DSP-Research Group

Dynamic Mountain Environments & Society Vol. 2


Mountain regions across the globe are dynamic environments displaying very high rates of natural and anthropogenic environmental change. Processes occur over a wide range of timescales and with a great dynamic range. They include slow but long-lasting geodynamic processes that build mountain ranges and foster evolutionary processes generating mountain biodiversity. Abiotic and biotic mountain environments are continuously shaped by the erosive power of ice and water. These processes can in turn occur on ecological to geological timescales as species and communities adapt to changing abiotic and/or biotic conditions. Species interactions further enhance dynamic feedbacks that lead to non-linear processes and changes in biodiversity. The increasing role of direct and indirect human impact on mountain ecosystems and biodiversity adds another dimension of complexity. Mountain ranges have been home to human societies for millennia. With technological changes and population increase human impact has become so significant that it now operates on par with geological and biological processes, and a new era is currently being coined – the Anthropocene. The increasing anthropogenic pressure on mountain environments has dramatic side effects. Erosional surface processes such as debris flows and rockfalls turn into natural hazards. Furthermore, climate change effects have a particularly strong impact on species that have adapted to alpine habitats. Hence, being able to cope with the risk of dynamic change is essential for any mountain-based society.

PhD students and scientists with backgrounds from natural sciences (geosciences and biology) and social sciences have joined forces to create a transdisciplinary research environment to tackle timely questions of international relevance within the framework of this proposed DSP-Kolleg entitled “Dynamic Mountain Environments” (DynamitE Vol. 2). Research excellence at the international forefront will be the leading characteristic of this DSP-Kolleg. Research project selection will focus on topics at the cutting edge of current debate. PhD students will have access to state of the art technologies and receive full support and training in all aspects of academic life. The main target for PhD students will be to publish at the highest international level (a minimum of three ISI papers) and the DSP-Kolleg will provide all necessary support to enable this. DynamitE will act as nucleation point for further research initiatives. DynamitE perfectly suits with and contributes to the guiding principle “Development and Sustainability” of PLUS.

The DSP Research Group Dynamic Mountain environments & Society Vol. 2 follows on from DymamitE – Dynamic Mountain Environments (DME)


Information about fellows and their dissertation topics

Foto: Unipark Nonntal Aufgang Studiernde

Faculty & Board

Information about faculty members and external board