Functioanal plant ecology and environmental changes

Subject description

Introduction to functional ecology, dealing with role of plants in ecosystems. Plant functional traits (anatomical, morfological, physiological, fenological, reproductional, biochemical) as indicators of adaptation of  plant species to environment.Effects of plant funtional types on ecosystem function (productivity, biogeochemical cycles, biotic diversity).   Correlations and exclusions among some plant traits as a basis for plant functional classification. Overview of some plant functional classification (Raunkiaers life forms, r-K selection in plants, Grime CSR strategies). Plant adaptations to disturbances and stress. Application of plant functional traits in monitoring and predicting of vegetation dynamics triggered by land use change (intensification of agricultural production, abandonment of land use), climate and other environmental  changes. Functional diversity in nature, its evolution and significance in stability of ecosystems.  Indicator value of plants in  biomonitoring of environmental pollution, climate change  and land use changes.  Plants  for environmental remediation. Functional traits of invasive plants.

The subject is taught in programs

Objectives and competences

Aims of the class: to make the student familiar with scientific research work in the field of the  plant functional types and ecosystem ecology and to introduce avaliable research methods which can be used in this work.

Teaching and learning methods

Študenti se na predavanjih in laboratorijskih vajah seznanijo z osnovami metod. Te kasneje uporabijo v okviru projektnega dela, ki ga izvedejo na terenu ali v kontroliranih razmerah v laboratoriju oz.rastlinjaku. Rezultate projekta predstavijo.

Expected study results

Knowledge and understanding:

The student gets to know basic methods used in study of plant functional types and the ecology of terrestrial ecosystems; their applicability, advantages and disadvantages.

He/she is able to select appropriate methods for a given research problem/question and can critically evaluate their objectivity, repeatibility and applicability. He/she is able to apply these methods when studying responses on plant or ecosystem level, both in experimental and environmental conditions. Student can plan research work, he/she is able to make synthesis and analyses of broad spectra of knowledges from the field of botany, plant ecology, ecosystem ecology, environmental conservation and related fields of science.

Basic sources and literature

Anonimous, 2013. Ambient air -Biomonitoring with lichens – Assessing epiphytic lichen diversity", Final version of EN 16413, CEN & Afnor, CEN/TC 264/WG 31, 28 str.

Booth,B.D.,Murphy,S.D.,Swanton,C.J. 2010. Invasive plant ecology in natural and agricultural systems. 2nd edition. Cab International, ISBN-13:978 0 85199 528 1, s.214

Dierschke, H. 1994. Pflanzensociologie, Verlag Eugen Ulmer, Stuttgart,

Van der Marel, E., 2005. Vegetation Ecology; Blackwell Science Ltd., ISNB 0-632-05761-0, 395 s.

Grime, J. Philip. Plant strategies, vegetation processes and ecosystem properties – 2nd ed. – Chichester [etc.] : J. Wiley & Sons, 2002, 417str.

Markert, B. (Ed.), 1993. Plants as Biomonitors: Indicators for Heavy Metals in the Terrestrial Environment. VCH, Weinheim; New York;Basel; Cambridge; 664 str., ISBN 3-527-30001-5.

Markert, B. A., Breure, A. M., Zechmeister, H. G. (Eds.), 2003. Bioindicators & biomonitors: principles, concepts and applications. Elsevier Science, Amsterdam, 997 str., ISBN 0-08-044177-7.


Nimis, P. L., Scheidegger, C., Wolseley, P. (Eds.), 2002. Monitoring with Lichens – Monitoring Lichens, Kluwer Academics, Dordrecht, 403 str., ISBN 1-4020-0430-3.


Smith,T.M., Shugart,H.H. & Woodward F.I. 1997. Plant Functional Types. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, ISNB 0-521-56643-6, 369 s.


revijalni članki s področja, tekoča periodika, druga učna gradiva…

journal papers, current periodicals, others…

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