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Ecoinformatics and Biodiversity

People and society depend on Earth’s large biological diversity. At the same time the complex ecological systems that support biodiversity constitutes one of the most fascinating aspects of our world. Land use, globalization and climate change are causing major changes in the Earth's environment. Therefore, it is a key challenge to understand biodiversity and the dynamics of ecological systems in time and space. Understanding these patterns and processes is the focus of our research in the Section for Ecoinformatics and Biodiversity.

What determines species diversity?

Biodiversity and ecosystems vary considerably spatially and temporally. The factors that determine this variation are central in our research. We explore the underlying mechanisms, and we investigate impacts of humans on biodiversity and ecosystems. We also examine how people depend on biodiversity and ecosystem services, how nature and the environment can be managed, and how future changes can be predicted. One focal point in our research is understanding the impacts of climate on biodiversity over time and space. 

”Big data” ecology

Much of our research uses a "big data" approach to ecology, or ecoinformatics. Ecoinformatics is based on management and analysis of large amounts of data. Huge amounts of biodiversity and ecological data are being assembled via cyber infrastructure efforts, remote sensing and field-based monitoring programs, and citizen science, for example on plants and animal occurrences, species’ evolutionary relations and ecological functions, and the structure, dynamics, and functioning of ecosystems. With web-based data portals data accessibility is therefore rapidly increasing. Increases in computational power furthermore now enable us to handle such large amounts of data to examine complex questions, for example effects of climate change on large numbers of species across big regions.