How ecosystems and biogeochemical cycles interact with changes in climate, land use and diversity is the central challenge for research at the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry. In order to answer this question, it is not sufficient to merely register the present state of the total system and record the changes caused by human influence. Specific experiments must be performed to reveal functional relationships; and climatic conditions of the past must be studied, using paleoclimatological and paleoecological methods, to draw conclusions about the adaptability of organisms in the future.
A high degree of integration is required between scientific disciplines, and a strong link is necessary between modeling and observation, as well as between theoretical and experimental research.
The Institute’s program includes the planning and implementation of critical model experiments, comparison between models and observations, and the combination of paleo-data and experimental results. Biologists, meteorologists, geologists, chemists and mathematicians work closely together in 3 departments, supported by central facilities for chemical and stable isotope analysis, 14C analysis, computing, and field campaign organization.
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