Biodiversity dynamics across a continuum of space, time, and their scales (BEAST)

Petr Keil et al

This ERC-funded consolidator project (2023-2027) will estimate how has biodiversity changed across continents and over the last decades. There are concerns that humanity has triggered the sixth mass extinction. However, some studies show that change at the local level is much more nuanced. In other words, species are disappearing from the planet, but it seems that not much has been happening on an average patch behind your house. Furthermore, we know very little about how these small and large-scale processes are connected, and where exactly on Earth are they happening. At the same time, estimates of biodiversity change are needed and explicitly required (see e.g. Aichi targets) for informed decisions and conservation policy. Despite this, we still lack reliable estimates of how fast, where, and in which environments biodiversity changes.

BEAST will assess these changes and the contrast between the local, regional, and global scale. We expect that the local changes in biodiversity that happen in our immediate surroundings are different from the changes that take place at the level of regions, states, and continents. This can be tested using large databases such as the American Breeding Bird Survey, eBird, and similar datasets based on citizen science.

Petr’s publications on the topic