Dr. Jutta Stadler
Lebenslauf / Akademische Ausbildung od. CV / Scientific Career
Forschungsschwerpunkte / Research interests
My research is focused on the diversity and dynamics of plant communities. The dynamics of plant communities are often very slow, hence for experimental research I concentrate on successional communities (fallow land, abandoned fields), which show substantial change in species composition and diversity across few years. In particular I work at present on the following projects:
1. The importance of the regional species pool for local community dynamics
The local diversity of a plant community is determined by the resource situation and the interaction between neighbouring individuals. The identity of neighbouring individuals determines the outcome of the interactions. The species which are able to reach a community are constrained by the regional species pool. Thereby the regional species pool influences the identity of neighbours which may have substantial influence on the trajectories of succession. We approach this question by introducing species not available in the regional pool around the experimental area into the communities. The other option is to remove certain species from the local community.
2. The importance of the seed bank for succession
The seed bank is an archive of species which occurred at site during the past. Seeds in the seed bank may stay alive over considerable time spans and therefore the species in the seed bank may influence community dynamics subsequent to disturbances. Furthermore, the seed bank may help to re-establish natural plant communities on abandoned fields. To understand the ecology of the seed bank in more detail we presently investigate the spatial distribution of seeds in the soil of sites with different management histories. I am also involved in a long-term project about the interaction between insects and community dynamics where I investigate the influence of above- and below-ground insects on the composition of the seed bank.
3. The importance of disturbances in plant communities
Two important factors influencing dynamics and diversity of local plant communities are productivity and disturbances. Theory predicts an interaction between disturbance and productivity for species diversity: at low productivities disturbances should decrease diversity, whereas at high productivities disturbances should increase diversity. We investigate this theoretical prediction using experimental plots manipulating productivity and disturbances using a common species pool. In a next step we will include higher trophic levels into our analyses of the interaction of productivity and disturbances.
Within ALTER-Net, a network of excellence (NoE) about long term research on the relationship between ecosystem, biodiversity, and society financed by the European Community, I am responsible for the coordination of the work package "Impacts of natural and anthropogenic drivers and pressures on biodiversity". In addition, I contribute to a sub-project within ALTER-Net dealing with "Land abandonment and vegetation change in open landscapes: assessing biodiversity impacts and options for mitigation". ALTER-Net Homepage
Beside local plant communities, I have also some interests in the diversity and biogeography of animals and plants. Presently we analyse in collaboration with the "IADIZA": ("Instituto Argentino de Investigaciones de las Zonas Aridas"; Mendoza, Argentina) distributional data and the implication of these data on conservation strategies for mammals in northern Argentina.