Functional Ecology Lab

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Özlem and Anıl successfully defended their M.Sc. theses

Özlem Özüdoğru and Anıl Bahar, our lab members, successfully defended their M.Sc. theses.

Özlem’s thesis is about the effects of small-scale disturbance on a plant community in the central Anatolian steppe. She worked both in the field and lab, and her results are the first ones for biodiversity-rich Anatolian steppes. She is leaving our lab after completing her M.Sc. and will continue her professional life as a biology teacher.

Anıl worked on long-term Mediterranean vegetation dynamics using a modeling approach based on plant life-history traits and disturbance properties. In his thesis, he investigated the effects of fire frequency and initial vegetation coverage on these dynamics. Anıl is planning to stay in our lab to keep working on vegetation dynamics models.

New paper: Fire-related germination and seedling growth in Central Anatolian steppe

Our paper on fire-related germination and seedling growth in Central Anatolian steppe has been published in Journal of Arid Environments: [Tavşanoğlu, Ç., Çatav, Ş.S., Özüdoğru, B. (2015) Fire-related germination and early seedling growth in 21 herbaceous species in Central Anatolian steppe. Journal of Arid Environments 122: 109-116]. In this paper, we examined the germination and early seedling growth of 21 herbaceous species in Central Anatolian steppe vegetation in relation to fire cues (heat shock and smoke).

Seeds of all studied species were able to tolerate low heat shocks but moderate and high heat shocks had a negative impact on germination and seedling growth.  In Stachys byzantina (Lamiaceae), germination was stimulated by the smoke treatment. Smoke and low heat shocks positively affected the seedling vigor index of six taxa: Diplotaxis tenuifolia (Brassicaceae), Reseda lutea (Resedaceae) in low heat shock treatments; Crepis foetida ssp. rhoedafolia, Crupina crupinastrum (Asteraceae), Daucus carota (Apiaceae) and Sanguisorba minor (Rosaceae) in the smoke treatment.

The results suggest that the seeds of plant species in Central Anatolian steppes are resistant to low-intensity surface fires, but not high-intensity crown fires and that some species take advantage from surface fires. Our results contribute to understanding the role of fire in temperate grassland ecosystems, relatively less studied ecosystem type in relation to fire worldwide. Moreover, our study is the first one conducted in biodiversity-rich Anatolian steppe ecosystems with a fire ecology perspective.