News Release

The Annual Assembly of the Leopoldina focuses on human activity and its role in biodiversity

Meeting Announcement


The decline of biodiversity is one of the greatest challenges of our time. Extinction rates have risen dramatically, and we risk losing many plants and animal species irretrievably. This has consequences in many areas, including agriculture, nutrition and climate protection. The German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina is dedicating its Annual Assembly 2021 to the topic of “Biodiversity and the Future of Variety”. Taking place in person in Halle (Saale)/Germany, as well as online, scientists will come together on Friday, 24 September, and Saturday, 25 September, to discuss the importance of biodiversity and how it can be preserved in the future.

Leopoldina Annual Assembly 2021
“Biodiversity and the Future of Variety”
Friday, 24 September, and Saturday, 25 September 2021
Leopoldina Main Building
Jägerberg 1, 06108 Halle (Saale)/Germany and online

Fauna, flora und microorganisms serve several purposes. Biodiversity provides food and active ingredients for medications, serves as a place of recreation and also plays an important role in climate regulation. When species disappear, ecosystems become unbalanced, which also endangers the livelihood of human beings. The biologist Prof. Dr. Katrin Böhning-Gaese, Director of the Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre in Frankfurt am Main/Germany, and member of the Leopoldina, will kick off the first scientific session with her lecture on the impact of human activity and measures to counteract and reverse the loss of biodiversity. Another highlight of this year’s program is the evening lecture “Biodiversity – impact and change” on Friday, 24 September, at 8:15pm. The biologist Prof. Dr. Christian Wirth, a spokesperson of the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) in Leipzig/Germany will be speaking about people’s relationship to biodiversity and how this relationship has changed over the course of the last 30 years. Other sessions focus on the scientific observation of biodiversity and methods of data collection as well as specific measures to promote diversity through renaturation and rewilding. Additional topics to be covered by the scientists include the connection between biodiversity and nutrition, the impact of plant protection products, the role of the human microbiome, as well as psychological processes which influence the environmental behavior of human beings and their decisions. The biologist and Leopoldina member Prof. Dr. Ulf-Ingo Flügge has been responsible for the scientific coordination of the Annual Assembly.

The full program for the Annual Assembly as well as registration information can be found on the Leopoldina’s website at

At the opening ceremony on Friday, 24 September, nine outstanding scientists will be honored with prizes and medals for their contributions to science. The German press releases on the laureates can be found at:

Once again, the generous support of the Wilhelm and Else Heraeus Foundation has made it possible to offer a scholarship program. Approximately 50 talented schoolchildren from across Germany will have the opportunity to take part in the scientific sessions online and to interact with the scientists.

This event is open to all interested persons. The sessions will be held in German and English and will be interpreted simultaneously. The Annual Assembly will take place as a hybrid event. There are only a limited number of in-person spaces available. Online participation is possible using the video conferencing platform Zoom. Media representatives who would like to attend the Annual Assembly are kindly asked to send an email to and to indicate whether they would like to attend in person or online. After successfully registering, a confirmation email will be sent. Online participants will receive the link and password needed to connect. The Privacy Policy of Zoom applies while using the video conferencing platform:

The Annual Assembly will also be streamed live on the Leopoldina’s YouTube channel at Videos of the sessions will be made available after the event.

At the event location, precautions will be taken to follow the necessary hygiene and distancing regulations. Participants must be fully vaccinated or be able to present proof of recovery or a valid negative PCR test result.

Follow the Leopoldina on Twitter:

About the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina
As the German National Academy of Sciences, the Leopoldina provides independent science-based policy advice on matters relevant to society. To this end, the Academy develops interdisciplinary statements based on scientific findings. In these publications, options for action are outlined; making decisions, however, is the responsibility of democratically legitimized politicians. The experts who prepare the statements work in a voluntary and unbiased manner. The Leopoldina represents the German scientific community in the international academy dialogue. This includes advising the annual summits of Heads of State and Government of the G7 and G20 countries. With 1,600 members from more than 30 countries, the Leopoldina combines expertise from almost all research areas. Founded in 1652, it was appointed the National Academy of Sciences of Germany in 2008. The Leopoldina is committed to the common good.

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