Plant interactions

A plant community is a network of interactions among co-occurring individuals of the same or different species. As such, plant interactions are important for the maintenance of biodiversity and for the delivery of ecosystem services in natural and human-made ecosystems.

Our research focuses on the mechanisms of plant interactions and on their consequences for biodiversity, with emphasis on positive (facilitative) interactions. We use observational and experimental methods and apply trait-based approaches to look into competition and facilitation processes and to investigate their consequences for species coexistence and community assembly. At the moment we are particularly interested in niche-based approaches to plant interactions and the potential evolutionary consequences of facilitation for the interacting species. We currently study plant interactions in alpine, semi-arid and agricultural ecosystems.

Head of group: Dr. Christian Schöb

Research themes:

  • Species coexistence mechanisms
  • Mutualistic, commensal and antagonistic relationships among plants
  • Functional trait-based approaches to facilitation
  • Evolutionary consequences of facilitation
  • Diversity – ecosystem functioning relationships