Senckenberg Distinguished Lecture Series

Emerging Frontiers in Nature Research 

Die Distinguished Lecture Series bringt international renommierte Wissenschaftler*innen und andere intellektuelle und zivilgesellschaftliche Führungspersönlichkeiten zu Senckenberg. Zusätzlich zu den Vorträgen finden bei jedem Besuch Diskussionen oder öffentliche Veranstaltungen statt, die ein breites Spektrum von Senckenberg-Wissenschaftler*innen ansprechen sollen.


Wir freuen uns sehr, den ersten Vortrag der neuen „Senckenberg Distinguished Lecture Series“ ankündigen zu können. Im Laufe des Jahres werden herausragende Wissenschaftlerinnen und Wissenschaftler aus der internationalen Gemeinschaft, die sich zur Teilnahme an der Vortragsreihe bereit erklärt haben, Vorträge zum übergreifenden Thema „Emerging Frontiers in Nature Research“ halten.

Mit dieser Vortragsreihe wollen wir eine neue, vor allem international ausgerichtete Plattform für die Vernetzung und den Austausch, für die Schaffung von Synergien und für inspirierende Diskussionen schaffen – kurz: einen weiteren Baustein zu unserer lebendigen wissenschaftlichen und neugiergetriebenen Hauskultur.

Lecture #3

From Climate Change to Biodiversity and back

While the climate crisis is perceptible for everyone and ubiquitous in public discourse, the biodiversity crisis on our planet is occurring quietly and often goes unnoticed. How is biodiversity changing globally and at home? How does this affect the integrity and func­tioning of our ecosystems and eventu­ally us humans? Drawing from experi­ments and observations worldwide and in Germany, Christian Wirth explains how the two crises are linked. He argues that biodiversity is not only a victim of climate change but also a re­medy for it; conserving and creating biodiverse landscapes is key to effec­tive climate protection.

About the lecturer

Christian Wirth is a German plant ecologist who is interested in the many ways plants and their diversity shape the functioning of eco­systems. Based at Leipzig University, he is speaker of the DFG­funded German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle­ Jena­ Leipzig and director of the Botanical Garden. Besides being a Max Planck Fellow for ten years, he co­founded the global TRY database of plant traits, runs the Leipzig Canopy Crane, and currently leads the German Biodiversity Assessment of the BMBF FEdA initiative.




Lecture #2

How can taxonomy meet the challenge of the ocean bio­ diversity crisis?

The ocean faces a biodiversity crisis driven by direct and indirect human impacts; however, our knowledge of global marine biodiversity is insufficient for ocean management. Even now, large areas of the ocean remain unexplored and data from a single scientific expedition can significantly change our understanding of the distribution of marine life. With species in decline and extinction a real possi­bility, species discovery and description has to accelerate and address the policies needed to conserve marine life. Alex Rogers, Science Director of the Nippon Foundation, will present the new Ocean Census programme on how to accel­erate species discovery in the oceans.

About the lecturer

Alex Rogers is a marine biologist working on the biodiversity of deep-sea ecosystems and mesophotic reef environments. His past work has included cold-water coral reef ecosystems, seamounts and the first high temperature hydrothermal vents from the Southern Ocean. He is Science Director of the Nippon Foundation / Nekton Ocean Census project and is based at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History. He has received the ZSL/Marsh Award for Marine and Freshwater Conservation and published a popular book called Das Große Tiefe Blau.



Lecture #1

The changing Arctic. How life reacts in the ice and the deep sea.

The region around the North Pole is warming nearly four times faster than the global average for the planet, and the sharp decline in sea ice in particular is causing significant ecological changes. But how can we find out if something is changing when there is hardly any data available? Antje Boetius reports on the diversity of habitats in the ice-covered Arctic Ocean, and on the processes that create a direct link between the fate of sea ice and the benthic communities. She then presents future strategies for studies in the polar regions.


About the lecturer

Prof. Dr. Antje Boetius is a Frankfurt-born marine researcher and microbiologist, and the director of the Alfred Wegener Institute. She investigates unexplored habitats of the Arctic Ocean, with a focus on the effect of climate change on polar regions. She has been awarded the Communicator Prize of the DFG and the German Environmental Award.


April 4,2023Prof. Dr. Antje Boetius
June 6, 2023Prof. Dr. Alex Rogers
October 10, 2023Prof. Dr. Christian Wirth
November 11, 2023Prof. Dr. Johan Rockström