The field station of the Institute of Animal Ecology is located in the former railway station of Schapen within the nature reserve Riddagshausen near Braunschweig.
The nature reserve Riddagshausen is a Flora-Fauna-Habitat (FFH) area characterized by a small-scale mosaic of different habitat types like ponds, meadows, farmland and mixed forests of beech and oak with high species numbers of birds, amphibians and arthropods.
To investigate the arthropod fauna within the nature reserve the field station contains an ecological laboratory with a heat extraction apparatus for soil fauna extraction and microscopes and stereo-microscopes for the identification of different arthropods groups on species level (e.g. dragonflies, damselflies and springtails). Especially the tissue of the identified dragon- and damselflies is used for further genetic analyses („barcoding“).
Moreover, the field station is starting point of zoological field trips for students to increase their ecological knowledge about different fauna groups (especially dragon- and damselflies, birds, soil animals) in the nature reserve Riddagshausen.
In this connection Dr. Eckhard Holtorf developed the idea to present the „animal of the month“ (Tier des Monats) within the nature reserve Riddagshausen by showing them on cards.