July issue of Nature Communications published results of a unique compilation of 161 multidecadal biodiversity time series covering 6,200 marine, terrestrial, and freshwater species, in which we participated together with more than 60 researchers from 21 European countries. This international research, led by a team from the Senckenberg Research Institute, shows that local trends in biodiversity often deviate significantly from the global patterns. Particularly striking is the common pattern of extensive changes in species communities at the local level, which frequently differ from the global trends of decreasing abundance and biodiversity. For example, the analyses show increasing trends in species numbers in Northern Europe that are likely driven by climate warming, while the overall abundances and species richness in many areas of Southern and Central Europe have not changed.

This meta-analysis highlights the immense value of long-term ecological data. Most of the study sites belong to the global network “Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER),” an international association for long-term interdisciplinary environmental observation. The new study reiterates that LTER sites and other sources of long-term biodiversity time series deserve systemic support, even if they do not always generate short-term output often required by grant calls.

Pilotto et al. (2020): Meta-analysis of multidecadal biodiversity trends in Europe. Nature Communications, https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-17171-y

Original press release from the Senckenberg Research Institute: https://www.senckenberg.de/en/pressemeldungen/against-the-trends-local-changes-in-species-diversity-in-europe/