Outstanding research on biodiversity in grasslands: Franz Löffler's doctoral thesis receives several awards
The global decline in biodiversity has reached alarming proportions. Scientific studies on the causes of biodiversity loss are therefore more important than ever. Osnabrück biologist Dr. Franz Löffler received several research awards last year for his research in this area.
The alarming loss of biodiversity and the associated loss of ecosystem services pose enormous challenges to our society. To address these, we need sound, scientific work on the driving factors of biodiversity loss. Against this background, Dr. Franz Löffler, research associate in the Biodiversity and Landscape Ecology research group, has addressed the effects of land use and climate change on biodiversity in semi-natural grasslands in his doctoral thesis.
Major challenges for nature conservation
Löffler's doctoral thesis, funded by the PhD scholarship program of the Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt (DBU), illustrates the major challenges conservation practice is currently facing. The results provide clear evidence that a decrease in the quality and size of semi-natural grasslands, as well as the increasing isolation of areas, drastically reduce the survival probability of many habitat-typical species. Löffler's studies have also demonstrated that thermophilic, mobile species in particular, which are capable of bridging large distances between remaining habitats, can keep pace with climate change.
"In contrast, we must assume that the lack of suitable habitats will severely limit the adaptive capabilities of less mobile, specialized species in fragmented landscapes," Löffler says. "Since such a development could lead to serious changes in grassland communities in the long term, urgent measures should be taken to increase the resilience of this habitat type to climate change."
High scientific quality and great personal commitment
For his innovative and practice-oriented research contributions, Franz Löffler received three awards last year: the Dissertation Award of the International Association for Landscape Ecology (IALE-D Graduate Award), the Science Award of the Gregor Louisoder Environmental Foundation, and the RES Award for Early Career Entomologist of the Royal Entomological Society. The award sponsors particularly emphasized the high scientific quality of the studies, which are supported by great personal commitment.
Löffler, F. (2021): Global warming meets habitat fragmentation – Challenges for biodiversity conservation in semi-natural grasslands. Universität Osnabrück.
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