Harry Gerhardus Maria Olde Venterink: Catalogue data in Spring Semester 2018

Name Prof. Dr. Harry Gerhardus Maria Olde Venterink
(Professor Vrije Universiteit Brussel)
FieldPlant & Ecosystem Ecology
Consultation hoursBy appointment
Plant Biology & Nature Management
Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Pleinlaan 2
1050 Brussels
DepartmentEnvironmental Systems Science

551-0376-00LExperimental Plant Ecology Restricted registration - show details
Number of participants limited to 20
A minimum of 4 participants are required in order for the block course to take place.

The enrolment is done by the D-BIOL study administration.
6 credits7GD. Ramseier, H. G. M. Olde Venterink
AbstractThe course gives an introduction to experimental plant ecology. A wide range of experiments close to applications (especially in conservation biology), to the influence of global change on ecosystems to fundamental research about coexistence of plants in ecosystems will be covered with lectures, excursions, demonstrations and own experiments.
Objective- to become familiar with various experimental approaches and instruments for plant ecological research, incl. advantages and disadvantages
- to gain practical skills by carrying out and evaluating ecological plant experiments
ContentExperiments in plant ecology are gaining importance for estimating the effects of global change and invasive species on ecosystems and their functions and ecosystem services. There are also numerous restoration projects where one would like to get away form the trial - error principle and anticipate the success of restoration measures on the basis of experiments.
In this course, principles of experimental plant ecology will be given in lectures, demonstrations, excursions, study of literature and with experiments realized by participants. In a theoretical part, advantages and disadvantages of various experimental approaches, methods and instruments will be discussed. The practical part will comprise experiments at various levels. Groups of students, under guidance, will develop experiments. This includes asking clear questions, search of literature, setting up and maintenance of the experiments, measurements, statistical analysis and interpretation of the results, and present a talk. Example of potential experiments are: a) influence of functional groups on cooling effects of green roofs; b) influence of mobility of nutrients on plant competition and coexistence; c) does P scarcity limits further dispersal of Amorpha fruticosa, a invasive species at Tagliamento, the last almost natural big river of the alps in Northern Italy? How do seeds optimize their germination behaviour? How can germination be improved for restoration projects or for greening of flat roofs?
On one of the excursions we will visit the restoration project Seebachtalseen (www.stiftungseebachtal.ch), where one of the lecturers is involved in restoring wet meadow communities. The destination of an other excursion will be an experiment on a green roof examining the influence of various substrates and their thicknesses on the development of the vegetation. Finally, we will visit one of the biggest farms in Switzerland specialized on the production of seeds of wild flowers. It is a lot of knowledge accumulated there that is very useful for plant ecologists.
Lecture notesdocuments will be distributed during the course
Prerequisites / NoticeExperiments in plant ecology, as they will be set up for that course, typically last for 6 to 8 weeks. Thus, the experiments will be set up before the block by the students and then be harvested and analysed during the block (last quarter of the term). We will give a one hour introduction at the beginning of the term (time according to agreement), where participants can choose topics and form groups. The experiments will then be set up. The time used before the block can be compensated.