Research Themes

"Evaluating the services provided by biodiversity to the human species"



Biodiversity on Earth has been significantly and increasingly eroded over some forty years,  while attempts to compensate for these losses have frequently met with failure. Yet over the same period, biodiversity research has taken a variety of new directions, underpinned by agreements between scientists and between nation-states. Initially focused on issues relating to inventories of species, the trend in biodiversity research is now towards evaluating what biodiversity does for human beings. This anthropocentric approach, known as ‘ecosystem services’, should help to convince the general public and decision makers of the need for action.

Research at the University of Geneva looks at biodiversity, at ecosystems and at the services that these provide to society. It is based on field observations, laboratory studies and statistical and spatial modelling.


According to Article 2 of the Convention on Biological Diversity, "biological diversity means the variability among living organisms from all sources including, inter alia, terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are part ; this includes diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems”.

Refers to everything that surrounds an abiotic or living spatial entity. Since the late 1960s, the term has taken on a more specific emphasis and refers to the ecological component of the human living environment. The term ‘environment’ is implicitly associated with problems of degradation of the entire biosphere as a consequence of the impact of technological civilization on natural environments as a whole.

Source : F. Ramade, Dictionnaire encyclopédique de l’écologie et des sciences de l’environnement, Édiscience international, Paris, 1993.



Research groups linked to biodiversity