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University of Tartu
Plant Ecology Laboratory

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


Ancient environmental DNA reveals shifts in dominant mutualisms during the late Quaternary

January 2018

Recently, an eDNA metabarcoding data set was used to describe northern high-latitude vegetation during the past 50,000 years. Here, Zobel et al. use the data set to examine how the abundance of key plant mutualistic traits (mycorrhizal type and status, N-fixing ability, pollination type) changed during this period and discuss possible environmental drivers.

Read more.

The annual meeting of British Ecological Society

December 2017

Two of the members of Plant Ecology Lab participated in the annual meeting of British Ecological Society which was this year organized in collaboration with GFÖ, NecoV and EEF. Maarja Öpik gave oral presentation titled „Interactions between grassland plants and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi are selective“and Kadri Koorem gave an oral presentation titled „Plant-soil feedback of range expanding plant species is influenced more by relatedness with the native species than by the origin of soil biota“. Thanks for the organizers, who packed the days between 11th to 14th of December in Ghent intensely with scientific talks and workshops! See more from the conference from Twitter.

Visit to Prof. Pål Axel Olsson lab in Lund University

November 2017

In November, PhD student Tanel Vahter visited the lab of Prof. Pål Axel Olsson in Lund University, Sweden. He learned how to quantify signature fatty acids of soil microorganisms for assessing their biomass. He worked with samples from his vegetation restoration experiment. This methodology is useful for tracking the growth dynamics of inoculated mycorrhizal fungi and provides an insight into the other micro-organism groups. This visit was part of the COST action Bio-Link activities.

News archive:

2018: january
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2011: may, june, september, october, november