Macroecology workgroup at the University of Tartu

The Macroecology workgroup at the University of Tartu in Estonia is led by Professor Meelis Pärtel and we focus on the biological diversity of plants. READ MORE about our workgroup and have a look at the Macroecology workgroup MAP of past and future meetings and field work sites!

Follow also our Twitter account.



NEWS

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May 2019 Workgroup spring seminar

On 2nd-3rd May, we had our spring seminar together with the Landscape biodiversity workgroup in western Estonia. The seminar was about methods in ecology and we heard many interesting talks about modelling, genomics and ecosystem services assessments. We were happy to have Raul Vicente Zafra, professor of data science at our university, as a guest speaker. He introduced the methods of machine learning and deep learning and how to apply them in ecological science. We also had some time to walk on the species-rich wooded meadow in Laelatu and contribute to the citizen science project sampling cowslip heterostyly for genetic diversity.





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April 2019 Ülle, Riin and Madli participated in a theoretical biology spring school

Estonian Naturalist Society held their 45th Theoretical Biology spring school on 26th-29th April in southern Estonia. This year's topic was biogeography and there were presentations about the distribution of animals, plants, fungi and lichens. Ülle talked about plant biogeography, Riin gave a talk about the biogeography of plant traits and Madli introduced how to use computer simuations in island biogeography models.









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April 2019 New paper about community assembly on tropical islands

Meelis was a coauthor on a paper led by the Biodiversity, Macroecology and Biogeography group at the University of Göttingen, Germany. They developed a new method to calculate species pools for woody species on small islands in Indonesia and applied the dark diversity concept to explore island community assembly.

Schrader, J., Köning, C., Moeljoni, S., Pärtel, M. & Kreft, H. (2019). Requirements of plant species are linked to area and determine species pool and richness on small islands. Journal of Vegetation Science doi:10.1111/jvs.12758


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April 2019 New paper about seed dispersal distances

Riin was a coauthor on a new publication about the latitudinal gradient in seed dispersal distances. They collected available georeferenced data about seed dispersal distances in the literature and found that species near the equator tend to disperse their seeds further than plants in the temperate region. The study is a collaboration between previous colleagues at the University of New South Wales (Australia).

Chen, S., Tamme, R., Thomson, F. J. & Moles, A. T. (2019). Seeds tend to disperse further in the tropics. Ecology Letters 22:954-961




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April 2019 Registration for DarkDivNet2019 workshop is now open

DarkDivNet2019 workshop will be held on 20-23 November in Tartu. November, with its gloomy weather, is an ideal time to discuss dark diversity topics. There will be many interesting talks by invited speakers, and we plan talks and posters by the participants as well. All DarkDivNet members and others interested in dark diversity are welcome. The workshop is free to participate, but travel and accommodation costs are not included. DarkDivNet2019 workshop is held in collaboration with the Centre of Excellence EcolChange and sponsored by the Doctoral School of Earth Sciences and Ecology.



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Aprill 2019 Ene and Ülle went to Tenerife

Guimari vulcanic semi-desertGuimari vulcanic semi-desertDoctoral School of Earth Sciences and Ecology organised a course "Laws of the altitudinal zones of vegetation: Evolution, ecology and human impact" in Tenerife. From our workgroup Aveliina, Iris and Elisabeth participated. The aim of the course was to introduce doctoral students biodiversity patterns in mountainous region and to increase knowledge and understanding of the processes that shape vegetation and the adaptation of plants to different environmental conditions. The nature of the island is very diverse and it is possible to see a rapid change of communities and vegetation in a short distances, which is why Tenerife was the perfect place for this course. In addition, fieldwork was carried out for the DarkDivNet project.

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April 2019 Estonia is looking for cowslips!

Scientists from University of Tartu and Estonian Fond for Nature invite this spring to join an exciting civil science initiative – Estonia is looking for cowslips! There is no need for prior knowledge to participate. Observers need to check hundred individuals in one habitat and mark in the webpage whether the cowslip flowers are S-type or L-type. This well-known spring flower is a special plant, because the gene type of the flower can be distinguished by just looking with eyes. With nationwide data, gathered with the help of volunteers, scientists can evaluate the condition of Estonian nature and the status of species and habitats.

The official webpage will be open in the middle of April www.nurmenukk.ee



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March 2019 Meelis introduced the secrets of biodiversity to high school students

Between 9th-10th March, Tartu hosted the final round of the Estonian Biology Olympiad for high school students. Meelis Pärtel gave an interesting talk about the secrects of biodiversity ("Elurikkuse saladuste jälil") to all the participants. He introduced the recent scientific findings by our workgroup and colleagues as well as talked about the unanswered questions in biodiversity studies that need to be resolved by the future generations.






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March 2019 New workgroup in the department of botany

Landscape Biodiversity workgroup, led by Dr. Tsipe Aavik and Dr. Aveliina Helm, has branched out from the Macroecology workgroup. New workgroup focuses on the relations of humans and natural environment and tries to find the best solutions to protect and restore biological diversity. An important part of work will be done in semi-natural grassland communities where they study the influence of land use to both genetic and species diversity and related ecosystem services.

Landscape biodiversity workgroup continues active collaboration with their colleagues from the Macroecology workgroup and Plant Ecology workgroup of the University of Tartu.



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February 2019 Open Doors Day of the University of Tartu


27th of February took place the open doors day of Tartu university, where future students could participate in different scientific workshops. Kersti, Madli and Iris introduced our workgroup by showing ecological computer simulations, and by explaining the essence and importance of landscape genetics.





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January 2019 DarkDivNet newsletter

DarkDivNet published recently a Newsletter for all current and potential participants. Newsletter gives an overview about the progress of DarkDivNet, encourage more people to participate (especially from less covered regions), introduces a web tool and an add-on study SOIL-DarkDivNet, and announces that in November 2019 there will be a first DarkDivNet workshop in Tartu, Estonia.

DarkDivNet is looking for a PhD student, project will start from September 2019! Please contact with Prof. Meelis Pärtel (meelis.partel@ut.ee)
You are also welcome to contact with Prof. Pärtel to discuss postdoc options.

Further news about DarkDivNet will be posted in the twitter account of the macroecology workgroup at the University of Tartu: https://twitter.com/MacroecologyUT

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January 2019 International conference of biogeography in Spain

January 8-12, 2019 Meelis and Robert participated at the “International Biogeography Society (IBS) 9th Biennial Conference in Malaga, Spain. Robert gave a talk about how to estimate site favourability for present and absent plant species in Europe using a favourability index. He found high favourability in northern latitudes, driven by absent species. Meelis presented progress of DarkDivNet global research network.
IBS conference gives a great opportunity to meet Biogeographers from around the world and catch up on the latest research.





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December 2018 New paper about the importance of belowground diversity

In collaboration with our colleagues from the Plant Ecology group, Maarja Öpik and Martti Vasar, and Scott Wilson from the University of Regina, Canada, Sabrina published an article about the importance of belowground plant richness measured by roots for a comprehensive estimation of total plant species richness in different vegetation types. The authors combined a molecular next-generation sequencing approach and vegetation surveys to demonstrate that aboveground but also belowground plant richness alone was a poor estimator of total plant richness within and across contrasting vegetation types along an elevation gradient. This highlights the need to account for both above- and belowground plant richness to estimate potential changes in plant communities in a changing environment.

Träger, S, Öpik, M, Vasar, M, Wilson, SD (2018). Belowground plant parts are crucial for comprehensively estimating total plant richness in herbaceous and woody habitats, Ecology, doi: 10.1002/ecy.2575

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December 2018 Lisanna received a PhD degree!

On 12th of December, Lisanna Schmidt successfully defended her thesis “Phenotypic and genetic differentiation in the hybridizing species pair Carex flava and C. viridula in geographically different regions“ and was awarded the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Botany and Mycology. Lisanna was supervised by Tatjana Oja, and the official opponent during the defence was Professor Paul Ashton from Edge Hill University, UK.

Congratulations, Dr. Schmidt!





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December 2018 Marianne won 1st prize in Estonian National Contest for University Students

Our workgroup master student Marianne Kaldra won 1st prize (960 eur) for her bachelor thesis „Heterostyly of Primula veris in fragmented populations“ in Estonian National Contest for University Students. Marianne’s supervisor was researcher Tsipe Aavik.

Congratulations!









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December 2018 Expedition to volcanic Réunion island

18th of Nov – 1st of Dec Meelis, Ülle, Aurele, Madli, Miina, Elisabeth and Diego participated at the scientific expedition to Réunion island. Despite the good preparation everything did not go as expected due to "yellow jackets".

The expedition was organised by the Doctoral School of Earth Sciences and Ecology. Its purpose was to give opportunity to different Estonian universities doctoral student to explore the nature of Reunion island and collect valuable scientific data and samples. Unexpectedly, most of the roads were blocked, gas stations and local university closed because of the protests against the gas price rise and general poverty on the island. Therefore, our young scientists could move around mostly by foot and on a limited area around their guest house. But thanks to locals help and quick reorganization of students plans almost everybody still managed to make their fieldwork.

Read more about their adventures from Heureka, Novaator and Õhtuleht

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November 2018 Aveliina was given a media friend prize called "Ökul"

21st of November Estonian Research Council organised a science communication conference in Tartu. Conference topic was this year 'Science in social media - between entertainment and noise?'. In addition to presentations and round table discussions there were given several prizes related to science popularization. The Estonian Association of Science Journalists acknowledged Aveliina Helm as being very active in social and 'classical' media this year.

Congratulations Aveliina!



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November 2018 New paper studies how lifeless volcanic islands are populated by different plant and animal species

Madli Jõks and Meelis Pärtel used a computer simulation for studying the plant communities on the Hawaiian Islands, Galapagos Islands, Canary Islands, Cape Verde and the Azores. The simulation imitated the arrival of plants on the islands, their spread in the archipelago, competition between species, their evolution and extinction. In particular, the study looked at what factors influence the biodiversity and species’ composition of island plants, whether the size of the island and the number of varied habitats on the island are important, and what role the location of the island in the archipelago plays. Computer simulations offer opportunities for research that cannot be done in nature, e.g., relocate islands within the archipelago. By changing the virtual maps of archipelagos, the simulations imitated realistic and less realistic conditions in which the biological diversity might have developed over millions of years. At the end of the simulation, the results were compared with the reality. From the results, it can be concluded that the diversity of the habitats has been a more important designer of island biodiversity than was previously assumed. In addition, the location of the island in the archipelago plays a significant role, especially with elongated archipelagos.

Jõks, M. & Pärtel, M. 2018. Plant diversity in Oceanic archipelagos: realistic patterns emulated by an agent‐based computer simulation. Ecography

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November 2018 Workgroup autumn seminar

Our workgroup autumn seminar was held on 1-2nd of November in Carl Schmidti Maja, Põltsamaa. The topic was this time 'grant applications' as many of us are planning to apply a research grant in spring. We had nice constructive discussions, which hopefully lead to successful project applications. Next morning we had guided excursion in the museum of Põltsamaa to get to know a bit the exciting history of this city.

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October 2018 Dark Diversity Network

Together with the Plant Ecology Lab and several collaborators from abroad we have initiated the Dark Diversity Network (DarkDivNet). DarkDivNet is a coordinated global sampling network to explore the dark diversity of plant communities and compare this between habitats and regions. We have asked ecologists all over the world to join in the project and sample a study area using the exact same methodology – so far, we have over 90 global study sites planned!





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October 2018 New article about plants dispersal in fragmented landscape

In collaboration with our Swedish colleagues Jan Plue and Sara Cousins, Tsipe was a co-author in an article about domestic animals enhancing plant dispersal among isolated grasslands in Stockholm archipelago, Sweden. They used landscape genetic approaches to demonstrate that the genetic diversity and gene flow of the grassland perennial Campanula rotundifolia was higher in grasslands connected by grazing livestock. Populations in grasslands, which were no longer part of grazing networks, exhibited lower genetic diversity and were genetically more isolated from each other. The authors suggest that domestic livestock within rotational grazing networks function as important mobile corridors for the dispersal of grassland plants among spatially isolated grassland patches and is a useful tool for creating and managing landscapes for higher species and genetic diversity.

Plue, J., Aavik, T. & Cousins, S.A.O. (2018) Grazing networks promote plant functional connectivity among isolated grassland communities. Diversity and Distributions, doi: 10.1111/ddi.12842.

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October 2018 Laelatu autumn academy

13-14th of October the department of botany organised already second time the event called ’Laelatu academy’. The aim was to discuss whether continuous cover forestry can be realistic solution for species-rich and sustainable forest management in Estonia. Kaido Kama, Rainer Kuuba, Raul Rosenvald and Eerik Leibak were invited to share their knowledge and experience on this field. There were alltogether more then 30 people, mostly secondary school students and 1-2. year bachelor students. From our workgroup Meelis, Liis and Ene helped to organise and participated actively.

More pictures can be found here!



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September 2018 Sabrina received a Mobilitas Pluss post-doc grant

Sabrina Träger received the Mobilitas Pluss postdoctoral research grant from the Estonian Research Council for her project "The effect of landscape configuration on the functional connectivity of Primula veris - a landscape genomic approach". Sabrina finished her PhD in 2016 in Canada and has already been working in our workgroup since 2017. She will start her new project in September, analyzing the effect of landscape elements on the genetic diversity of Primula veris.







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September 2018 Restoration ecology conference in Iceland

Sabrina and Liis participated at the SER Europe 11th biannual conference, Restoration in the Era of Climate Change held in Reykjavík, Iceland 9-13 September 2018. Liis introduced the Estonian large-scale alvar grassland restoration project ’Life to Alvars’. Sabrina gave a talk titled ’Landscape genetics as a perspective tool for guiding grassland restoration: a case study from Estonia’. Conference had great keynote speakers and days full of exciting presentations. In addition they had a chance to get to know Icland surprising nature and weather a bit.





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September 2018 New PhD student

New doctoral student, Iris Reinula, has joined our workgroup. One of the aims of her doctoral thesis is to find out if genetic diversity reacts to landscape change with a time lag. In addition she will try to detect loci with adaptive relevance and the response of adaptive (under natural selection) genetic diversity to landscape change and study if and how much do spatially isolated plant populations exchange diaspores and pollen that ensures genetic diversity of populations. Her supervisor is researcher Tsipe Aavik.

Welcome!





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August 2018 New paper about Neolithic plant invasions hypothesis

Potential pathways of invasionPotential pathways of invasionMeelis is a co-author in an article which aimed to clarify how trait differences, evolutionary context both present and past, and human-based perturbations (defined as disruptions to natural disturbance regimes) may combine to influence the invasion process in contemporary anthropogenic landscapes. They do not provide an extensive review of temperate grassland invasion as this topic has been examined numerous times, instead they highlight studies that have tested some of the ‘Neolithic Plant Invasion Hypothesis’ (NPIH) derived predictions.

MacDougall, A. S., McCune, J. L., Eriksson, O., Cousins, S. A. O., Pärtel, M., Firn, J., & Hierro, J. L. (2018). The Neolithic Plant Invasion Hypothesis: the role of preadaptation and disturbance in grassland invasion. New Phytologist, 220(1), 94-103.



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August 2018 Meelis opposed a doctoral thesis in Belgium

31st of August Meelis was invited to be a member of defense committee of Yongjie Liu doctoral thesis at the University of Antwerpen. The title of thesis was ‘Effects of three-dimensional soil heterogeneity on the structure and functioning of plant communities in experimental mesocosms’.





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August 2018 GLOBE Estonia educational expedition

Ene was one of the supervisors of GLOBE Estonia educational expedition 2018, Educational program GLOBE (Global Learning and Observations to Benefit Environment) is promoting scientific thinking and scientific worldview and stands for environmental awareness.

GLOBE Estonia expedition 2018 was held 13-16th of August in Jõulumäe Sports and Recreation Centre, Pärnu county. More than hundred schoolchildren (age 13-16), supervised by PhD students and scientists of University of Tartu, explored the soil, water bodies (chemical composition of water and biota), peat layer in the paludified coastal grassland, forest vegetation, carbon cycle in the local forest and weather. The results and conclusions were presented and discussed during the last day. The event was opened by the representer of the U.S Embassy of Estonia, important visitors were Jennifer Bourgeault (coordinator of the GLOBE in U.S.) and Terje Tuisk (Estonian Scientific Agency). The creativity and high scientific level of young people gave a special value and shine to the whole GLOBE Estonia 2018 expedition.

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July 2018 Vegetation scientists from all over the world gathered in Montana, USA

22-27th of July many our current and former lab members participated at the IAVS 61st Annual Symposium at Montana State University in Bozeman. Meelis and Carlos organised a special session ‘Species pools across scales: an integrative perspective’, where also our former post-doc Jody Price made a presentation. Jon Bennett was talking about functional traits, Inga Hiiesalu about mycorrhiza and Triin Reitalu about vegetation history. The primary theme of the meeting was "Natural Ecosystems as Benchmarks for Vegetation Science".



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June 2018 Congress of Conservation Biology

There isn't much time left to save the remaining biodiversityThere isn't much time left to save the remaining biodiversity12th - 15th of June 2018 took place 5th European Congress of Conservation Biology in Jyväskylä, Finland. The theme of ECCB 2018 was planetary wellbeing – a concept that captures the wellbeing of people as well as the integrity and sustainability of Earth's ecosystems. From our workgroup Aveliina gave a talk about her work in IPBES. Liis introduced the Estonian alvar grassland restoration project ‘Life to Alvars’. Carlos was invited to carry out workshop ‘From fungi to flies: broadening the use of functional traits in conservation’. Ignacio and Elisabeth had poster presentations about ecosystem services of semi-natural grasslands. In general the conference was well organised and the topics presented and discussed were very actual and important. All plenary speakers had strong and charismatic presentations.





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June 2018 Liina also received a doctoral degree

Two weeks later, on the 8th of June, Liina Saar also successfully defended her thesis “Dynamics of grassland plant diversity in changing landscapes“ and was awarded with the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Botany and Mycology. Liina was supervised by senior researcher Aveliina Helm and prof. Meelis Pärtel, and the official opponent during the defense was prof. Robin Pakeman from the James Hutton Institut, UK.







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Mai 2018 Kersti received a doctoral degree

On the 28th of May, Kersti Riibak successfully defended her thesis “Importance of dispersal limitation in determining dark diversity of plants across spatial scales“ and was awarded with the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Botany and Mycology. Kersti was supervised by prof. Meelis Pärtel, and the official opponent during the defense was senior researcher Borja Jiménez-Alfaro from University of Oviedo, Spain.







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Mai 2018 Laelatu spring academy

26-27th of May the department of botany organised for the first time event called ’Laelatu spring academy’. The aim of the event was to bring together more experienced people from the field of plant science and 1-2. year bachelor students and secondary school students to discuss how plant sciences can help to solve 21th century environmental issues. From our workgroup Meelis, Aveliina, Liis and Ene helped to organise and participated actively.







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May 2018 Aveliina was chosen as the laureate of the Estonian Nature Conservation Mark

Ecologist Aveliina Helm was chosen as the silver mark laureate of the Estonian nature conservation. The nature protection mark highlights people whose services are recognized in the study of nature, in the dissemination of natural sciences and in the development of nature conservation, both nationally and internationally.

Congratulations, Aveliina!

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May 2018 Workgroup spring seminar

Our workgroup spring seminar was held on 10-11th of May at Laelatu field station. This time the seminar was focused on the macroecology of interactions. In addition to presentations by our workgroup members, we had three guest presenters - Maarja Öpik (senior researcher in plant ecology), Tiit Teder (senior researcher in entomology) ja Krista Takkis (post-doc at the University of Life Sciences). We had high diversity of exciting presentations - global patterns of plants, fungi and fish, climate change effect on pollinators, species-genetic diversity correlations, interaction debt etc. Next morning we visited Salevere broad-leaved forest and Tuhu bog, which were full of colorful spring flowers.



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May 2018 Meelis gave a talk at an agricultural seminar

In March, the agricultural company Väderstad organised a seminar, where they introduced the latest news of the company, but also prof. Meelis Pärtel from University of Tartu and Evelin Loit from University of Life Sciences were invited. Meelis gave a presentation about globally changing environment and climate and how it affects farmers and vice versa. Evelin spoke about the cereal breeding.

Read more from here (in Estonian).





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April 2018 XIII Estonian ecology conference

20th of April took place thirteenth Estonian ecology conference 'Ecological science in a changing world', in Tartu. From our workgroup Aveliina gave a talk titled ’Estonian grasslands – to whom and for what?’. All presentations were informative and exciting, covering wide array of ecological studies in Estonia. Conference was organised by Estonian Ecological Society and Centre of Excellence of EcolChange.

Read also science news portal Novaator (in Estonian)



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April 2018 Macroecology conference in Switzerland

From 10-13th of April Meelis and Aurèle participated at the annual meeting of macroecologists hosted by the Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL in Birmendorf. The theme of the conference was 'Macroecolgy in the age of big data'. Aurèle presented his study about the global co-variation of diversity in plants and mycorrhizal fungi and Meelis presented the study he made together with Argo Ronk (his former PhD student) about the plant diversity patterns in Europe. During this conference, they had very interesting talks with a lot of researchers, updating their knowledge on the development of new methods and approches thanks to excellent keynotes and exciting presentations. They recommend this conference to everybody interested in macroecology and big data to meet the top researchers in this field.

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March 2018 Global assessment of biodiversity status is now public

On 23rd of March the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services published a global assessment about the status of biodiversity and what are the main threats and opportunities for biodiversity and how can we adjust our policies and institutions for a more sustainable future. This region-based assessment was written by more than 550 leading experts, from over 100 countries. Aveliina helped to compile the assessment of Europe and Central Asia region.

Read more from here!





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March 2018 Soil seedbank experiment

In the beginning of March Liis and Elisabeth sowed over 150 samples of soil seedbank in our Oa street greenhouse. Samples were collected last summer from the areas of restoration project ’Life to alvars’, to see whether there is any viable seeds of characteristic grassland species in the soil, especially on the sites which are strongly overgrown with junipers and pines. Restoration of species-rich grassland community would be faster if there are still viable seeds present in the soil.








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February 2018 Annual Meeting for Conservation Genetics in Vienna

From 26-28 February 2018 Sabrina and Iris, a master student of Tsipe, represented our workgroup at the 3rd Annual Meeting for Conservation Genetics in Vienna, Austria, presenting their first results of effects of habitat loss and fragmentation on genetic diversity of Primula veris in Estonian alvar grasslands. The Natural History Museum of Vienna as venue for this meeting stimulated inspiring discussions and exchange of ambitions to bring research and conservation practices closer together.








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February 2018 Nordic Oikos conference in Trondheim

Aveliina, Liis and Liina participated at the Nordic Oikos conference 2018, held in Trondheim, Norway, 19-22 February. Aveliina gave a presentation titled ’Extinction debt of arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi on declining grasslands’. She was also invited to share her ideas in a panel debate “The importance of ecological science in society “– Or: How can ecology and ecologists make a difference? Liis made a poster presentation about the disappearance of good dispersers from European grasslands. Liina had also poster about winners and losers in European grasslands.
The theme of the conference was “The importance of ecological science in society”, with a solid focus on the need for fundamental ecological science. There were excellent keynote speakers and days full of exciting presentations.



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February 2018 Sabrina participated in a bioinformatics winter school in Switzerland

Between 11-17 February Sabrina participated in the winter school "Bioinformatics for Adaptation Genomics" (BAG) in Weggis, Switzerland, hosted by ETH Zurich. She returned to Tartu with invaluable know-how on bioinformatics-related topics, such as genetic analyses using restriction-site associated DNA (RADseq) and RNA sequencing, whole genome sequencing and methods for dealing with low quality sequencing data. Among 30 participants from 11 countries all over the world, Sabrina got a chance to get a hands-on experience with bioinformatics analysis of real-life data and to discuss relevant topics with leading experts in the field.





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February 2018 Science communication workshop in Tallinn University

15th of February Aveliina, Tsipe, Liis and Elisabeth participated in science communication workshop, led by science communication lector Arko Olesk from Tallinn University and researcher Asko Lõhmus from Tartu University. Communication with media is highly needed, but not an easy task for scientists, it requires certain knowledge, self-confidence and practice. One of the first advice from this workshop was that scientists should have clear message, which they publish in a right time and place, and for the right audience.







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February 2018 Nature quiz for high school students

On February 7, Tallinn 32nd Secondary School held a traditional nature quiz, which was dedicated to plants this time. The guest members of the jury were Ülle Reier and Kai Vellak from the Department of Botany and Ester Valdvee from the Estonian Orchid Protection Club. As always, the fourth member was the school's physics teacher Aarne Silas. The event was organized by biology teacher Krista Kiisler and 12b class students. Seven teams of five members from the elementary level and eleven from the secondary level took part of the competition. Each member of the jury introduced its activities and presented five illustrated questions in its field. The quiz was well organized and very entertaining thanks to the event's managers and practical physics tasks. Winners and photos of the event can be seen here.


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February 2018 Conservation Week in Novaator

In the beginning of February science news portal Novaator had a conservation week. During this week following articles-opinions about nature protection were published with the help of Tsipe, Aveliina and Mart Meriste:
Want to protect nature? - Become a conservation biologist! (in Estonian)
The price of nature's contributions: how much you would pay for pollination? (in Estonian)
Six new spider species were found from endangered alvar grasslands (in Estonian)

Also a photo story about beautiful alvar grasslands and video how Estonian only arachnologist identifies spiders (in Estonian).


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January 2018 Expedition to Réunion island

Meelis and Aurèle together with colleagues from geology department Leho Ainsaar and Tõnu Meidla, and our doctoral school project manager Kristel Taits travelled on the Réunion island to prepare the next PhD expedition, which takes place in November 2018. During one week, they visited the island to analyze the scientific and logistical feasibility of the expedition. In a friendly atmosphere, they had interesting scientific and cultural talks with Dominique Strasberg and Claudine Ah-Peng from the Réunion University helping them to organize and make the expedition a true success.



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January 2018 Meeting with nature conservation practitioners

On 23 of January, employees of the nature protection departments of the Ministry of the Environment, the Environmental Board and the National Forest Management Center, and scientists from the University of Tartu gathered in Tallinn to map out the research needed in nature conservation. From our workgroup, Tsipe and Aveliina participated in this workshop. A number of urgent issues were found, which needs to be solved based on scientific research. The event was organized by Asko Lõhmus, the leading researcher at the University of Tartu, whose main activity already for years has been protecting the ecological integrity of nature and developing science-based nature conservation.




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January 2018 Visitor from the University of Helsinki

18 of January Etsuko Nonaka from Metapopulation Research Centre, University of Helsinki, visited our workgroup to discuss possible collaboration plans related to landscape genetics with Tsipe. Etsuko is an ecologist, who uses mathematical and computational tools to investigate questions in population ecology, community ecology, evolutionary biology and spatial ecology.









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Older news are in the archive!