Photo of JHC Cornelissen
19962021

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I am interested in the role of functional trait variation in plant and ecosystem functioning, with a particular focus on how vegetation composition impacts on carbon and nutrient cycling. I like to find out not only what determines the functional (trait) diversity of plants in ecosystems, but also how (much) this functional diversity drives important carbon cycling processes. These processes include plant carbon and nutrient gain processes (photosynthesis, nutrient uptake strategy – e.g. snow roots) but especially carbon and nutrient loss processes, such as litter decomposition, fire and herbivory. I study linkages between traits and carbon cycling through lab and field experiments, trait database analyses and meta-analyses, from local to global scale. Via collaborations with modellers I also study how plant trait variation feeds back to climate via carbon cycling processes. Furthermore I study evolutionary patterns in these processes: the Tree of Life of carbon cycling. This approach helps us to reconstruct carbon cycling in the past. In the fire lab, FLARE, we carry out ecological fire experiments. I also coordinate the large ‘tree cemetery’ experiment, LOGLIFE, on tree trait effects on coarse wood decomposition and associated biodiversity. Finally, I am heavily involved in various global change impact experiments and meta-analyses.

Keywords

  • Q Science
  • Arctic, biogeochemical cycling, comparative plant ecology, cryptogams, diversity, ecosystem hydrology, evolutionary ecology, fire ecology, functional traits, global ecology, global change, litter decomposition, trophic interactions, plant species control, vegetation feedback

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