structure of communities

EXDRAIN-2: Ecosystem responses to droughts: experiments, observations, and synthesis

The increasing frequency and severity of extreme events is an inherent part of changing climate. Among extreme events, droughts are probably the most widespread and most drastic events, which can disrupt ecosystem functioning. Droughts are typically studied either by assessing the impacts of naturally occurring drought events or by excluding precipitation in drought experiments. The overall objective of the proposed research is to study ecosystem responses to drought by integrating experimental and observational studies.

Monitoring of fine scale grassland dynamics, especially to the dominant grass species

16 stands of open sandy grasslands have been studied in Fülöpháza yearly since 1998. In eight of them the dominant grass species was Festuca vaginata at the beginning of the monitoring, while in the other eight, Stipa borysthenica was dominant. We sample each stand with three, 1m*1m quadrat (48 quadrats altogether) twice a year (in summer and autumn), and we follow the abundance of the two dominant grass species. The main goal of study is to explore the demographic changes of the vegetation (colonization, extinction).

Traits for understanding plant community assembly: a new theoretical framework and testing with field data

The aim of the project is to study of community assembly within a trait-based theoretical framework. Two theories are considered: habitat filtering and limiting similarity. Habitat filtering means that the species traits are filtered by habitat conditions (e.g. soil properties) and disturbance regime. Not only the occurrence of filtering will be tested, but also the range of trait values before and after filtering will be measured. According to the limiting similarity principle, co-existing species have to differ in traits related to regulating factors.

Conserving threatened biodiverity in the Pannon Ecoregion: evaluation of ecological, morphological and genetic diversity hotspots and human influenced landscape

Based on previous studies and assessments, we propose a series of basic studies in the field of ecology and population genetics, and recommend application of our expected results in nature conservation and management. Genetic diversity will be assessed by means of different molecular genetic and morphological methods, while population and assemblage level diversity will be investigated by combination of diversity measures. Phylogenetics and DNA barcoding approaches will be applied where taxonomic relationships are unclear.