Project Plant traits as determinants of population and community stability

Basic data

Plant traits as determinants of population and community stability
01/11/2021 to 31/10/2024
Abstract / short description:
How biological diversity and ecosystem functions are maintained in time is one of the fundamental questions in ecology. Changes and fluctuations in the environment (including weather conditions) cause variation in different components of plant community structure and functioning. The mechanisms that maintain stability of populations and communities under environmental fluctuations therefore remains one of the most debated questions in both basic and applied ecology. The need for their better understanding is nowadays reinforced by the predictions of increased temporal weather variability under climate change.

The overall goal of the proposed project is to study the link between plant traits and temporal stability on different levels of organization – from individual, to population, to community. The aim is to integrate knowledge from evolutionary theory on bet-hedging traits to study population temporal stability. Furthermore, the aim is to resolve multiple simultaneous trade-offs among these traits, and consequently to identify those that determine population temporal stability. The final aim is to upscale the trait(trade-off)-stability relationship to determine the mechanisms underlying community stability.

To address these goals, we will couple an existing unique long-term data-set on demography of winter annual plants from the Eastern Mediterranean Basin in Israel along a steep gradient of environmental unpredictability with a comprehensive assessment of the relevant traits.
functional traits

Involved staff


Department of Biology
Faculty of Science
Institute of Evolution and Ecology
Department of Biology, Faculty of Science

Local organizational units

Department of Biology
Faculty of Science
University of Tübingen


Bonn, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany

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