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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

News archive - March

First International Bee Conference in Berlin

March 2017

Improving the protection of bees as pollinators and honey producers is a task to be tackled at international level. Therefore, the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) and the German Beekeepers Association (DIB) were hosting an international conference on 28 and 29 March 2017 in Berlin.

The event was aimed at beekeepers, farmers, scientists and politicians from all over the world, in particular from Europe and America, and at representatives from relevant international organisations. All the speakers in the conference were specifically invited by organizers based on their scientific expertise. Mari Moora gave a presentation about the effect of climate change on biotic interactions (mycorrhizal symbiosis and pollination) and their interactive effect on plant diversity.

PhD position in Plant Ecology

March 2017

We welcome applications from highly motivated and skilled people for a PhD position in Plant Ecology. The PhD student will work on the project titled ‘Land use induced variation in mycorrhizal trait composition of plant communities under different climatic and edaphic conditions’. The project is for 4 years (01.09.2017-31.08.2021). Additional information and the application deadline can be found from here.

Biodiversity workshops during Open Doors Day at the UT

March 2017

How far do the seeds disperse? How do the stomata look like? How can you get the DNA out of a plant? What’s the difference between overgrown or destroyed and restored habitats? Those were a few questions that high-school students could find answers in biodiversity workshops during the Open Doors day. This was the chance for them to find out what biologist and ecologist do in our University.

Conference and fieldwork in Chile

March 2017

March 6-9th took place a symposium on „Mycorrhizal Symbiosis in the Southern Cone of South America“ in Valdivia, Chile. Among the main conference organisers were some of our collaborators: Prof. Roberto Godoy and PhD student Cesar Marin (Austral University of Chile) and Patricia Silva Flores (University of Concepcion). Our team was represented by Guillermo Bueno and Maarja Öpik who were invited to give keynote lectures. Guillermo presented an overview of the conceptual framework and use of plant mycorrhizal traits with research examples from our group, from macroecological and plant community to plant species levels. Maarja gave an overview about DNA-based taxon recognition and identification of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, including the concept of Virtual Taxon used in our team, and MaarjAM database, curated by us, holding the information about AM fungal DNA-based diversity worldwide. After the conference, Guillermo and Maarja participated in fieldwork in Nahuelbuta National Park featuring amazing Araucaria forests. Maarja also visited University of Concepcion to give a seminar, hosted by Prof. Götz Palfner, and CEAF (Centro de Estudios Avanzados en Fruticultura), to visit Patricia’s field sites of Mediterranean matorral, give one more seminar, and discuss with the team of CEAF.

Kick-off meeting for BiodivERsA project SoilMan in Göttingen

March 2017

On 13 – 15. of March, the kick-off meeting for the six partner countries in BiodivERsa project SoilMan (Ecosystem services driven by the diversity of soil biota – understanding and management) was held in Göttingen, Germany. The Estonian team led by Maarja Öpik was represented at the meeting by PhD student Tanel Vahter. Working plans and general ideas were discussed for the following three years, in which the diversity of soil biota, agricultural management practices and socio-economic factors will be merged to provide added input to policy makers. Our task for the SoilMan project is to describe arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal diversity in the experimental sites all over Europe and provide context based explanations for the patterns we find.

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