Development of a classification and assessment concept based on biodiversity of water and soil organisms regarding the effects of climate change and anthropogenic stressors

In July 2008, a new interdisciplinary research centre was founded in Frankfurt am Main (Germany) within the framework of the LOEWE Programme, a State Government of Hesse initiative for the development of scientific and economic excellence. The mission of the new centre (BiK-F) is to carry out internationally outstanding research on the interactions of organismic biodiversity and climate (for details see ECT is involved in two subprojects: In C.1, the influence of warm and dry summers on the composition of forests is studied, in particular with regard to changes in species compositions (e.g. the occurrence of Mediterranean oaks in Central Europe). Using two forest sites in Southern Hesse, which are characterized by low groundwater levels and sandy soils, as examples, it is investigated whether the ecological services provided by local soil organism communities are affected when litter from introduced oaks is offered as food to them. In parallel, the diversity of selected invertebrate groups (earthworms, enchytraeids, nematodes) is regularly determined. The second subproject, C.4, aims to understand the prospective ecosystem stress responses and adaptive potential of species and communities to multiple stressors to provide reliable predictions of future developments in different environments. Long-term experiments with various soil organisms (e.g. microbes, enchytraeids, springtails, earthworms) are conducted under IPCC predicted climate conditions under laboratory and semi-field conditions. In addition, co-stressors such as pesticides (an insecticide and a fungicide) are introduced to test for interactions.