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Sino-German Summer School on Design and Data Analysis of Biodiversity - Ecosystem Functioning Experiments Held in Beijing
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On May 6-11, 2011, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences held the summer school on Design and data analysis of biodiversity - ecosystem functioning experiments in Gutianshan National Nature Reserve, Kaihua, Zhejiang Province (Gutianshan Forest Biodiversity and Climate Change Research Station of IBCAS).

In realizing that biodiversity both exerts influences on and responds to ecosystem functioning, a plenty of observational and experimental research projects have been designed and are currently being conducted. biodiversity - ecosystem functioning (BEF) experiments play a prominent role in disentangling the different drivers of ecosystem services, since they offer the possibility to manipulate diversity in a controlled fashion. There are various possibilities to design BEF experiments, and even a higher number of ways to evaluate the data resulting from these experiments.

The summer school consisted of five major parts: (1) A survey on current designs of BEF experiments, illustrated with examples from past and ongoing BEF experiments; (2) Demonstration of the realization of such experiments (3) Providing the theoretical background for evaluating these experiments, including teaching the required statistics; (4) Introducing procedures and tools for data handling arising from BEF-experiments; (5) Practical exercises in data analysis, taking BEF-China data as an example. As an integral part of the course, all the instructors and students visited the main experiment sites of BEF-China located in Xingangshan, Jiangxi Province.

ZHAO Miaogen, Vice Director for Sino-German Science Promotion Center, participated in the summer school and made an opening statement. PEI Kequan, LIANG Yu from Institute of Botany and YANG Xuefei from Kunming Institute of Botany, served as Chinese lecturers. Prof. Helge Bruelheide from Martin Luther University, Prof. Christian Wirth from University of Leipzig, and Prof. Pascal Niklaus from University of Zurich delivered lectures. Prof. ZHANG Shouren and WANG Zhengwen from Institute of Botany and Institute of Applied Ecology respectively, as well as 11 European ecologists took part in the summer school. The Chinese students were from Institute of Botany, Institute of Microbiology, Peking University, Zhejiang University, Zhejiang Normal University and the European students came from Martin Luther University, University of Leipzig, University of Zurich. Several postgraduates from Beijing Normal University audited all the courses.

The summer school afforded the opportunities not only for students to comprehend the designs of the BEF experiments and master the skill of data analysis, but also for them to know and help each other. After being together for almost one week, the members of summer school were familiar with each other, and they reported their current researches and the progresses they made.

(reported by XU Yuanjie, Research Station of Forest Biodiversity and Climate Change)

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