Plant Community Ecology

Ecosystems often contain large numbers of species and those species are themselves highly variable; but how is this diversity maintained? Our group focuses on this very large question by using a variety of experimental systems and a combination of observation, modelling and experiment. Currently, important themes are plant growth modelling, plant-soil feedbacks, and the impact of herbivores and hemiparasites. Regular collaborators include Drew Purves (Microsoft Research), Mark Rees (University of Sheffield) and Daniel Kliebenstein (University of California, Davis).

Former head of group: Dr. Lindsay Turnbull

Research themes

  • Seed size, disturbance, and coexistence at the landscape scale
  • Data-constrained plant growth modelling
  • The impact of herbivores on growth and defence
  • The influence of climate and diversity on tree growth
  • Plant-soil feedbacks
  • The effects of organic vs. conventional farming on biodiversity
  • Bee diversity in Zurich family-gardens
  • Peat use by gardeners in Switzerland