Weather data
A large number of automatic weather stations has been implemented in the frame of the BIOTA AFRICA project by the Namibian National Botanical Research Institute (NBRI) and the Group "Biodiversity, Evolution and Ecology" (BEE) of the University of Hamburg. The website offers hourly updates of data and graphs of a large number of weather parameters.


Visitors since 2007-09-26
(Relaunch website)


Microbial diversity

Within the program "Biodiversity and Global Change" (BIOLOG) of the BMBF, associated with BIOTA Southern Africa:

Implications of diversity and activity of microorganisms for sustainable land use and management

The Kavango region of Namibia is characterized by an increasingly dense population which uses the dry woodlands for grazing and agricultural purposes. Cultivation and crop production ultimately decrease the fertility of those soils. Microorganisms are a vital and dominant component of the soil ecosystem as they significantly influence the cycling of nutrients and carbon by decomposing plant and animal residues. While some microorganisms have the potential to restore soil systems exhausted by human activities by increasing nutrient input e.g. via fixation of atmospheric nitrogen, others can be detrimental to soil health from an economic perspective because they contribute to leaching from soils of important plant nutrients such as ammonia. A consortium of microbiological research groups cooperates with soil scientists, botanists and social scientists of BIOTA Southern Africa in a joint study in the Northern Namibia Kavango region at the Observatories Mutompo and the Mile 46 adjacent research station, and at the Kavango river banks.

In the first project phases, methods have successfully been developed and applied to study the functional diversity of several functional groups of terrestrial bacteria participating in the nitrogen cycle, of abundant soil bacteria and of protozoa. These culture-independent and novel culturing techniques are applied in the third phase to study how land use practices and soil properties impact the structure and function of the above-mentioned groups of microorganisms in soils. In addition, the current project will aid in establishment of a Namibian Type Culture Collection of indigenous bacteria for future use in agriculture, medicine and biotechnology.

Coordinator: Prof. Barbara Reinhold-Hurek, University of Bremen (Weblink

Project 1: Nitrogen-fixing bacteria for sustainable land use and management
University of Bremen (Weblink

in cooperation with
University Hamburg (Weblink
University of Namibia
Project 2: Nitrifying microorganisms and Acidobacteria as bioindicators for soil health in the Kavango ecosystems: Potential implications for sustainable land use and management

TU München (Weblink
University Wien
Project 3: Impact of land use practise and soil properties on the biodiversity and activity of denitrifying microbial communities

Max-Planck-Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology, Marburg (Weblink
Project 5: Presence and activity of prokaryotic key species as indicators for land use pressure in different ecosystem settings

LMU München (Weblink
Project 7: Biodiversity of Protozoa in the rhizosphere of plants: Interactions with micro-organisms and effects on plant growth

TU Darmstadt