Humans are currently responsible for the sixth worldwide mass extinction of biodiversity, threatening human wellbeing and life on earth in general. In facing these challenges, it is critical we have a firm understanding of nature. 

In the field of ecology and evolution, there are multiple questions that still need answering such as what drives the dynamics of complex systems, how plants organize ecosystems, how natural functions are distributed (both taxonomically and spatially) and what determines the seemingly ubiquitous patterns of diversity within and between taxonomic levels.