EcolChange seminar (27th May, Thursday): Philippe Vandenkoornhuyse about the holobiont concept and hologenome theory

Seminar of Department of Botany and Centre of Excellence EcolChange

Speaker: Philippe Vandenkoornhuyse is a professor of ecology and environmental genomics at the University of Rennes 1, France. Last year he served as the opponent for the  PhD thesis of Martti Vasar.

Title of the talk: The holobiont concept and hologenome theory, an incoming Copernican revolution?

Time: Thursday, 27 May 2021 at 14.15

Place: Virtual seminar in Zoom

Summary: I will explain the conceptual framework of Holobiont and hologenome theory. I will present research results testing the concept for plants.

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EcolChange seminar (20th May, Thursday): Arko Olesk about quality science communication

Seminar of Department of Botany and Centre of Excellence EcolChange

Speaker: Arko Olesk is a lecturer of science communication at Tallinn University. In the seminar, he presents results of the H2020-funded project QUEST that seeked to define, measure and promote quality and effectiveness of science communication.

Title of the talk: What makes quality science communication?

Time: Thursday, 20 May 2021 at 14.15

Place: Virtual seminar in Zoom

Summary: These days, all scientists are expected to be able to communicate with the public, not only to present their work but to also counter misinformation and increase the societal impact of science. What advice to give to researchers for planning communication activities, whether in media, social media or other formats?

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EcolChange seminar (13th May, Thursday): Niloufar Hagh Doust about the benefits and challenges of fungal endophytes for crop production under environmental stress

Seminar of Department of Botany and Centre of Excellence EcolChange

Speaker: Dr. Niloufar Hagh Doust is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Tartu, who’s research focuses on soil microbes.

Title of the talk: Fungal endophytes benefits and challenges for crop production under environmental stress

Time: Thursday, 13 May 2021 at 14.15

Place: Virtual seminar in Zoom

Summary: Environmental stresses are among the most critical limiting factors for crop production worldwide. Such confining environmental stresses include biotic stress such as pathogens and herbivores, and abiotic factors such as salinity, high/low temperature, drought etc. Plant production systems need to be optimized to produce stable high yields from limited land under changing and variable climates. Sustainable alternatives to chemical-based fertilizers and pesticides are required to reduce costs and maintain or increase yields under environmental stress. Plant-microbe interactions are among these biological solutions. However, a relatively small number of beneficial plant-microbe interactions are well understood and already exploited for optimizing plant production especially in case of fungal Endophytes. In this seminar I will discuss some of the results of my previous and ongoing projects on fungal endophytes and their potential values in agriculture.

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EcolChange seminar (12th May, Wednesday): Zdeňka Lososová about the determinants of functional and phylogenetic diversity of plant communities

Seminar of Department of Botany and Centre of Excellence EcolChange

Speaker: Prof. Zdeňka Lososová is an Associate Professor at the Masaryk University in Czechia. She served as an oponent for the PhD defence of Jhonny Capichoni Massante on May 11.

Title of the talk: Determinants of functional and phylogenetic diversity of plant communities

Time: Wednesday12 May 2021 at 14.15

Place: Virtual seminar in Zoom

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EcolChange seminar: Jan Pisek about leaf angle distribution and if it can be considered a species-specific trait

Seminar of Department of Botany and Centre of Excellence EcolChange

Speaker: Dr. Jan Pisek is an Associate Professor in Remote Sensing at Tartu Observatory, University of Tartu. His research interests include field- and space-based multi-spectral and multi-angle optical remote sensing, biophysical parameter and vegetation structure mapping.

Title of the talk: Can leaf angle distribution be considered a species-specific trait?

Time: Thursday, 6 May 2021 at 14.15

Place: Virtual seminar in Zoom

Summary: The leaf angle distribution is a key parameter in models useful for understanding the forest canopy processes of photosynthesis, evapotranspiration, radiation transmission, and spectral reflectance. The difficulty in measuring leaf angle distribution has limited exploration of its species-specific phenology and variation across environmental gradients and often causes it to be one of the most poorly constrained model parameters. In my presentation, I will try to provide an answer if (or to what extent) leaf angle distribution can be considered a species-specific trait. 

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EcolChange seminar: Pille Mänd about the effects of climate-driven changes in tree hydraulics and osmolality on VOC emissions from silver birches

Seminar of Department of Botany and Centre of Excellence EcolChange

Speaker: Dr. Pille Mänd is currently a Senior Specialist in Ecophysiology at the University of Tartu. During the past two years she has been conducting her research at the University of Helsinki.

Title of the talk: The effect of climate-driven changes in tree hydraulics and osmolality on VOC emissions from Silver Birches

Time: Thursday, 29 April 2021 at 14.15

Place: Virtual seminar in Zoom

Summary: Scenarios on future climate predict increasing amounts of precipitation and wetter conditions at high latitudes. The resulting changes in physiology of trees affect the emissions of reactive organic compounds and might have important impact on atmospheric chemistry. However, so far the effect of wetter climate on VOC (volatile organic compounds) emissions from northern forests is almost unknown. The seminar focuses on how changes in tree water status and osmotic status affect the emissions of reactive biogenic compounds from canopies of silver birch. 

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EcolChange seminar: Evelyn Uuemaa about global digital elevation models and Global Forest Change dataset

Seminar of Department of Botany and Centre of Excellence EcolChange

SpeakerDr. Evelyn Uuemaa is an Associate Professor in Geoinformatics at the University of Tartu. Her research interests evolve around the interactions of land use/land cover and water quality, landscape changes and geospatial modelling with machine learning. 

Title of the talk: Global digital elevation models and Global Forest Change dataset – how reliable are they?

Time: Thursday, 22 April 2021 at 14.15

Place: Virtual seminar in Zoom

Summary: The number of global datasets is increasing every day. They are being exploited more and more in global studies but also in areas where local data is not available. In this presentation, I will talk about the vertical accuracy of freely available global digital elevation models (ASTER, AW3D30, MERIT, TanDEM-X, SRTM, and NASADEM), and secondly, I will show how much forest change can be identified from the Global Forest Change dataset in the Amazon and in Estonia. 

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EcolChange seminar: Eve Veromann about ecosystem services and RNAi technology in the service of sustainable agriculture

Seminar of Department of Botany and Centre of Excellence EcolChange

Speaker: Prof. Eve Veromann is a Professor at the Chair of Plant Health at the Estonian University of Life Sciences. Her research focuses on the implementation of ecosystem services for the sustainable ecosystem. 

Title of the talk: Ecosystem services and RNAi technology in the service of sustainable agriculture

Time: Thursday, 8 April 2021 at 14.15

Place: Virtual seminar in Zoom

Summary: Meeting the increasing demand for agricultural products while minimising their negative impact on biodiversity and ecosystem health is among the greatest global challenges. Modern agriculture depends greatly on agrochemical inputs which is not a sustainable farming practice in the long term. Landscape elements can contribute to the provision of essential ecosystem services such as pollination and pest control. The establishment, adequate management and restoration of landscape elements is a promising pathway for ecological intensification. In addition to ecological intensification, also innovative RNAi technology can be used to make insecticides highly species-specific to decrease their detrimental impact on beneficial insects.

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EcolChange seminar: Jhonny Capichoni Massante about phylogenies in ecology

Seminar of Department of Botany and Centre of Excellence EcolChange

Speaker: Jhonny Capichoni Massante is a PhD student at the University of Tartu who will defend his PhD thesis in May.

Title of the talk: Phylogenies in ecology: overview, applications, and case studies

Time: Thursday, 1 April 2021 at 14.15

Place: Virtual seminar in Zoom

Summary: The interest in the evolutionary history of species has increased tremendously over the last 20 years. From species coexistence to conservation strategies, the way evolution influences contemporary biodiversity patterns has helped overcome the conceptual and practical limitations of only counting species. This seminar will give an overview of evolutionary trees and their different applications in ecology and conservation biology. It will finish with case studies on how climate and other environmental factors influence species’ evolutionary relatedness in biological communities. 

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EcolChange seminar: Kalle Kirsimäe about tracing fossilized microorganisms in rock record

Seminar of Department of Botany and Centre of Excellence EcolChange

Speaker: Prof. Kalle Kirsimäe is a Professor of Geology and Mineralogy at the University of Tartu. His research covers wide range of geological topics from developing best technologies for using oil shale to nutrient dynamics during the oxygenation of the Earth. 

Title of the talk: Biogenic or abiogenic: tracing fossilized microorganisms in rock record

Time: Thursday, 25 March 2021 at 14.15

Place: Virtual seminar in Zoom

Summary: Life in its different forms and signs is self-evident around us. In deep-time geological record, however, nothing looks like as expected. Fossilization of the microbial life represents the worst case. In most cases we do not know what we are looking at. Can we distinguish between biogenic or abiogenic structures if there is no chance for sequencing the PCR products or even the organic carbon is absent? 

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