Allergies in the City: what would a plant ecologist do?

Last year, while I was in the field trying to figure out how plants and insects are coping with urban life in Berlin, a visiting medical student from Spain, Sara Mejia Lanunciòn, came along with a question about the allergic risk of exotic plants. I have to admit, I had not given it any thought [...]

Studying rapid evolution in Berlin

This month, I took up a new postdoctoral position in Germany, as part of the Ecological Novelty group lead by Jonathan Jeschke at Freie Universität Berlin. I am thrilled to embark on a three-year project examining rapid evolution in novel ecosystems as part of the (much) larger Bridging in Biodiversity Science (BIBS) project. While I [...]

Impact of alien plants across spatial scales: at what minimum abundance does an invasive plant start having an impact?

Lately I have been digging further into an amazing vegetation dataset of Banks Peninsula (New Zealand), trying to understand at what minimum abundance alien species may start having an impact. This is a question to which we still have very few answers, since most impact studies to date have compared heavily invaded sites to uninvaded [...]

What’s the difference between an alien and a native plant across a landscape?

Impact studies in plant invasion ecology have consistently reported decreases in species richness associated with high abundances of invasive aliens, and interpreted it as a sign of negative impact of the alien. But how frequently do such correlative patterns occur across a landscape? Undoubtedly,  one could potentially detect similar patterns for some native plants as [...]

Assessing the reliability of the point-intercept method in diverse grasslands

A new paper by Karim Barkaoui, Marie-Laure Navas and myself has just come out in Folia Geobotanica: Barkaoui, K., Bernard-Verdier, M., & Navas, M.-L. (2013). Questioning the Reliability of the Point Intercept Method for Assessing Community Functional Structure in Low-Productive and Highly Diverse Mediterranean Grasslands. Folia Geobotanica, doi:10.1007/s12224-013-9172-2 In this paper, we tested the accuracy [...]

sharing a few Rcodes…

Not being an especially hardcore R programmer, I did not think at first that the simple Rcodes I wrote during my PhD would be of interest to anyone but me. I did wonder if I should include my codes as supplementary information in my papers, but, facing the rush of final deadlines and the fact [...]

Post-doctoral project on plant invasions in NZ

I am very excited to start working in July 2013 on a new post-doctoral project on plant invasions and their impact on community structure in New Zealand's Banks Peninsula. I will be joining Philip Hulme for one year at the Bio-Protection Research Center in Lincoln University, NZ, and hopefully will get the chance to discover [...]

Functional and Phylogenetic diversity capture different aspects of community structure

"Partitioning phylogenetic and functional diversity into alpha and beta components along an environmental gradient in a Mediterranean rangeland" by Bernard-Verdier M., Flores O., Navas M.-L. and Garnier E. This paper, now in early view, is part of a special feature on Functional Diversity edited by Norman Mason and Francesco De Bello, which will be published [...]