special exhibitions

Diversity counts! An expedition through biodiversity

23. November 2016 - 17. April 2017

Featuring more than 50 interactive objects and media installations, this exciting new hands-on exhibition invites visitors to become scientists and explorers themselves by discovering the world of biodiversity and biodiversity research.

The exhibition DIVERSITY COUNTS! is a fascinating journey through three categories of habitat currently being investigated with the support of the German Research Foundation (DFG) using intensive and innovative research techniques: meadows, forests, and seas.
 
Hidden object puzzles provide fascinating insights into these ecosystems. Of course, a mountain rainforest has little in common with a European mixed forest. But there are also many different kinds of meadow looking rather similar at first sight: dry grass and lush pastures, nutrient-poor grassland and heathland. This exhibition explains the differences between them in a clear, easy-to-understand way.

Biodiversity is more than just the range of plants and animals living on our planet. It also includes the manifold genera, species, and habitats with all their many interconnections and interactions, as well as their influences on mankind.
 
In this context, biodiversity researchers ask decisive questions. How many and which species live in a certain habitat? What happens when one or several species become extinct? Are ecosystems with many different species more stable than those with just a few? Which consequences do climate change, destruction of habitat, and increasing demand for resources have? Our future will depend on researchers finding the right answers to these questions. And, in order to do so, they must carry out research work in a global context, using large-scale projects that last years or even decades. Through the exhibition DIVERSITY COUNTS! the German Research Foundation not only provides an insight into its own research policy but also addresses current ecological issues which scientists at the NHM Vienna are working intensely on.

Meadows, forests, lakes, rivers, and seas – each ecosystem delivers invaluable services to every country, company, and individual, as well as to our planet as a whole. Fertile soil, clean water, and unpolluted air used to be seen as resources available in unlimited quantities and free of charge to all. This perception is now changing dramatically. The question whether future generations will have enough natural resources depends first and foremost on how much importance we attach in the next few years and decades to these still very cheap or free services provided by the Earth’s ecosystems.
 
Biodiversity, humanity, and Planet Earth share one common destiny. For them to survive, scientific research is key. But that is not enough. Every one of us needs to act on the results of this scientific research in a responsible way. That is just as essential. The special exhibition DIVERSITY COUNTS! encourages visitors to do exactly that.