אקולוגיה של צמחים
מחקרים באקולוגיה של צמחים עוסקים בהבנת הפיזור והשפע של מיני צמחים וכיצד הם תלויים ביחסי הגומלין בין צמחים וסביבתם הטבעית, הכוללת גורמים ביוטיים כמו מתחרים, מאביקים ואוכלי צמחים, וגורמים אביוטיים כמו אקלים וזמינות משאבים.
יחסי גומלין אלה נחקרים ברמות ארגוניות שונות, מרמת הפרט ועד לרמת האוכלוסייה, החברה והמערכת האקולוגית, ובנושאים מגוונים הכוללים התנהגות צמחים, אקופיזיולוגיה, אבולוציה ומגוון מינים.
לצמחים תפקיד מפתח כיצרנים הראשוניים במערכות אקולוגיות, ולמחקר בתחום זה חשיבות בשמירת טבע ובחקר האיומים על המגוון הביולוגי כמו אובדן בתי גידול, שינויי אקלים ומינים פולשים.
Plant Ecology (and Global Climate Change)
Plant ecology is the study of the distribution and abundance of plants and the way they are governed by interactions with biotic factors such as competition, pollination and herbivory, or abiotic factors such as climate and resource availability.
These interactions are studied at various organizational levels, from the individual to the population, community and ecosystem, encompassing topics related to plant behavior, ecophysiology, evolution and species diversity.
As primary producers, plants play a key role in most ecosystems and their study has major implications for nature conservation, including research on biodiversity threats such as habitat loss, climate change and invasive species.
Researchers in this field:
Prof. Itay Mayrose
The lab of Prof. Itay Mayrose specializes in computational biology and bioinformatics, with an emphasis on plant evolution and genomics. We use computational tools to gain insights into the fascinating evolutionary dynamics of plant genomes. In this process, we develop novel computational tools based on machine learning, reinforcement learning, and advanced probabilistic evolutionary models. Current projects in the lab include: (1) Whole genome duplications (polyploidy): Studying the consequences of whole genome duplications on patterns of lineage diversification, biogeography, and the effects of polyploidy on evolutionary patterns at the molecular and genomic levels. (2) Genome editing: We develop novel tools and algorithms for the optimal design of genome editing experiments and how to apply them in a large-scale manner, with special emphasis on crop improvement. (3) Phylogenetics: We develop machine learning methods for more accurate inference of phylogenetic trees and evolutionary genomic analyses.
Lab Website: https://www.tau.ac.il/~itaymay/index.html
Dr. Yuval Sapir
The Plant Evolutionary Ecology laboratory is studying the genetics and adaption of plants to their environment. We use ecological and genetic tools to understand the evolutionary mechanisms of plants adaptation. We study the role of pollinators and abiotic stresses as selection agents that shape flowers, as well as the effect of climate changes on plant adaptations and conservation. We use and perform ecological experimental design in controlled and natural conditions, fitness measurements and natural selection analyses, pollination biology – observations and experiments, genetic basis of flower colour, and gene expression in flower development.
Lab Website: https://labsapir.wixsite.com/labsapir
Prof. Lilach Hadany
Our lab investigates open questions in the theory of evolution, and plant bioacoustics.
Evolutionary theory projects include the evolution of genetic variation, social behavior, host-microbiome interactions, language, and aging.
Plant bioacoustics projects include plant sound emission, interpretation of plant sounds, and plant responses to the sounds of animals and plants.
Lab capabilities: Mathematical modeling of evolutionary processes; plant recording; analysis of plant sounds
Services to the industry: none
Lab Website: https://www.hadanylab.com/
Dr. Yasmine Meroz
The lab studies computational and behavioral processes in plants; how plants process sensory information about the environment in order to shape their growth morphology. We study processes such as active sensing, decision-making, memory phenomena, and interaction between plants. Our research combines both theory and experiment. As part of our experiments we design and build tailored experimental setups with the aim of interrogating how plants integrate sensory information over space and time, with an image analysis pipeline. Experiments are generally informed by predictions of mathematical models and numerical frameworks, including 3D simulations of plant growth (tropisms and circumnutations), concepts from control theory and physics, the interplay with mechanics, and cost-benefit models.
Lab Website: https://www.merozlab.com/
Dr. Michal Gruntman
In the Plant Ecology and Evolution lab, we study varying aspects of plant responses to their environment. We seek to learn the plastic responses and decisions plants make under changing environmental conditions, how plants evolve in response to these changes and the way these responses can be applied to deal with environmental issues, such as invasive species, heavy-metals, and light pollution. We perform controlled common-garden experiments using wild plants with varying evolutionary backgrounds, model species and invasive plants, to answer fundamental questions in ecology and evolution. We phenotype plant responses to environmental stresses, monitor plant movement and their pollinator visitations, analyse belowground root growth using specialized pots and root image analysis, and simulate plant light regimes with automatically light-controlled systems.
Lab Website: https://michalgruntman.wixsite.com/plantecol
Prof. Marcelo Sternberg
Sternberg’s Plant Ecology Lab addresses a diversity of fundamental questions in global climate change ecology. We generally use experimental approaches in both natural communities and agro-ecosystems to test questions at the levels of the population, community, and ecosystem. We combine strong field-work, controlled greenhouse environments, and remote sensing tools. Our lab is running since 2001, one of the world's oldest climate change experiments using rainfall manipulations. At the Matta Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) station in the Judean Hills, we study the effects of climate change on ecosystem structure and function when exposed to extreme drought and changes in rainfall patterns