Navigation Links
ERC provides millions for biodiversity research

This release is available in German.

Leipzig: A group of researchers led by ecological modelling experts Dr Thorsten Wiegand and Dr Andreas Huth and funded by the European Research Council (ERC) has begun work at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) in Leipzig. The researchers will receive over EUR 2 million in research funding from the ERC over the next five years to investigate the composition and dynamics of species-rich communities. Advances in this area are important for biodiversity conservation in connection with climate and land use change, and for calculating carbon balances.

The European Research Council awards the ERC Advanced Grant to provide established, innovative and active researchers an opportunity to pursue frontier research of their choice. The formation of the ERC puts Europe's top researchers into direct open competition for the first time. The first call of the ERC Advanced Grants in life sciences received applications from 766 scientists worldwide. Seventy-eight projects were awarded on the sole criterion of excellence, with only 11 being selected from Germany.

The UFZ had already received a Starting Grant from the ERC in 2008. The group of new researchers led by microbiologist Prof. Lorenz Adrian is researching bacteria that convert chlorinated aromatic hydrocarbons. This makes the UFZ the first Helmholtz centre to have been awarded both a Starting Grant and an Advanced Grant from the ERC.

Over the coming years, the researchers in Thorsten Wiegand and Andreas Huth's team will be investigating why so many species are able to coexist in ecological communities like forests. Their SPATIODIVERSITY project ('Towards a unified spatial theory of biodiversity'), combines high computing power with the latest methods of spatial pattern analysis, individual-based forest simulation models and model selection theory to understand the factors and processes that govern the composition and dynamics of species-rich communities.

The scientific approach is based primarily on information contained in the spatial distribution of species, which has not yet been fully exploited. "To accomplish our goal, we take a radically different approach than previous attempts and adopt a spatially explicit perspective that will allow us to take significant steps towards a 'Unified Spatial Theory of Biodiversity'," explains Thorsten Wiegand. The researchers will be using one of the most extensive data sets currently available in the field of ecology - data from large, long-term research plots in tropical forests that are home to several hundred tree species and over 100,000 individual trees. The trees on these plots are surveyed every five years.

"The project consists of three components," explains Thorsten Wiegand. "In the first stage we will be using the latest spatial pattern analysis techniques to quantify the highly complex spatial structures in tropical forests." "At the same time," Andreas Huth adds, "We will be putting together a raft of individual-based, spatially explicit forest simulation models, ranging from simple 'neutral' models to detailed, process-based simulation models for forests. Our many years of experience of working with forest models such as FORMIND and FORMIX3 will be an advantage here." In the critical third step, the researchers will be applying model selection techniques to discover which of the simulation models best reflect the observed spatial structures. One of the particular challenges of the project is the high level of complexity of the spatial structures and interactions. The extensive analyses can only be successfully tackled in a large project and require a considerable amount of computing power.

Close partners of the project are Prof. Savitri Gunatilleke and Prof. Nimal Gunatilleke (University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka Plot), and Prof. Sean Thomas (University of Toronto, Malaysia Plot). The project is being supported by Prof. Steven Hubbell, Dr Richard Condit and Dr Stuart Davis, who head the network of research plots in tropical forests organised by the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. There are plans to involve more researchers in the project.


Contact: Tilo Arnhold
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres

Related biology news :

1. Joint US-Norwegian study provides new insights into marine ecosystems and fisheries production
2. TGen provides Arizona with $77 million in annual economic impact
3. All tied up: Tethered protein provides long-sought answer
4. World-first swine-flu vaccine trial reveals one dose provides strong immune response
5. Neuropathic pain: The sea provides a new hope of relief
6. UC San Diego engineer provides insights to decades-old DNA squabble
7. Study by NTU professors provides important insight into apoptosis or programmed cell death
8. Down Under dinosaur burrow discovery provides climate change clues
9. NSF provides $3.4 million to study climatically important Agulhas Current
10. Mouse model provides clues to human language development
11. Domestication of Capsicum annuum chile pepper provides insights into crop origin and evolution
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
ERC provides millions for biodiversity research
(Date:11/10/2015)... 10, 2015 About signature ... helps to identify and verify the identity of ... as the secure and accurate method of authentication ... particular individual because each individual,s signature is highly ... when dynamic signature of an individual is compared ...
(Date:11/2/2015)... Calif. , Nov. 2, 2015  SRI International ... million to provide preclinical development services to the National ... contract, SRI will provide scientific expertise, modern testing and ... variety of preclinical pharmacology and toxicology studies to evaluate ... --> The PREVENT Cancer Drug Development Program ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... 2015  Rubicon Genomics, Inc., today announced an ... its DNA library preparation products, including the ThruPLEX ... Plasma-seq kit. ThruPLEX Plasma-seq has been optimized for ... libraries for liquid biopsies--the analysis of cell-free circulating ... in cancer and other conditions. Eurofins Scientific is ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... LUMPUR, Malaysia , Nov. 24, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... global contract research organisation (CRO) market. The trend ... result in lower margins but higher volume share ... increased capacity and scale, however, margins in the ... Research Organisation (CRO) Market ( ), ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... VANCOUVER , Nov. 24, 2015 /CNW/ - iCo ... ICOTF), today reported financial results for the quarter ... are expressed in Canadian dollars and presented under ... the United States ," said Andrew ... "These advancements regarding iCo-008 are not only value ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Global, Inc., a worldwide provider of clinical research services headquartered in ... company has set a new quarterly earnings record in Q3 of ... for Q3 of 2014 to Q3 of 2015.   ... with the establishment of an Asia-Pacific office ... Kingdom and Mexico , with the ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... LEXINGTON, Massachusetts , November 24, 2015 ... Officer, will participate in the Piper Jaffray 27 th Annual ... on Tuesday, December 1, 2015, at 8:30 a.m. EST (1:30 p.m. ... Poulton , Chief Financial Officer, will participate in the Piper Jaffray ... City , NY on Tuesday, December 1, 2015, at 8:30 ...
Breaking Biology Technology: