Change language

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

News archive - April

Sample collection in India

April 2018

Researcher Inga Hiiesalu and doctoral student Tanel Vahter recently carried out fieldwork in India to supplement our database of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal diversity accross the world. Sampling took place in humid subtropical forests, which span from the foothills of the Himalayan mountain range to central India.  As a heatwave was making its way through India, the conditions were demanding and temperatures reached as high as 43 degrees celsius. Nonetheless, macaques, gray langurs, indian bison, peacocks and sambari deer could be spotted which made for an exiting time in the forest! The material collected will now be analysed using DNA-based methods to describe the distribution patterns of these microscopic fungi accross the globe.

Visitor from Serbia, University of Novi Sad

April 2018

In April, Dragana Stamenov from the University of Novi Sad visited us as a part of the COST Action KEYSOM. She was here to get acquainted with the techniques for both microscopic and molecular identification of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. While here, Dragana was supervised by PhD student Siim-Kaarel Sepp and specialist Jane Oja.

Effects of disturbance on AM fungi out in Global Change Biology!

April 2018

Over ten years have gone by since Martin Zobel ,Mari Moora and other colleagues collected the first few samples for the global dataset used in the project „multiscale effects of disturbance on arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi“. David García de León and John Davison have dedicated a large share of their last two years to analyse this complex dataset produced in-house by colleagues Maarja Öpik  , Inga Hiiesalu and Kadri Koorem and international partners Yongjun Liu, Huyuan Feng and Cherdchai Phosri. On 24th March 2018, Global Change Biology  published the main outcome of this project: a large-scale assessment comparing the AM fungal communities in the soils of disturbed and natural habitats. Today we have reached the understanding that anthropogenic disturbance reduces AM fungal diversity where natural diversity is high and increases diversity where natural diversity is low. Disturbance also favours ruderal AM fungal species. Altogether, these results mean that there is an urgent need to improve our understanding of AM fungal traits. If you are interested in the effects of disturbance on AM fungal communities, you can also keep reading our recent articles about Argentinean soybean fields and Estonian land use changes by PhD student Siim-Kaarel Sepp.


News archive:

2022: march, august
2021: february, may, august, september, october
2020: february, august, september, december
2019: january, february, march, april, june, july, september, november
2018: january, february, march, april, may, june, july, october, november, december
2017: january, february, march, april, may, june, july, august, september, october, november, december
2016: january, february, march, april, may, july, august, october, november, december
2015: january, february, march, april, may, july, august, september, october, november
2014: january, february, may, july, august, september, november, december
2013: january, february, april, may, june, august, september, october, november, december
2012: january, february, march, april, may, june, august, september, october, november, december
2011: may, june, september, october, november