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Former Methusalem Grant Holder Reinhart Ceulemans

Plant and Vegetation Ecology and Global Changes

The overarching theme of the Centre of Excellence is the study of the effects of global changes, in the broadest meaning of the term, on plants and vegetations. This long-term goal is being realized a.o. by studying the responses of plants and vegetations to the, sometimes manipulated, abiotic environment over a continuum of hierarchical scales, ranging from the individual leaf to the continent.

Original experimental research and long-term observations are strengthened by coupling: (i) to existing or newly developed simulation models, and (ii) to the intensive use and statistical metaanalysis of new and existing databases. The ecosystem stations of the large-scale European ESFRI infrastructures ICOS (Integrated Carbon Observation System) and AnaEE (Analysis and Experimentation on Ecosystems) are used as platforms for experimental and monitoring studies.

The objectives of the research are a better understanding of the functioning, the dynamics and the structure of plants – at the leaf, plant, community and ecosystem levels up to the continental scale – in present and future environments. Specific studies include renewable bio-energy, biosphereatmosphere interactions, ozone and volatile organic compounds, soil and earth system models, as well as interactions of climatic change and biodiversity.