Invited Keynote Speakers

Ray Callaway is a Professor at the University of Montana, USA.
The primary focus of the research in his lab is on how organisms interact with each other. These interactions include direct interactions, such as competition for resources, allelopathy, and facilitation; and indirect interactions mediated by herbivores, soil microbes, and other competitors. He has specific interests in invasions including the role of soil biota, novel biochemical interactions with native competitors, microbes, and generalist herbivores, and using invaders to test general ideas about competition. Probably the most fun big picture idea being thought about in his lab is that shared evolutionary trajectories may mediate coexistence and even interdependence in communities.
Synopsis: Positive interactions and interdependence in the organization of plant communities
Ove Eriksson is a Professor in Plant Ecology at Stockholm University, Sweden.
His research concerns evolutionary ecology with a focus on plant dispersal and recruitment mechanisms, historical landscape ecology, and conservation biology. He is also currently leading a research program on climate effects on biodiversity and ecosystem services.
Synopsis: Species pools in cultural landscapes: Niche construction, ecological opportunity and niche shifts
Professor Hans de Kroon is a plant population ecologist at Radboud University Nijmegen, the Netherlands.
He developed an increasing interest in biodiversity that he is approaching from two angles. First, he studies plant interactions belowground revealing mechanisms of root competition and consequences for species coexistence. Second, with population models he began studying the underlying population dynamics of co-occurring species and the stabilizing mechanisms that operate.
Synopsis: Vegetation dynamics and species coexistence: inspiration from below
Angela Moles is an Associate Professor at the Univeristy of New South Wales, Australia.
She loves studying large scale patterns in plant traits and ecological processes. Her research has been both field based (e.g. the world herbivory project, which included sites in 75 different ecosystems ranging from tundra in Greenland to tropical rainforest in the Congo), and through compilation of data from the published literature. Angela’s favourite thing as a scientist is to find ideas that ecologists have come to believe but which have not been properly tested – and use large datasets to put these beliefs to the test.
Synopsis: Extremes versus the mean: Are plant traits driven by average climatic conditions, or by extreme events?
Professor Petr Pyšek is head of the Department of Invasion Ecology at the Institute of Botany, Academy of Sciences, Průhonice, Czech Republic.
His research interests include various aspects of biological invasions, with recent focus on global patterns, determinants of the naturalization process, role of traits in plant invasion, habitat invasibility, dynamics of species spread, comparative analyses of invasive floras and population ecology of invasive species. He has been involved in European projects ALARM and DAISIE, which brought together international consortia to address the problems of biological invasions in this continent.
Synopsis: Plant invasions: the role of recipient habitats
Scott Wilson is a Professor in the Department of Biology, University of Regina, Canada, and a Guest Researcher at the Climate Impacts Research Centre, Abisko, Sweden.
He studies belowground patterns and processes such as competition, production, and phenology. Current study systems include native grasslands invaded by trees and exotic grasses in central North America, and arctic alpine vegetation near Abisko.
Synopsis: Competition and clonal connections
Meelis Pärtel is a Professor of Botany at the University of Tartu, Estonia.
His main research topic is macroecology of biodiversity. He is trying to look beyond the borders of the existing paradigm. He is studying evolutionary and landscape history of ecological communities, elaborating new theories, methods and approaches. He has been intrigued by linking large- and small-scale processes with biodiversity, especially the dark diversity concept and community assembly. He is working with genetic, functional, phylogenetic and below-ground plant diversity. His research objects have been various plant communities globally, but especially grasslands in different continents.
Synopsis: Community ecology of absent species
Martin Zobel is a Professor of Plant Ecology at the University of Tartu, Estonia.
His research interests are related to diversity patterns in plant communities and mechanisms underlying patterns. In particular, he is interested in the role of both historical processes and seed limitation in structuring plant communities. He also investigate the role of biotic interactions, arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis in particular, in generating plant community patterns. He also focus on conservation biology, especially the management and restoration of calcareous grassland communities, as well as forest communities.
Synopsis: Mycorrhiza and plant communities – is there a link?