are here

Ecology, Biodiversity & Conservation Theme


Ecology is at the core of the major scientific task to understand and mitigate the effects of global change on our natural environment. We contribute to this task. We share a strong fascination for ecology, a concern about the loss of biodiversity and an associated urgent drive to reverse the current trend of biodiversity decline.

The mission of the research theme is to generate insights into ecological processes and interactions, and use these to inform and design effective strategies for the protection, restoration and sustainable management and use of ecosystems and biodiversity. We do this by delivering fundamental and applied ecological knowledge, at scales ranging from genes to ecosystems.

We mainly work on three main research lines:

  • deciphering the mechanisms supporting biodiversity and driving ecosystem functioning,
  • quantifying changes in biodiversity and ecosystem functioning and
  • evaluating the effectiveness of conservation and management measures.

Within these research lines, we combine empirical studies that make use of observational and experimental data, with modelling approaches. Our societal impact includes the development of transformative pathways leading to societies that can sustainably coexist with nature. We create the tools to support ecological restoration and sustainable resource use. Our societal impact is large at national and international levels: on biodiversity conservation on agricultural lands, nature-friendly and climate-smart forest management, wildlife conservation and rewilding. Our research frequently receives media attention, and we are often requested to comment on news and societal developments.