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Department of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies

Arctic Biodiversity

Arctic Biodiversity and Global Change

Project aims

We aim to assess the status and trends of biodiversity in fragile Arctic ecosystem under Climate Change. In our research, we address this aim on different scales: from plant functional traits and plot level to landscape dynamics, and with different approaches: from field experiments to drone and satellite imagery analysis. In-situ, we test how do species abundance and individual plant traits change under precipitation extremes. In-silico, we model the distribution of arctic species and plant communities, based on both plot-level and remote sensing data. The result will contribute to understanding tundra vegetation dynamic patterns, which is essential to make ecosystem-level predictions and plan adaptation and mitigation strategies, as well as identify and conserve hotspots of Arctic biodiversity

Arctic Biodiversity Figures 1 & 2
Arctic Biodiversity Figures 1 & 2
Arctic Biodiversity Figures 3
Arctic Biodiversity Figure 3


Elena Plekhanova (Ph.D. student), Vitalii Zemlianskii (Ph.D. student), Cengiz Akandii (M.Sc. student)

Specific Projects

Precipitation experiment
Arctic Vegetation Archive
The goal of AVA is to unite and harmonise vegetation plot data across the Arctic
Arctic vegetation and species distribution
Arctic landscape dynamic and energy fluxes

  Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna

  Drone Ecology Network

  • Isla H Myers-Smith et al., (2011). Shrub expansion in tundra ecosystems: dynamics, impacts and research priorities. Environmental Research Letters.
  • AD Bjorkman, et al., Plant functional trait change across a warming tundra biome. Nature 562 (7725), 57.
  • Ksenofontov S., Backhaus N., Schaepman-Strub G. (2019). ‘There are new species’: indigenous knowledge of biodiversity change in Arctic Yakutia. Polar Geography 42, 34-57. DOI: 10.1080/1088937X.2018.1547326
  • Iturrate-Garcia M., O'Brien MJ., Khitun O., Abiven S., Niklaus PA., Schaepman-Strub G. (2016). Interactive effects between plant functional types and soil factors on tundra species diversity and community composition. Ecology and Evolution, 6(22):8126-8137. DOI: 10.1002/ece3.2548