IAE Plankton Ecology Research Group

Leader of the research group: 
Profile of the group: 

Plankton play a central role in aquatic ecosystems, by representing the main primary producers (phytoplankton) and a key link of energy transfer to higher trophic levels (zooplankton). Our research group is motivated to understand how planktonic communities respond to environmental gradients, and how changes in community composition are linked to ecosystem functioning. By combining empirical and experimental research (micro-and mesocosm experiments), as well as taxonomic and functional approaches, we seek for a more mechanistic understanding on the consequences of planktonic community shifts as a response to multiple stressors under global change. Another focus of our group lies in the ecology and conservation of small aquatic habitats, such as ponds and pools. While these habitats maintain exceptionally high biodiversity and are excellent model systems to test basic ecological theories, their global decline highlights the need of their evidence-based conservation.

Selected publications:


Pálffy, K., A.W. Kovács, V. Kardos, I. Hausz, G. Boros (2021): Elevated temperature results in higher compositional variability of pioneer phytoplankton communities in a mesocosm system Journal of Plankton Research 43(2): pp. 142-155


Vad Cs F, C Schneider, D Lukić, Zs Horváth, M J Kainz, H Stibor, R Ptacnik (2020): Grazing resistance and poor food quality of a widespread mixotroph impair zooplankton secondary production Oecologia 193(2): pp. 489-502.


Horváth Zs, R Ptacnik, Cs F Vad, J M Chase (2019): Habitat loss over six decades accelerates regional and local biodiversity loss via changing landscape connectance Ecology Letters 22(6): 1019-1027


Vad, C. F., A. L. Péntek, N. J. Cozma, A. Földi, A. Tóth, B. Tóth, N. A. Böde, A. Móra, R. Ptacnik, É. Ács, K. Zsuga, and Z. Horváth (2017): Wartime scars or reservoirs of biodiversity? The value of bomb crater ponds in aquatic conservation Biological Conservation 209:253–262.