Thünen-Institut für Biodiversität

The Johann Heinrich von Thünen Institute was founded in 2008. As a federal research agency, the VTI establishes scientific basics and drafts decision-making helps for policy-makers. Particularly the German Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection is challenged to draft policy securing sustainable resource use in a globalizing world and at the same time developing economic development perspectives for rural areas. The VTI is active on a broad range of topics which extend to the fields of agriculture, forestry and the timber industry, as well as fishery. The economic, ecological and technological competences represented in the VTI make it possible to address even complex questions with interdisciplinary methods and approaches.


VTI make it possible to address even complex questions with interdisciplinary methods and approaches. VTI will lead WP4 (soil fertility) and contribute with own research for providing up-to-date methodology to establishing GM-effects on soil bacteria and earthworms. VTI will also participate with its competence in WP1.

Staff members’ profile

Prof. Dr. Christoph Tebbe (VTI coordinator and WP4 leader) is a Scientific Director of the Institute for Biodiversity where he is heading the group of Molecular Ecology and Microbial Diversity. He has 20 years of experience in environmental risk assessment of genetically modified (GM) plants and microorganisms. He has been involved in five different field GM bacteria or plant releases to study environmental risks. He is the corresponding author of over 60 peer reviewed publications in international journals and contributed several book chapters. He is the Editor-in-Chief of the European Journal of Soil Biology (EJSOBI) and editor of FEMS Microbiology Ecology. Since 2009 he is a member of the Panel on Risk Assessment of Genetically Modified Organisms at the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in Parma, Italy. Furthermore, he is an appointed Professor for Microbiology at the Technical University of Braunschweig.

Prof. Dr. Stefan Schrader is a zoologist and soil ecologist and head of the group of Functional Soil Ecology in the Institute for Biodiversity. He is a Field-Editor of EJSOBI and an appointed Professor for Soil Ecology at the Technical University of Braunschweig. His major expertise is earthworm ecology where he has published a number of internationally recognized peer reviewed articles.