Photo: Rob Barber/Lens on Life

bioDISCOVERY is an international research programme fostering collaborative interdisciplinary activities on biodiversity and ecosystem science. Using a network approach, we advance the use of observations, indicators and scenarios to support policy and decision-making for informed global environmental management.

Our Mission:

To promote and advance interdisciplinary collaborative research on feedbacks between global change drivers, and the biodiversity, functioning and services of natural ecosystems. Our science supports decision-making and policies that ensure the conservation and sustainable biodiversity worldwide.

Synthesis and catalysing work forms the backbone of bioDISCOVERY’s activities, which are centred around three focal areas:

1. Monitoring & Observations

Monitoring biodiversity change on various scales allows us to track responses of species, communities and ecosystems to environmental change, and to identify the drivers of observed responses to change. Improved observations make an important contribution to building better models and scenarios.

Our work focuses on the on the “nuts and bolts” of doing better science in observations, from remote sensing to in-situ measuring of biodiversity (on all levels, from genes to ecosystems), traits and ecosystem function. It includes experiments (from micro-evolution to remote sensing) as additional tools to better understand observations at multiple scales, given that experiments are fundamental to deciphering cause and effect relationships in observed phenomena and to understanding drivers of observed changes.

2. Scenarios & Models

Models of biodiversity, ecosystem function and ecosystem services enhance our understanding of (recent) past and future biodiversity change in response to multiple natural and anthropogenic drivers, and thus improve our understanding of the consequences of biodiversity change for ecosystem function and ecosystem service provision. An improved understanding of the underlying mechanisms of biodiversity and ecosystem change allows us to more accurately predict and better respond to future changes under different (policy) scenarios. 

In this component, the work focuses on the development of scenarios that include additional policy options for conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services to enrich the current suite of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Shared Socioeconomic Pathway (SSP) scenarios, and to examine the impacts of the different policy options on biodiversity and ecosystem services. Rigorous benchmarking of biodiversity models and analyses of uncertainty arising from multi-model comparisons provide improved, quantitative projections of future change.

3. Supporting Assessment Bodies

The predictive outputs of robust biodiversity and ecosystem models, using sound scenarios, provide clearer and stronger messages to decision- and policy-makers, and support the development of effective policy in the face of global environmental change.

Here, we will support international assessments in a policy context, in particular the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), and the Convention on Biological Diversity Global Biodiversity Outlook, but also IPCC and other assessments that rely on information on biodiversity and ecosystems.

For more information on current and planned activities, and for opportunities to engage and contribute, contact the bioDISCOVERY International Project Office (IPO).

bioDISCOVERY was launched by DIVERSITAS, an international research programme on biodiversity science. bioDISCOVERY became a core project of Future Earth in 2015. The IPO of bioDISCOVERY has been hosted by the University of Zurich since January 2017.

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