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I am broadly interested in biodiversity: including the processes maintaining and affecting diversity in communities and the effects of biodiversity on ecosystem functioning. I work on understanding the mechanisms that allow so many plant species to coexist together within communities and I am especially interested in the role of plant enemies (herbivores and pathogens) in determining coexistence. Recently I have been considering the importance of intransitive competition in promoting diversity and coexistence.
Although natural communities are very diverse, human activities are causing a large loss of biodiversity. One focus of my research is to understand how global change, especially land use intensification, reduces biodiversity and in particular to uncover the mechanisms behind the effects of land use. The ongoing loss of biodiversity and changes in species composition have large consequences for ecosystems and a large part of my work is dedicated to understanding this. Here I am also interested in mechanisms and in trying to understand why diverse communities function better than less diverse ones. These mechanisms are often the same as those maintaining coexistence between plant species and a focus on these mechanisms therefore allows us to link coexistence and biodiversity-functioning relationships.
Projects: PaNDiv Experiment, PhyloFun Experiment, Biodiversity Exploratories, BugNet
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