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Max Planck Institute of Geoanthropology

At a glace:

The research topics at the institute range from the deep past to the distant future:

  • How did humanity drive the emergence of the Anthropocene?
  • How do humans and the Earth system interact in terms of system boundaries, thresholds, feedback loops, tipping points, path dependencies, transgressions, synergies, and structural barriers to sustainability?
  • What are the associated opportunities and risks, including the potential collapse of ecological and sociotechnical systems?

The Max Planck Institute of Geoanthropology is at the forefront of addressing critical global challenges. We focus on the interplay of climate change, biodiversity loss, resource exploitation, and the persistence of human communities in the Anthropocene.

Our institute employs model-based and interpretive approaches to examine the root causes of these crises and explore their interconnections. We cross disciplinary boundaries to investigate topics like planetary urbanization, the global food system, and human-ecosystem dynamics.

Through collaboration with our international and national partners, including Arizona State University, Friedrich-Schiller-Unversität, Universität Leipzig, and The Max Planck Institutes for Biogeochemistry and Chemical Ecology, we synthesize data and expertise to identify intervention points and opportunities for sustainable development. We are home to eight multi-function laboratories as well as the ‘Decision Theater’ – an interactive program that allows users to see how policy decisions impact the Earth system. Our work spans from understanding the emergence of the Anthropocene to assessing system boundaries, thresholds, and the risks of ecological and sociotechnical system collapse.


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Max Planck Institute of Geoanthropology

Kahlaische Straße 10
07743 Jena

Email: info@gea.mpg.de