The NaPA research

The scientific part of the NaPA project is carried out by a team of the Center for Biodiversity Monitoring (ZBM) under the direction of Prof. Dr. Christoph Scherber. One doctoral thesis and several student theses deal with topics related to biodiversity and soil health in agroecosystems.

*English subtitles available 

About the ZBM

The Center for Biodiversity Monitoring is one of the research centers under the umbrella of the Leibniz Institute for the Analysis of Biodiversity Change (LIB). Established in 2021, LIB is the result of a merger between the Center for Natural History (CeNak) at the University of Hamburg and the Zoological Research Museum Alexander König - Leibniz Institute for Animal Biodiversity in Bonn. The primary mission of LIB is to collaborate on research into global biodiversity change, and disseminate findings to the broader community. The funding for LIB is provided by a variety of sources, including the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, the Leibniz Research Museums Action Plan, the Ministry of Culture and Science of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, and the Authority for Science, Research, Equality, and Districts in Hamburg.

ZBM Förderer

Tasks of the ZBM in the project

Blühstreifen in Sachsen
Perennial flowering strip on a barley field in Saxony



The ZBM's responsibilities include planning and overseeing field trials in the project's 19 sites. The trials involve examining agricultural areas with and without flower strips to assess their animal biodiversity. While the main focus is on monitoring insects and other small organisms such as spiders and mites, the project also records data on birds, soil nutrients, soil organic matter, and other relevant parameters.

Year-round insect monitoring

The NaPA project monitors arthropod diversity using a variety of technologies. They place vane traps year-round in agricultural fields and flowering strips to catch flying insects such as bees, beetles, and flies. Participating farms empty the trap containers weekly from April to October, providing a detailed picture of insect occurrence and activity throughout the year.

Flügelfallen in Blühstreifen
Vane-traps are located in flowering strips as well as at 10, 50 and 100 meters from the field edge/flower strip in agricultural fields


Pitfall traps

Scientists and farmers install barber traps or pitfall traps every 8 weeks on agricultural and flowering areas to capture ground beetles and spiders. The traps are then removed after a few days to study and record the captured species. By monitoring the populations of these animals, scientists can draw conclusions about the dynamics of insect and arachnid communities in agricultural lands.

Pitfall traps provide data about life on the soil surface. Spiders, beetles and springtails fall into the funnels and are preserved in the catch bottle


MacFadyen soil cores

MacFadyen soil sampling helps us understand the impact of our measures on soil organisms. We conduct this sampling concurrently with the user of pitfall traps, allowing us to study the composition and abundance of organisms such as mites and springtails in the soil.

MayFayden Bodenproben
Soil organisms are extracted from the MayFadyen soil cores and subsequently analyzed. A distinction is made between the soil layers 0-5 cm and 5-10 cm.


Sample processing and analysis

Every year, researchers at the ZBM process and analyze thousands of samples produced by the NaPA project. They use conventional entomological determinations as well as new methods of eDNA analysis. Moreover, the project tests different sensor systems, which are currently in pilot and development phases, and compares them with established classical methodologies. Thus, the NaPA project contributes to expanding the data pool of species diversity on agricultural land, addressing questions about the influence of flower strips and crop rotation elements, and linking practical agriculture, the agricultural industry, and science.

Proben Insektenbiomasse
The samples are stored in the museum and then filtered and weighed. In this way, total insect biomass can be determined before further examination takes place.


Trained scientists sort and analyze the composite samples, producing data on the spatial and temporal occurrence, as well as the diversity and abundance of living organisms in agro-ecosystems


Internships, bachelor and master theses available!

For students, the research team offers internships as well as courses leading to a thesis.

Please send your enquiries to Dr. Tamara Hartke: