Universiteit Leiden

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Onderzoeksprogramma

Conservation Biology

De afdeling richt zich op het verbeteren van het wetenschappelijk begrip in de relatie tussen mens en natuur. Hoe beïnvloedt menselijk handelen (via b.v. klimaatverandering, landgebruiksverandering en de emissie van mogelijk toxische verbindingen) de natuur in het algemeen en de biodiversiteit en ecosysteem functioneren in het bijzonder? En: Hoe kwantificeren we de afhankelijkheid van de mens voor de ecosysteemdiensten die door de natuur worden geleverd? Door deze onderzoekslijnen op verschillende schaalniveaus te combineren genereren we richtlijnen om de natuur optimaal te beschermen en in de toekomst duurzaam te kunnen blijven gebruiken.

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Peter van Bodegom

We live in the Anthropocene, the age where humans constitute the dominant driver of changes to the Earth Systeme. That is why it is of prime importance to understand the interactions between biodiversity and mankind. At the Conservation Biology department we aim to achieve such understanding through mechanistic quantitative research at the multiple scales at which this interaction is expressed.

At the species level, we study the processes through which anthropogenic stressors affect individuals and populations, e.g. by studying uptake routes of nano particles, toxicity mechanisms of pesticides or adaptive responses to climate change.

Human impacts translate into community and ecosystem responses, which are studied by field experiments and process-based ecosystem modeling in combination with community and traits analyses.  

In combination, the impacts of multiple anthropogenic stressors on biodiversity can be obtained to understand and predict human impacts on regional and global biodiversity patterns, now and in the near future.

While nature is negatively affected by various activities, mankind simultaneously depends on many services provided by ecosystems. From an increased fundamental understanding on the links between individuals and ecosystem functions, we can better determine and predict how ecosystem services relate to biodiversity.

By quantifying this interplay between man and nature, we aim to raise appreciation for our natural resources and to conserve biodiversity.

This vision is integrally translated into our education. This to make students aware of the challenges involved and of the links between environmental research and society. Moreover, in our various research projects we tackle one or more of these challenges. In combination, a better comprehension of the critical role of biodiversity is obtained.