Understand the past; predict the future

Palaeoecology studies past environmental dynamics by means of palaeo-reconstructions combined with experiments and observations to understand past and present behavior of biota in relation to humans, climate and natural competition. For our environmental reconstructions we use a selection of vegetation related biota and organic compounds that are sensitive to changes on annual to millennial timescales and which are abundantly available in the fossil record. Our reconstructions and concepts help to constrain scenarios of future changes on regional and global scales, and document the history of man’s interaction with nature.

Our research covers three areas:

  • Terrestrial systems: landscape and climate histories based on pollen and macrofossil records
  • Atmospheric systems: plant adaptations to changes in atmospheric composition
  • Aquatic systems: freshwater ecology and diversity influenced by humans and climate