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Plant Ecology Laboratory

Research in our lab focuses on diversity patterns in biological communities, and on the interactions underlying these patterns. The main questions we address are: how do communities vary along natural gradients and gradients of human impact? What are the major assembly rules shaping communities; and are they attributable to biotic interactions or environmental heterogeneity? What are the roles of different biotic interactions - including competition, facilitation, herbivory and symbiosis - in structuring communities? Read more


Associate Professor Marina Semchenko was awarded ERC Consolidator grant!

March 2022

Associate Professor Marina Semchenko from our lab was awarded an ERC Consolidator grant to study the effect of land-use change on the interactions between plants and soil organisms. For the next five years Marina will study how grassland fertilisation and shrub encroachment influences genetic changes within species and how changes in plant population affect ecosystem functioning. See longer interview with Marina in the portal Research in Estonia

Congratulations and many exciting discoveries, Marina!

We have a new visiting doctoral student Weina Wang

March 2022

Weina Wang, whose home university is Northeast Normal University in China, joined the plant ecology working group.

In her doctoral disseratation, Weina studies how soil biota affects the recovery of vegatation in Songnean plain. Weina will stay in Estonia until the end of the year to collaborate with Kadri Koorem and other members of the working group. Welcome aboard, Weina!

Unexplored potential for more efficient ecosystem restoration

October 2021

Kadri Koorem, Martin Zobel and Guillermo Bueno published a review paper in Functional Ecology in collaboration with the colleagues from the Landscape Ecology Group (Tsipe Aavik and Sabrina Träger) and the Catholic University of Leuven (Olivier Honnay and Maarten Van Geel).

The review explores the potential effects of simultaneously addressing host plant genetic diversity and supporting arbuscular mycorrhizal communities for maximising restoration success. The significance of these two biodiversity components separately in restoration has been well-recognized. However, understanding about the interacting effects of host plant genetic diversity and mycorrhizal communities on the recovery of wild plant populations is very scarce. To start shedding more light on this question, we offer a topic for a potential bachelor thesis. The thesis will give an overview of the intra-specific variation of host plants in relation to the interactions with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. The preparation of the thesis will be supervised by Kadri Koorem and Tsipe Aavik.

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