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.
Most of our work focuses on abiotic and biotic relationships. These include species like decomposers (earthworms, arthropods and microbes), producers (plants), and consumers (herbivorous arthropods or parasitoids). We integrate information from greenhouse tests, mesocosm studies and field experimentation at multiple sites. Combined with data mining, and modelling our integrative approach is intended to provide insights in ecosystem functioning.
The design of the Jena Experiment allow to study management and land use effects (e.g. fertilization, climate change, bioenergy utilization) on species and species diversity. Our experiment has established itself as a platform of biodiversity research that is becoming more and more important in ecological long term research.