1, The role of seed bank in vegetation dynamics.
Soil seed bank is composed by buried germinable seeds, which form a hidden component of biological diversity. Even being invisible for our eyes, hidden seeds may germinate and increase biodiversity years, or decades after leaving their mother plants. Because of its hidden nature, there are a lot of open questions regarding the composition and ecological role of soil seed bank. Our aim is to reveal the importance of soil seed bank in creating and sustaining plant diversity in recovering grasslands.
2, Ecological restoration.
Due to increasing human pressure on Earth, the majority of natural habitats have been degraded or vanished. Ecological restoration aims at mitigating these negative processes. We monitor several landscape-scale restoration projects aiming the restoration of grasslands by elimination of landscape scars, seed sowing, hay transfer and shrub cutting. We also aim at developing and testing methods for maximising restoration success in field and mesocosm experiments.
3, The role of fire in grassland ecosystems.
Fire is a natural disturbance that can occur in any terrestrial ecosystems. Natural and human-driven fire regimes have profound ecological effects by changing the species composition and ecosystem functioning. Fire is also a hot topic for the society, often considered as a threat or disaster, but also can be used as an effective tool for natural resource management. We aim at to evaluate the role of human-induced and wildfires in the ecosystem functioning of grasslands both by international cooperative networks and field studies.
4, Human-vectored seed dispersal.
We, people are one of the most widespread and mobile organisms on Earth. The mobility of the global population is increasing which makes people an ideal long-distance dispersal vector that spreads several organisms. In our experimental studies we test the role of people in seed dispersal with a special emphasis on the spread of invasive species.
5, Linear landscape elements as grassland habitats.
Linear landscape elements, such as roadside verges, channels and dikes are secondary habitat types can act as corridors or barriers for species dispersal. They often preserve grassland specialist species but also highly prone to the spread of invasives. We study the species composition and diversity of these special habitats in lowland agricultural landscapes.