Prof Vigdis Vandvik

University of Bergen, Norway; Vigdis.Vandvik@uib.no; http://www.uib.no/en/persons/Vigdis.Vandvik

Title: The seed and recruitment ecology of plants in Atlantic climates

Abstract: Atlantic ecosystems are found along the coasts of temperate and boreal regions around the world, and these systems share a number of characteristics including humid and oceanic climates, relatively high productivity, and long growing seasons for their latitudes. The vegetation is characterised by spices and functional groups adapted to these conditions, and in particular, many boreal ecosystems have dense multi-layered vegetation consisting both vascular plants and bryophytes. Atlantic regions vary considerably in their human impacts; both in the intensity, time-scale, magnitude, and particular drivers through which people have affected Atlantic ecosystems. From a starting point in the Atlantic regions in North-West Europe, we review the literature to explore main trends and variation within and between Atlantic regions of the world in terms of seed germination and plant regeneration ecology. We explore both natural and human drivers of variation in these patterns, and we discuss data availability and knowledge gaps.

Biography: I am Director of the Centre of Excellence in Biology Education (bioCEED) and research professor. I am a community ecologist interested in how natural and human drivers affect populations, communities and ecosystems at different spatial and temporal scales. My research fall into three broad categories;

  1. How do dispersal and niche processes interact to shape the patterns in diversity that we observe in nature?

  2. How does environmental change affect various aspects of plant regeneration, and how do these effects scale across levels of organization from physiology via populations to communities?

  3. What are the effects of human land-use regimes, past and present, on terrestrial ecosystems?

I study these topics by a combination of of laboratory experiments, field experiments, and field observations. Through my own research projects and collaborations in Norway, Europe, the US, Uganda, Nepal and China I get the opportunity to explore these questions in different regions, study systems, and by using different methods. I have also worked with nature management and conservation authorities and the UNESCO-recognised Heathland Centre at Lygra to explore the ecological effect – conservation implication links of my research.