AquaDiva : Understanding the Links Between Surface and Subsurface Biogeosphere

Treetops from below Treetops from below Image: Robert Lehmann
Who we are:
Founded in 2013 as a CRC and funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), the AquaDiva team consists of 27 PIs from a range of disciplines – from ‘omics’ to hydrogeology and organic chemistry to informatics. The CRC is hosted at the Friedrich Schiller University Jena and all members work either at the FSU or at our collaborating institutes: the Max Planck Institute for Biogeosciences in Jena, the Leibniz Institute of Photonic Technologies in Jena and the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ. The team is complemented with our postdoctoral and doctoral researchers, technicians and students. We have the dedicated Research Training Group AquaDiva and hope to be recruiting new doctoral researchers in summer 2017.
Our major research question is:
How do local geology and surface land-use affect the diversity and function of the subsurface Critical Zone (CZ)?
To answer this, we use a range of tools to determine what biota live in the subsurface, how they interact with their environment, and influence biogeochemical fluxes. Our ultimate goal is to understand how land-use and climate change impact the CZ and the services, such as clean water, it provides to people. We have constructed a novel infrastructure platform, the Hainich Critical Zone Exploratory (CZE), to study how water and gas fluxes link surface vegetation and soils under different land management to shallow aquifer complexes in a carbonate rock landscape. Our interdisciplinary team applies new tools from the fields of biology, chemistry, geology, and informatics to document the state and function of the subsurface: who is there, what they are doing, and how does it matter. After initial years of funding, CRC AquaDiva is well on its way to our long-term vision of being the premier international subsurface biodiversity platform.
Research infrastructure: The Hainich Critical Zone Exploratory
The Hainich CZE is located on a hillslope on the western margin of the Thuringian Basin in central Germany. We follow water from the surface – with land-uses that range from forest to pasture to agriculture – into the geological units – Triassic age marlstones and limestones. Within this single hillslope, we find three major biogeochemical zones that have different groundwater chemistries, microbial communities, and metabolisms. These provide excellent natural laboratories to study the interactions between geology, fluid flow, surface inputs, and biota – i.e. how biogeoreactors with small differences in geologic or surface conditions can create large differences in water quality and biotic communities.
Please find further informations here:


Speaker team
Aquatic Microbiology, Institute of Ecology, Friedrich Schiller University Jena  
Hydrogeology, Institute of Geosciences, Friedrich Schiller University Jena  
Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry Jena
Scientific coordinator
Phone: +49 (0)3641 9-49451