Go to: content | top | bottom | search
 
 
You are hereUNIL > Department of Ecology and Evolution > Research & Education > Research > Research groups > Alexander Group

Alexander group - Experimental Plant Ecology

Research in our group focuses on deciphering the ecological and evolutionary forces that  shape plant species’ distributions and community structure. This long-standing goal of ecological research is also central to predicting impacts of global change – for example from biological invasions or climate change – on ecosystems. 

Two highlighted projects are described here, but for more information about these and other projects visit the website of Jake Alexander

Novel interactions and species’ climate change responses (“NICH”)

Altered species’ interactions could have much stronger impacts on species’ distributions and community structure following climate change than direct effects of altered climate. Novel interactions – those arising among species whose ranges did not previously overlap, due to asynchronous range shifts  – could play a particularly important role, but their impacts are poorly understood. Funded by an ERC Starting Grant in 2015, the NICH project seeks to better understand and predict impacts of novel biotic interactions on species’ climate change responses.

We are performing field experiments in the Swiss Alps near to Lausanne (Rechalp) to test the ecological and evolutionary consequences of novel interactions between alpine plants and lowland taxa. In particular, we are asking (1) how will evolution shape the outcome of novel interactions, and (2) can the outcome of novel plant-plant interactions be predicted using functional traits? These experiments will help parameterise process-based species range models that account for effects of competitors on plant distributions and their dynamics under climate change.

Dents de Morcles.jpg

Flowering alpine pastures around our field sites under the Dent de Morcles, Switzerland.

Drivers of plant invasion along elevation gradients

High mountain ecosystems remain little-invaded by non-native species, with steep declines in non-native plant richness along elevation gradients around the world. Within the Mountain Invasion Research Network (MIREN), we seek to understand the underlying causes of these globally consistent patterns, giving insight into the mechanisms driving invasion dynamics more generally (e.g. propagule pressure, biotic interactions and rapid evolution) and helping to protect relatively pristine high mountain environments.

Currently we are engaged in monitoring of non-native plant distributions along elevation gradients using a standardized protocol that is being replicated in mountain regions around the world. We are also conducting globally-replicated experiments to better understand how invasion dynamics might be influenced by climate change.

Eschscholzia californica.jpg

Eschscholzia californica invading high mountain areas in central Chile.

Advanced search is available through Serval

Publications can be performed through MyUnil

Publications

 
2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2006 | 2004 | 2003 |
2017
2016
2015
2014
2013
2012
2011
2010
2009
2008
2006
2004
2003
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Group leader

Masters students

  • Hristina Kostic
  • Aline Cardinaux

 

Graduate students

Search:
 Go
 
rss/atom

JAlexander2.jpg

Jake Alexander
Office room: 4305
Phone: +4121 692 4263
Fax: +4121 692 4265
jake.alexander@unil.ch

Administrative assistant
Office room: 3109
Phone: +4121 692 4205
Fax: +4121 692 4165
virginie.leroux-michel[@]unil.ch

Biophore - CH-1015 Lausanne  - Switzerland  -  Tel. +41 21 692 41 60  -  Fax +41 21 692 41 65
Swiss University