Tartu Ülikool
1229032800


Activities

The Centre is focussing on four collaborative activities.

Macroecology of biological diversity
Phylogenetic comparative ecology 
Coevolution, ecological interactions and biodiversity
Conservation biology

Macroecology of biological diversity
Leader Meelis Pärtel
Current theory is strongly inclined towards local scale interaction-based explanations for biodiversity patterns, although recent theoretical developments have started to shift the paradigm, claiming that the legacy of the past evolutionary history is the primary driver. We would like to address the empirical relationships between biodiversity and environmental parameters across habitats and regions of the world and disentangle the role of regional evolutionary history behind patterns. In particular, we aim diversity trends along habitat productivity, soil pH and soil N/P ratio gradients.

Phylogenetic comparative ecology
Leader Toomas Tammaru
Evolutionary ecology has so far relied largely on model systems more suitable for experimental work. Recent decades have, however, also seen rapid development of the phylogenetic comparative method, which relies on localizing evolutionary changes on the phylogenetic tree, and the search for associations between changes in the values of different traits. We would like to build a link between phylogenetic comparative ecology and experimental life history studies ecology in order to understand the relative roles of adaptations and constraints, and links between evolution and ecosystem functioning.

Coevolution, ecological interactions and biodiversity
Leader Raivo Mänd
Mutualism and parasitism are important driving forces for development of life history traits in plants, animals and microbes, as well as for speciation. Co-variation of diversity patterns of mutualistically-related taxonomic groups is poorly understood. Only recently has the advent of molecular tools provided a plethora of new discoveries and allowed basic research on many types of interactions that cannot be manipulated in axenic conditions. We would like to address biodiversity patterns of mutualistically related organisms, focusing on vertebrate-parasite and plant-symbiotic fungus relationships. We shall also address plant diversity patterns in relation to the predominating type of mycorrhizal symbiosis (ectomycorrhiza, arbuscular mycorrhiza, ericoid mycorrhiza) in ecosystems.

Conservation biology
Leader Asko Lõhmus
The key question how biodiversity can be integrated with models of economic development still has no satisfactory answer. We are aware of the huge variation of biotic responses to anthropogenic pressures, but there is currently no framework to incorporate these variations into simple environmental management decisions. FIBIR members have recently been involved in several discussions of environmental & conservation strategies and policies in Estonia, as well as in studies focusing on biodiversity monitoring and management under different land use conditions. We would like to integrate the groups of FIBIR studying different organisms in order to develop general principles of biodiversity monitoring and sustainable management.


Tartu Ülikool
Ülikooli 18
50090 Tartu
Eesti
Info: +(372 7) 375 100
Faks: +(372 7) 375 440
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