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Faculty for Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences

Functional and Tropical Plant Ecology - Prof. Dr. Bettina Engelbrecht

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Active Projects

  • The ecological role of silicon in tropical forests: effects on plant nutrient stochiometry, drought resistance and herbivory

    Silicon (Si) is the second most abundant element in the Earth´s crust and widely recognized to have a variety of functions in plants. Yet we know little about the ecological role of this abundant element in tropical forests, which are among the most species-rich systems on earth and provide important ecosystem services. In this project, we integrate observational data with experimental approaches in the greenhouse, the laboratory and the field to evaluate the effects of Si on nutrient and water relations, and on herbivore defenses in tropical forests. The study will thus substantially contribute to improving the understanding of tropical forests under current and future conditions.

    at Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute


  • Plant-soil feedbacks: unearthing the mechanisms of successional tree species turnover in tropical forests

    Unsustainable use of natural resources is putting tropical forests under tremendous pressure. Secondary forests are becoming evermore-prominent features in tropical landscapes, but we still poorly understand the mechanisms that drive tropical secondary succession, and the importance of plant-fungal interactions is almost completely overlooked. In this project, our goal is to understand the role of soil fungi in driving tree species turnover during secondary succession of tropical forests.

    at Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute


>> Completed Projects
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