The scientists at the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW) perform basic and strategic ecological research on individual organisms, populations, ecological communities and ecosystems. With more than 300 researchers and students, NIOO is one of the largest institutes within the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts & Sciences (KNAW).
NIOO's reseachers and students study animal -, plant - and microbial ecology in terrestrial and freshwater environments. The multidisciplinary collaboration within this diverse group of ecologists has created unique opportunities to develop the broad, comprehensive approaches needed to solve complex ecological problems.
Our world is now undergoing dramatic changes, yet they are far from fully understanding its ecological complexity. In order to be able to assess global changes such as the accelerating degradation of the biosphere, the loss of species and of biodiversity, the invasion of exotic species in existing ecosystems, and global warming, they need to have far greater scientific insight.
A Peer Review Committee of international scientists that visited the NIOO in November 2012 rated the NIOO as a whole as 'excellent' - the highest score possible. With citation scores of nearly 70% above world average, publications by NIOO researchers have an important and substantial impact in their field. The committee praised NIOO’s valuable long-term research, the consistent high quality across all ecological disciplines, and the way in which ecological knowledge is made available to science and society.
According to the experts, NIOO’s ‘unique selling point’ is its interdisciplinary long-term research – for example, the long-term experiments with plant and soil biodiversity, and the study on the common songbird Parus major, which started more than 60 years ago and is still ongoing. The latter study has demonstrated, among other things, the effects of climate change on nature – and now serves as an international example.
In the quest to gain a better understanding of ecosystems, we have identified seven NIOO-wide themes. These are not just hot topics in ecology, but also themes in which we can make the difference. By 2020, NIOO aims to play an internationally leading and nationally connecting role within these topics. Of course there will still be room for ‘blue sky research’ outside of these themes.
NIOO-KNAW has identified the following seven research themes:
Global environmental change
Where is Nederlands Instituut voor Ecologie (Netherlands Institute of Ecology)