The biogeography of plant communities
Plant species co-occur in natural habitats because of multiple factors addressed by the community assembly theory, but conducting empirical research in this topic is a big challenge. Using field observational data, I study the spatial variation of plant communities and the influence of environmental, spatial and historical factors on diversity patterns and processes, mostly in mountain regions.
- History and environment shape species pools and community diversity in European beech forests (Nature Ecol Evol)
- Pollen-inferred millennial changes in landscape patterns of a major biogeographical interface within Europe (J Biogeogr)
- Biogeographic deconstruction of alpine plant communities along altitudinal and topographic gradient (J Veg Sci)
Big data and vegetation science
Emerging questions in biodiversity can be addressed with large data sets, but integrating different data sources requires advanced tools and intensive networking. In the last years, I had a leading role in the development and analysis of the European Vegetation Archive (EVA) and the global vegetation database (sPlot), the two largest vegetation databases existing nowadays.
- Global trait-environment relationships of plant communities (Nature Ecol Evol)
- sPlot, the global vegetation-plot database (J Veg Sci)
- European Vegetation archive (EVA): an integrated database of European vegetation plots (App Veg Sci)
Seed trait ecology
Plant traits can provide new insights in community assembly and restoration. However, the data generated by seed scientists has been rarely used in plant ecology. In collaboration with an international team, I investigate the role of selected seed traits for understanding plant diversity. I also use seed traits to design conservation actions of priority ecosystems such as endangered habitats and agroecosystems.
Predictive vegetation mapping
Mapping vegetation and habitat types is an essential tool for conservation biogeography. I develop new approaches for predictive vegetation mapping in large regions using field surveys and the potential or remote sensing products. Large-scale maps are also important for understanding past and future vegetation patterns and for assessing the IUCN criteria of ecosystems.
- Modelling the distribution and compositional variation of plant communities at the continental scale (Divers Distrib)
- Modelling the area of occupancy of habitat types with remote sensing (Methods Ecol Evol)
- Palaeodistribution modelling of European vegetation types at the Last Glacial Maximum using modern analogues from Siberia: prospects and limitations (Quat Sci Rev)