In the framework of an initiative to advance biodiversity research in Germany, we established three exemplary large-scale and long-term research sites (funded by the German Research Foundation). They are termed Biodiversity Exploratories, in contrast to mainly descriptive observatories. The exploratories sustain the scientific infrastructure to develop the intellectual framework needed to address critical questions about changes in biodiversity and to evaluate the impacts of those changes for ecosystem processes. Thus, in the exploratories biodiversity and ecosystem research will be merged at a large scale and with a long-term perspective.
In the first phase 2006-09 the exploratories addressed the relationship between land-use intensity, biodiversity change, and ecosystem functioning for selected taxa. In 2008 the exploratories integrated further contributing projects proposed by the German research community. Thus, the biodiversity exploratories serve as a stimulating research platform for the whole German biodiversity research community.
Comprehensive data are collected for about ten years: In the Hainich, in the Swabian Alb and in the Schorfheide scientist examining from all over Germany Biodiversity and analyze ecosystem processes. Computer scientists from the University of Jena now publish first data from the Biodiversity exploratories on internet, to make it so for further research available.