The focus of research at the Institute of Environmental Sciences is on new anthropogenic stressors in coupled ecosystems. Transition areas between ecosystems contribute significantly to regional biodiversity and are "hotspots" for many ecological and biogeochemical processes, provide a variety of "ecosystem services" such as flood protection, retention and degradation of pollutants as well as the preservation of biodiversity and recreational landscapes, and are of high socio-economic importance. At the same time, they are considered to be particularly sensitive to environmental changes, for example changes in flood dynamics as a result of human use or global climate change.

The declared goal of the Institute of Environmental Sciences is to investigate these interactions in interdisciplinary cooperation between the biological, chemical, physical, geoscientific and social science research groups.