Ecology is a fascinating science. The complex nature of ecosystems is a main challenge for researchers worldwide, promoting thinking in broad contexts, research networks and interdisciplinary subject areas. On the other hand, a better understanding of ecosystems is urgently needed to cope with human induced global change. If we want to understand what ecosystems are and how they operate, we have to dig deep, and if we dig very deep, we will find molecules with particular functions. These molecules interact with each other, and they are eventually responsible for the reactions of a cell, a tissue, an organism or even an ecosystem ultimately leading to environmental change.
A functional understanding of ecosystem processes requires a detailed view of their molecular basis. This adds further complexity to ecosystem sciences – and makes it even more fascinating. We believe that the unique combination of molecular and ecosystem studies allows young students to gain urgently needed knowledge to keep ecosystems, their functions and their services intact. Students of molecular ecosystem sciences will gain diverse and advanced knowledge in natural sciences and related disciplines, and a new generation of graduates will find innovative solutions to cope with global change.